Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up for January 6, 2006
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in cyclo-cross.
Feel free to send feedback, news and gossip to firstname.lastname@example.org
World Cup #8; Nys wins survival of the toughest
Sven Nys (Rabobank) notched up his seventh World Cup victory this season
by winning the cold and muddy eighth round in Hooglede, Belgium. The World
Champion headed home Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) by half a minute with Richard
Groenendaal 1'18 back in third.
"This weather is appalling, but that's the same for everyone, of course,"
said the mud-covered Nys at the end. "It wasn't easy to keep yourself
warm: your feet, your hands, your eyes. Because of the mud, I saw nothing,
with or without glasses. Actually I was riding just about blind. It was
about survival and riding my own race. I couldn't even see the other rivals."
Nys did comment on Erwin Vervecken, who managed to stay in contact until
the last lap, when he fell. "Vervecken was definitely strong, but I deserved
How it unfolded
The race got off to a false start, as a commissaire hindered Sven Nys.
The field was stopped after a couple of minutes and ordered to restart
by race officials. On the muddy parcours, he wasted no time in taking
the lead together with Erwin Vervecken (Fidea), Petr Dlask, who will ride
with AVB in 2006, Enrico Franzoi (Lampre-Caffita), and John Gadret (Jartazi).
Richard Groenendaal was also able to keep in touch with the leaders, riding
his usual conservative race in the first half and improving towards the
As Nys and Vervecken pulled away from the rest, with Groenendaal taking
third position, Bart Wellens (Fidea) tried to close the gap on his own.
He couldn't do it, and had to abandon due to the cold.
At the halfway point, Nys began to put time into Vervecken, but the
Fidea rider kept in contact until the last lap when a crash ended his
chances of victory. Nys, barely recognisable under the mud, could celebrate
at his leisure, while Vervecken rolled in for second ahead of Groenendaal,
De Knegt and Gadret.
In the women's race, Daphny Van den Brand (ZZPR.nl) proved that she
was the best in the field again, beating Hanka Kupfernagel (Vlaanderen-Capri
Sonne-T Interim) and Lyne Bessette (Canada). Van den Brand, the World
Cup leader, went solo just before the halfway point, and was never caught.
Bessette hung onto second place for a while before Kupfernagel passed
here later in the race.
For full results, click here.
Page scores his first Euro 'cross win
By Steve Medcroft
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
American Cyclo-crosser Jonathan
Page (Cervelo) won the 59th
Grand Prix du Nouvel-An in Petange Luxembourg on January 1, his first
elite European cyclocross win.
Page says he chose the Petange event over the more popular GVA Sven Nys
Grand Prix in Belgium when the latter event delayed confirmation of his
start contract, and was surprised at how tough the Luxembourg terrain
and conditions were. "We had melted snow and cold and icy rain; you
had to use your energy wisely," Page told Cyclingnews from
his Belgium home Thursday evening. "The course started up a hill
then went down this section of mountain-bikey singletrack."
Page was still suffering foot injury he suffered when he punctured it
on a strip of steel post at Middelkerke on December 29 and found himself
seventh wheel early in the race. "I felt blocked up at first. I started
at my my own pace but kept working throughout the race. With four laps
to go, I went from seventh to second in one lap and my body turned on.
I just kept going harder and faster and eventually went through everyone."
The win was Page's first in elite European competition. "It was
a milestone for sure. I know the best racers weren't there but it feels
special to be the first American to score a Euro 'cross win."
After a short training vacation in the Cypress sunshine, Page says he's
on track for a strong World's. "The foot is healing and I’ve
never felt so good at this point. I’m really looking forward to
World's; I’m very focused, I’m not nervous. I’m just
going to do my work and hopefully that will take me to a good placing."
For complete results and pictures from the Grand Prix du Nouvel-An, click
Bessette rides to two podiums in European season debut
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
After a frustrating start to her World Cup campaign, Team Cyclocrossworld.com-Louis
Garneau’s Lyne Bessette has found her European legs in a big way.
On consecutive days last weekend Lyne scored impressive podium finishes,
racing in heavy, muddy conditions brought on by snow storms that have
pummelled Europe over the past week.
After a great start in the Hooglede
World Cup, December 31, Bessette chased down early leader and defending
world champion Hanka Kupfernagel to finish third on the day. Bessette
returned to the podium Sunday with a second place in the Grand
Prix du Nouvel-An in Pétange, Luxemburg. On a muddy course
more mountain bikey than most European ‘cross tracks, Lyne slotted
in behind Marianne Vos.
Bart Wellens' race exclusion
After examination of the reports from the three commissaires present
on the Cyclo-cross event of last 18 December in Overijse
(Belgium), the UCI has noted that the exclusion from competition for serious
fault of Belgian rider Bart Wellens, is the only decision which can be
taken into consideration, as there have been no collegial deliberations,
nor decision of the majority of the three commissaries to come back on
this exclusion from competition.
Therefore Bart Wellens does not appear on the Overijse event ranking
(as previously reported). Moreover, the UCI will bring this case in front
of the Disciplinary Commission for non-observation of instructions of
the commissaires and that their image and reputation has been tarnished
as well as cycling’s interests and the UCI. These infractions are
liable of a fine or suspension.
An amazing day; TIAA-Cref / Troy Wells diary
Photo ©: Beth Seliga
US Cyclo-Cross Nationals was an amazing weekend for myself, the TIAA-CREF/Clif-Bar
team, and for my family. The weekend couldn't have gone any better. It
began Thursday morning at 4:30 am, when my roommate Adam Synder and I
had to meet up with the Fort Lewis College Cycling Team to head to Durango
Airport. After a long day of travel we were on the east coast. On the
east coast in December, you can always expect the weather to be crappy.
Friday morning I woke up to heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain. I was
planning on racing the Collegiate race in the afternoon. I was excited
for the race, mainly to get in a good 45 minute effort on the course.
Unfortunately they postponed our race due to weather - I thought cyclo-cross
was about racing in epic weather...I understand the concern for the safety
of everyone involved, though.
After they postponed the race it started to clear up outside, and I finally
left the hotel to try to get a lap on the course. To get to the course
from the hotel you had to venture through a true east coast ghetto. Luckily
the only things fired at me were snowballs from some high school kids.
After arriving at the course, which was covered with several inches of
snow, I began a lap, only to get half way around before breaking my seat
post. Nothing like getting a good opener in the day before the biggest
cross race I was going to do all year in the U.S.
What a family photo!
Photo ©: Beth Seliga
Saturday morning I awoke after my worst night of sleep in a while, but
was excited and ready to go. I knew the course would be good for me on
Saturday. Muddy and technical enough to be a bike handler's course without
turning into a running race like the last couple of years. The race seemed
to come up quickly once I got to the venue. I was excited, but I was also
a little worried due to my lack of a ride on Friday. I knew at the start
of the race on an icy course I had to start fast to try to stay out of
trouble. I was lucky enough to hole shot, which is not an easy task with
Jesse Anthony on the start line. Jesse always starts very fast, and normally
can hole shot or at least top three in just about every race in the U.S.
After the first lap, I found myself off the front with Brent Bookwalter,
who I know well from our days at DEVO.
Brent had already raced earlier in the day and won the Collegiate race
(that I opted not to compete in due to the rescheduling to Saturday morning).
Brent had the course dialled, so I felt it would be smart to follow him
for a while and try to learn the course (due to the fact I broke my seat
post during my recon mission the night before). The first time through
the pit on the third lap, Brent laid it down around a slick corner. At
this point I went to the front and tried to increase the tempo. After
a lap of pushing it and taking chances, I decided it was time to try to
conserve and keep myself upright. I began racing the exact opposite of
how I normally ride. I was giving it all I had on the road sections where
I knew there was less chance of making a mistake.
Read the entire TIAA-Cref,
Troy Wells diary entry here.
Ready for World's; the Barb Howe diary
Happy New Year! Mother Nature has decided to punish Northern California
this season. We've been hit by several large storms, one after another.
Friday's storm was the biggest and nastiest. The wind blew, rain fell
and rivers overflowed their banks. Flood warnings repeated on the radio
and people were evacuated from their homes in Northern California.
Living in a basement apartment, I didn't hear the hours of pounding rain
and was surprised by the extent of the damage Saturday morning. The exit
to work off of highway 101 was flooded and I could see the bike path on
the other side under several feet of water. Sometimes during a leap tide
the bike path will flood, but this was far more water than I'd seen before.
The highway pinched from four lanes to one as the other three integrated
into the bay. Drowned cars lined the side of road while friendly State
Policemen shooed everyone else on their way.
Josh called while I was at work to tell me of the destruction he saw
in San Anselmo; a small town to the north. The strangest sight he saw
was forty or fifty balls (soccer balls, baseballs, footballs, basketballs,
etc) stuck on the side of a small bridge straddling the swollen creek.
It was like the rain was in the mood to play and swept all the balls it
could find out of garages, back yards and porches and sent them to play
with a bridge abutment.
Read the entire Barb
Howe diary here.
Barbarella needs your help...
Velo Bella – Kona, sponsor of pro Cyclo-cross racer and Cyclingnews
diarist Barbara Howe, is asking for your support to send her to Zeddam
for Cyclo-cross World's. Howe earned a spot on the U.S. National team
after finishing the top-ranked U.S. woman in the Crankbrothers U.S. Gran
Prix of Cyclocross.
USA Cycling does not provide any financial assistance for our U.S. women’s
national team, and Barb’s full time job and fellow Bellas can only
take her so far. You can help cover the difference by donating today to
help fund her trip to the Cyclocross World Championships. Help Barbarella
conquer the Galaxy on a pink 'cross bike! How cool is that? Go to www.velobella.org
and give all you can to help make Barb’s dreams come true for 2006!
Velo Bella - Kona is a non-profit, grassroots, multidiscipline cycling
team based out of Watsonville, CA. The Velo Bella mission is to encourage
a healthy and active lifestyle through cycling and laughter. They inspire
women to get out and ride a bike, race a bike, and to eventually grow
the pool of talent and have a lot of fun along the way. While the core
Velo Bella - Kona Team is a committed group of female racers, membership
includes female cyclists interested in completing their first race, century,
or even group ride.
Global Cyclo-cross racing round-up
- GP De Ster Sint-Niklaas, Bel (C2), January 2: Full
- Grote Prijs Sven Nys, Bel (C2), January 1: Full
- Grand Prix du Nouvel-An, Lux (C2), January 1: Full
results & photos
- Int. Herforderer Rad-Querfeldein-Rennen, Ger (C2), December
results & photos
- World Cup #8, Bel (CDM), December 31: Full
results & report
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