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World Cyclocross Championships

Tabor, Czech Republic, February 3-4, 2001

Preview

The World Cyclocross Championships are to be held this year in the Czech Republic, in the historic town of Tabor (pop. 37000). Czech cycling has a long tradition, with its first federation established in 1883. The country as a whole boasts over 50 rainbow jerseys across all cycling disciplines, and 2001 see a few more added to the trophy cabinet.

Cyclocross is quite strong in the relatively recently formed Czech Republic, with Kamil Asbuher winning the first World Championship for them in 1993. Asbuher is still competing at the Elite level, but will certainly have his work cut out if he is to win this year.

Elite men

Dutchman Richard Groenendaal goes into the 2001 World's as the clear favourite to win, after a superb 2000/2001 season. He is the defending champion in the Elite Men's division, and after winning both the World Cup and Superprestige series, few would not back him for a place. However, the World Championships often produce surprises, as was the case last year when Groenendaal beat the in-form Sven Nijs (who was also his Rabobank teammate...).

This year, challenges will come from the powerful Belgian squad: Bart Wellens, Sven Nijs, Mario De Clercq, Tom Vannoppen and Erwin Vervecken. The question is of course if they will all work against Groenendaal, who will be supported by Wim de Vos, Gerben de Knegt, Camiel van den Bergh, Maarten Nijland and Gretienus Gommers.

As previously mentioned, the home country (Czech Repbulic) is a strong cyclocross nation, with riders like Petr Dlask, Vaclav Jezek and Jiri Pospisil looking to do well for the host country.

Individual riders who will be able to challenge the above are fairly scarce, and include Italians Daniele Pontoni, and Luca Bramati, Swiss Alexandre Moos and Roland Schatti and Frenchmen David Pagnier and Christophe Morel.

Australia will participate for the first time in the Cyclocross World's, with Luke Stockwell as the man of the moment.

Elite Women

The elite women are only in their second year of competing at the World Cyclocross Championships, and last year's inaugural champion Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) looks set to win another title, given her strenth. She will be challenged by the Dutch, who have Daphny van den Brand, Corine Dorland, Inge Velthuis, and Debby Mansveld as part of their seven woman team.

The USA will be represented by Ann Grande and Rachel Lloyd, who are strong chances of a top 10. Great Britain are sending World Junior road champion Nicole Cooke and Louise Robinson, and could well add another World Title in the junior women's event.

Espoirs

Belgium are the country to beat in the espoirs division with Davy Commeyne, Sven Vanthourenhout, Bart Aernouts, Tim Van Nuffel, and Wesley Van Der Linden as their 5 man lineup. The Dutch team includes Ronald and Guido Mutsaars, Wilant Van Gils, Roel Van Houtum, and Thijs Volker, all of whom are capable 'crossers.

Other rides likely to do well are John Gadret (Fra), David Rusch (Swi), Michael Baumgartner (Swi), David Kasek (Cze), Alan Obye and Josh Anthony (USA), Steve Fogen (Lux), and Peter Riis Andersen (Den).


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