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Cyclo-cross news & racing roundup for September 27

Edited by Laura Weislo and Paul Verkuylen

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in cyclo-cross. Feel free to send feedback, news and releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com.

Nys gets first season win in Neerpelt

Nys on the podium in Neerpelt
Photo ©: AFP Photo
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Sven Nys took his first victory of the 2007-08 cyclo-cross season in Neerpelt, Belguim on Sunday. The 'cannibal from Balen' who won no less than 28 races last year stated earlier this month that his goals for the season are to win as many races as possible. With this win in the first 'real cross' of the season, he is off to a good start.

Nys attacked the field halfway through the hour long event, and only current world champion Erwin Vervecken attempted to stay with the Rabobank team rider, but he was not able to hold the pace that Nys was setting and dropped back to finally finish fifth. Nys won by 16 seconds ahead of Niels Albert, the winner of last weeks Steenbergcross followed by Bart Wellens at 18 seconds.

Despite his victory, Nys complained about the heat after the race, "If you have to ride with a constant heart rate of 190 beats, then you get a nasty feeling. As you start to accumulate lactic acid, you automatically begin to ride slower," he told the Gazet van Antwerpen afterwards.

"When I attacked half way, I was able to develop a good tempo. Every lap I rode a few seconds further away. Now that the World Cup in the US has been cancelled, I have a free weekend. I will go to Mallorca to lay the last of my foundations."

Tabor to hold 2010 worlds

The Czech Republic city of Tabor will host the 2010 world cyclo-cross championships, the UCI announced on Tuesday. Tabor is not new to hosting the championships as they had the honour of presenting the most important medals of the cross season in 2001. The city of around 25,000 inhabitants lies just 100km from the capital Prague and is no stranger to cyclo-cross.

When the UCI first introduced the cyclo-cross World Cup ten years ago, the city played host to a round. Last year Tabor also had the worlds top riders visit the city for a round of the cup. A surprise winner emerged from the field that day in the shape of Radomir Simunek, son of Czech Republic cyclo-cross legend of the same name. Simunek senior won no less than four world titles during his career, one as a junior, two in the amateur ranks and a professional title in 1991.

The next three world championships have thus been decided and will be held in:

2008 : Treviso, Italy
2009 : Hoogerheide, The Netherlands
2010 : Tabor, Czech Republic

Vervecken to race Whitmore super cross

Vervecken has won the world title 3 times
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
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In a first for the North American cyclo-cross scene, current world champion Erwin Vervecken will become the first ever reigning world cyclo-cross champion to headline an event in North America, when he takes part in the two day Whitmore’s Landscaping Super Cross Cup in New York on October 6 and 7.

Not content with only having the richest women’s cyclo-cross in the world, promoter Myles Romanow has also significantly raised the profile of the men’s portion of the two-day international race with the signing of the Belgian Superstar.

Vervecken, a three-time professional world champion racing for the Fidea cycling team, joins last year’s women’s world championship silver medallist Katie Compton for what is now undoubtedly the finest scheduled line-up for any cyclo-cross in North America this season. Also scheduled to compete are multi-time US cyclo-cross and mountain bike champion Ryan Trebon, America’s first international cyclo-cross star Tim Johnson along with his many-time Canadian cycling champion Lyne Bessette, and a host of other champions.

The Whitmore’s Landscaping super cross cup is the only UCI-sanctioned cyclo-cross race in the state of New York. Held in the Long Island town of Southampton, the area is more generally known as "The Hamptons" and is famous for its "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous".

Swiss champion dominates in Washington

Christian Heule (Stevens)
Photo ©: Joe Sales
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Swiss cyclo-cross champion Christian Heule swept the opening weekend of 'cross in the Pacific Northwest, taking both the Star Crossed race in Redmond on Saturday and then repeating his performance in the Rad Racing GP in Lakewood on Sunday.

In seasonably warm weather and unusually dry, dusty conditions, Heule was challenged by US Champion Ryan Trebon, and his Kona team-mate Barry Wicks, but was able to out-kick the lanky Trebon in the finish both days. Wicks took third both days, while Geoff Kabush crashed out of Saturday's race, but returned to finish fourth in Lakewood.

Wendy Williams took the sprint win on Saturday, besting Sarah Kerlin and Wendy Simms from a group of six, while on Sunday, Rachel Lloyd put in a strong performance to solo in to victory 34 seconds ahead of Williams.

Full results, report and photos for Star Crossed and Rad Racing GP.

Page and Barnholt dominate Double Cross

Jonathan Page (Sunweb-Projob)
Photo ©: Brandt Peterson
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Hot, dry and dusty was the theme of the US cyclo-cross weekend, and things were no different at the Tailwinds 'Double Cross' races in Michigan. A strong elite men's field featured Jonathan Page (SunWeb/ProJob), who proceeded to display why he was the Worlds silver medallist by dominating both races of the weekend. Page's closest competition came from 2003 Swiss U23 cyclo-cross champion Michael Mueller (Inovex), who took second both days.

"It was like the time Lance Armstrong raced the SF Grand Prix, no one wanted to pass Jonathan Page," said Nerac's Adam Myerson about the start of Saturday's race. "Everyone was giving him a lot of respect. It was almost like he was riding in a bubble." The bubble burst when the field came through the paved section at the start finish. A momentary lull caused the pack to bunch up. Immediately, Nerac Pro Cycling racer Chris Jones put in a powerful attack, quickly drawing out Canadian CX Champion Greg Reain, Jonathan Page and Michael Mueller. Jones, Reain, Page and Mueller wasted no time establishing a significant lead over the chasing riders.

Page put in a tremendous surge on a long, grassy incline leading to the uphill wooded section midway through the race, pulling Mueller with him. Working together, Page and Mueller distanced themselves from Jones and Reain, who also teamed up and worked together to limit their losses. As Page and Mueller raced their way over the last 500 meters of the final lap Mueller bobbled a difficult off camber 120 degree turn to open the door for Page to surge ahead and secure the win by 15 seconds.

Day two dawned hotter, drier and dustier than day one. The course was changed slightly from the day before with faster open sections. The dust and lack of moisture actually created slicker conditions, especially on the grassy sections where the thin layer of dust on the grass made it difficult to take turns at high speeds without risking a fall. At the start Jonathan Page grabbed the hole-shot and put the field in the hurt locker, immediately gapping everyone. Coming into the barrier section half way through the first lap, Page was several seconds in the lead with a cheeky Chris Jones bridging up while the rest of the pack suffered single file. As Jones made contact with Page, Reain also launched himself out of the pack. By the end of the first lap it was Jones leading Page and Reain.

As the chasing pack struggled to regain it's composure, Mueller became the first to attempt to bridge to the Jones, Page, Reain group. Sensing his training partner was closing the gap, Page started to work over Reain and Jones, who both slowly started to lose contact. Mueller spent a lap hop scotching over the Reain and Jones, to make contact with Page midway through the race. As the junction was made, Page put his head down and lead Mueller, quickly putting 30 seconds then 60 seconds on the two chasers. Page then led Mueller to the finish for another win.

In the women's race, pro mountain biker Kerry Barnholt rode away from the women's field both days to take back to back wins ahead of Anna Milkowski and Catherine Wahlberg.

Full results, report and photos.

Frattini takes season opener in Maryland

By Marc Vettori

Davide Frattini (Colavita/Sutter Home)
Photo ©: FJ Hughes
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Over 400 riders from around the Mid Atlantic converged upon Druid Hill Park, nestled in the heart of Baltimore, Maryland, for the official kick-off of the MABRA Cyclo-cross series in unseasonably warm temperatures.

In the elite men's race, Italian powers Davide Frattini and Luca Damiani of Colavita/Sutterhome presented by Cooking Light team, charged to the front with C3-Sollay.com team-mates Andy Wulfkuhle and Weston Schempf in tow. A mid-race attack by Schempf was successful in splitting up the Italians. Two laps later, Frattini launched his own attack, and opened a small gap on Schempf that he was able to keep to claim the victory. Hometown hero Schempf would take the second step on the podium, followed by Damiani, and Dan Wilson riding for Monster Heath Cycling in fourth.

In the elite women's race Carolyn Popovic riding for Team C.I.C.L.E. won a hotly contested race, carving her way through the field and taking a direct path to the top of the podium. Erica Yozellof the Fort Factory Team took second place honours as Jessica Hill of Trail's End Cycles brought home the bronze medal. C3-Sollay.com rider Lisa Vible, the defending Bikereg.com MABRA women's champion, was fourth.

Full report, results and photos.

Clif Bar development 'cross team

Clif Bar has recently announced that it will be the title sponsor of the American cycling association development cyclo-cross team for riders aged between 13 and 22. Now in it's fourth season, the development cyclo-cross team builds on the solid foundation built by the former TIAA-Cref/Clif Bar team, and meshes nicely with the large ACA Mudskippers team of 8-12 year olds.

The team of 17 will be lead this year by Brady Kappius a two time worlds team member and Daniel Summerhill the 2007 junior worlds silver medallist Joining Kappius and Summerhill will be three 13-15 year olds, many rookie cross racers, and returning veterans Taylor Lane, Andrew Barker, Jim Lennon, and Taylor Phinney.

The team will compete in a full schedule of Colorado races, as well as the US gran prix series and nationals. Daniel Summerhill will be focusing on a more extensive schedule that will see him start the season at Cross Vegas this Wednesday, and include several other high-profile UCI events.

The team will be featuring a new green look to correspond to the team's pioneering sustainable cycling mission, with plenty of green on the uniforms and green Salsa Chili con Crosso bikes. The team aims to increase awareness as well as educate and inspire the cycling community about sustainable cycling. The team's mission is to not only help these young cross racers become successful athletes, competing at the highest level in the US and Europe - but to help them develop into well-rounded, exceptional leaders ready to make a difference in the cycling community and their own communities.

Bessette, Johnson and Powers to Belgium

North American 'cross stars Jeremy Powers, Tim Johnson, and Lyne Bessette will head to Europe for the month of January to prepare for the World Championships with their Cyclocrossworld.com team, the team announced at its launch this month. The three riders, all of whom have impressive palmares, will be based in Belgium.

"New for this year is our foray into the European cross scene," said Thorne. "The riders will be based in cross crazy Belgium for the month of January. While in Europe they'll be contesting the remaining World Cups before the biggest race of the year – the World Championships in Treviso Italy. It will be quite an undertaking this year, but we are all looking forward to the challenge and we really appreciate the support."

Bessette returns to the team she has ridden with since its inception as the defending Canadian National 'cross champ after a hiatus from European racing. Once one of the top road riders in the world, Bessette will make a concerted assault on the World Cup circuit,with the ultimate aim of the World Championships in Italy. She remains one of only two North Americans, male or female, to have won a UCI World Cup Cyclo-cross race, having won the Nommay, France race in 2001. Alison Dunlap also won a World Cup in Heerlen, The Netherlands in 2002.

"You name it she has won it," said Thorne of Bessette. "Lyne races with such determination and drive. She is a joy to watch. Lyne has been a part of the Cyclocrossworld team since the beginning and I feel honored to work with her for another exciting season of racing."

Jeremy Powers, fifth at the 2006 U.S. National Championships, joins the team after two years racing 'cross for his road sponsor, Team Jelly Belly. Powers raced the European 'cross circuit in 2005-06, but was on a domestic calendar last season, where he became a force at the front of national level races throughout the year. For 2007, Powers, 25, is anxious to return to the Continent.

Tim Johnson will hit the season under the banner of Cannondale - Team Leer - Cyclocrossworld.com. While using the same component package as Powers and Bessette, Johnson will ride his own signature model Cannondale XTJ cyclo-cross frame. Third place at the U.S. Nationals in 2006, Johnson will make his first assault on the European scene since 2002.

Ridley Bikes' David Alvarez and SRAM's Alex Wassman were on hand for the team launch, highlighting the cutting edge bike set-up Powers and Bessette will use in the coming season: all carbon Ridley X Fire frames shod with brand new SRAM Red components. Mavic wheels, Dugast tires, Fizik saddles, and FSA bars, stems, and seatposts round out the package on bikes that flirt with the UCI minimum weight standard. According to Alvarez, the new Ridley X Fire is lighter and stiffer than previous carbon Ridley 'cross frames with a lower bottom bracket to better suit the fast and dry nature of most modern 'cross courses.

Team Cyclocrossworld.com will kick off the 2007-08 season in Las Vegas on September 26th at inaugural Vegas Cross.

Ed Sander memorial cyclo-cross

In 2001, National Capitol Velo Club (NCVC) member Ed Sander perished after falling from his bike during training. In the wake of the tragedy, the NCVC and Sander's employer, Lilypons Water Gardens joined together to honor his memory, his passions and his profession with a cyclo-cross race around the Lilypons property he had managed. Since then the race has grown into a celebration of Sander’s cycling passion that benefits the college scholarship fund set up for his son, Chris.

On Sunday, September 30, a record numbers of racers are expected to renew the memory and compete on the Ed Sander Memorial’s unique cyclo-cross course around the Lily Ponds at the Lilypons Water Garden Center in Buckeystown Maryland. As part of the BikeReg.com MABRAcross series, the Ed Sander Memorial has benefited from the tremendous growth of that series has seen over the past five years. But the race has also contributed to the success of the overall series. "We want this race to be the best cyclo-cross race around," say co-promoters Rob Campbell and Erik Leaver in explaining why they keep increasing their workload to improve the event each year.

This year, the duo and the rest of their NCVC club are reaching out to the non-cycling community like never before. "We're known for having one of the best kid’s races on the circuit," said Leaver recently. "So we are really pushing that as a way of bringing newcomers to watch the races. We have posters all over town and we've sent press releases to all the local papers. We want to see over a hundred children in this year's kid's race."

BC 'cross clinic features Danish champ

Danish champion Joachim Parbo will hold a cyclo-cross clinic in Vancouver on September 30. Hosted by Wedgewood Cycling Team, the clinic is open to beginner and intermediate racers with a valid Cycling BC license. This intensive skills clinic with one of the world’s most experienced cyclo-cross racers will cover proper bike set-up, terrain transitions, dismounts, race tactics and training advice.

A two hour session will help any rider develop their riding and racing technique. The clinic will be held at the Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC 10am - 12pm. The cost is $45, and includes $40 Pedro’s Bike Cleaning products. Limit of 30 riders Pre-registration and information only at www.teamwedgewood.com.

Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races

  • September 26: Cross Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada (USA) C2
  • September 28: National Cyclo-cross Cup, Louny (Cze) C2
  • September 29: Hanover Grand Prix, Hanover, New Hampshire (USA) C2
  • September 29: Int. Openingsveldrit Harderwijk om de Grote Prijs Shimano, Harderwijk (Ned) C2
  • September 29: National Cyclo-cross Cup, Plzen (Cze) C2
  • September 30: Catamount Grand Prix, Williston, Vermont (USA) C2
  • September 30: Wedgewood Cross Classic, Vancouver (Can) C2 - CANCELLED
  • October 6: Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup 1, Southampton (USA) C1
  • October 7: Jim Horner Cyclocross Grand Prix, Edmonton (Can) C2
  • October 7: National Trophy Series 1, Abergavenny (GBr) C2
  • October 7: Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup 2, Southampton (USA) C2
  • October 13: Gran Prix of Gloucester 1, Gloucester, MA (USA) C2

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