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Cyclo-cross News & Racing Round-up, Friday, December 3, 2010

Date published:
December 03, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Albert believes Quick Step speculation will distract Stybar

    Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) runs through the sand in Koksijde.
    Article published:
    November 27, 2010, 20:25 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian satisfied with his decision to stick with cyclo-cross

    Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) has expressed his satisfaction with a decision to remain dedicated to cyclo-cross, following recent speculation that 'cross rival Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) is on the verge of converting to the road with ProTour squad Quick Step.

    Albert had himself contemplated a switch to road early this year during a frustrating period of the 2009-2010 season, but last month confirmed he will continue to race on the European cyclo-cross circuit until at least 2014 after signing a three-year contract with BCKP-Powerplus.

    The 24-year-old Belgian preceded Stybar as cyclo-cross world champion in 2009. Despite only earning one win thus far this season, Albert is treating the speculation swirling around his Czech rival as a blessing for his chances of re-capturing his 2009 form.

    "If things remain uncertain for him [Stybar] for a couple of months, then that's going to take its toll for him mentally. I would find it really annoying to be in that position," said Albert, according to Het Nieuwsblad. "I doubt I would be able to perform at my best, because certainty is really important for a rider."

    Stybar, 24, has continued his domination of the European 'cross scene this year winning the first two rounds of the 2010-2011 World Cup series and trading wins in the Superprestige and GvA Trophy series' with Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels. However, despite his performances in the rainbow jersey, the Czech star admitted this week that contract negotiations with his current team Fidea-Telenet had stalled and that he had subsequently received a contract offer from Quick Step which would give him the opportunity to race the Spring Classics on the road and potentially race the cross-country mountain-bike race at 2012 Olympic Games.

    That news was followed on Thursday by the announcement that Czech billionaires Zdenek Bakala and Bessel Kok had purchased a majority share in the Belgian ProTour squad. Stybar's profile both...

  • Wellens not seriously injured in horrendous 'cross crash

    Bart Wellens lands quite uncomfortably on the frozen ground in Gieten.
    Article published:
    November 29, 2010, 10:29 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Expects to ride again next weekend despite severely bruised neck and wrist

    Bart Wellens had luck on his side in Sunday's Superprestige Cyclo-Cross race, as he suffered no fractures in a horrendous crash. Fears that he had broken both his neck and wrist proved to be unfounded, although both are severely bruised.

    The Belgian slipped on a piece of ice and went head first into a ditch, landing on his neck with his head to one side. His immediate groans of pain proved he was still alive. The worst damage was done to his helmet, which was broken into a number of pieces.

    Wellens' immediate concern was for his right wrist, which he had broken earlier in the season. “Guys, this does not look good, I have the same feeling as the World Cup in Hooglede-Gits [when he broke it],” he said on his way to hospital, according to “I can't move it, I can't hold my handlebars. And it hurts like hell.”

    The trip to the hospital took three hours, but it brought good news. “The x-rays seemed to show that the wrist was broken, but a CAT scan showed it wasn't,” doctors Bart T'Seven said. “He has a severe bruise on his wrist, especially around the carpal bone. He also severely bruised his neck.” Wellens must wear a brace on both his neck and wrist for several weeks.

    The fateful patch of ice was on a piece of asphalt at a corner. “I knew it was a dangerous place, I had seen that during the warm up. But in this course you have to go all out.”

    "I had just caught the leading group and it was a crucial moment. I had to go for it.”

    Still, the crash took him by surprise. “You don't think of going doing in such a stupid way, when there are so many other slicker patches on the course. But suddenly my front wheel went bottom up and I flew with my head to the ground.”

    The 32-year-old will fly today, bruises and all, to a training camp in Spain. First he will put in two days of rest before preparing for...

  • Van Gilder, Powers claim NACT titles

    Jeremy Powers ( wins.
    Article published:
    November 29, 2010, 19:25 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Series concludes in Massachusetts

    The third annual North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) series concluded at the UCI Baystate Cyco-cross held in Sterling, Massachusetts on Sunday. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b and Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) were presented with the unique heavy weight champion trophy belt signifying their accomplishments as the series’ overall winners.

    "It is the best to have that belt," Van Gilder said. "I remember seeing the belt two years ago when Georgia [Gould] won it and it is significant to me because I also like to watch UFC Fighting and so I thought it was the bomb. It is a belt that gets passed on every year. It is super, super heavy and it is capable of having the series overall winners names engraved on it. I get to keep it for one year and then bring it to the final race next year."

    Van Gilder moved into the overall lead after a convincing victory during the opening round of the Baystate Cyclo-cross on Saturday. She earned enough points to maintain her lead through the following day despite a mechanical set back that resulted in a fifth place on Sunday. The notable road sprinter won the series overall title ahead of Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure-Ogilvy) in second and Meredith Miller (California Giant-Specialized) in third. Miller was noticeably absent from the weekend’s racing along with other top five contenders Wendy Simms, Georgia Gould and teammate Katerina Nash (Luna Pro).

    "Initially at the beginning of the year it wasn’t a series that I was trying to win," Van Gilder said. "I looked at the results and saw that I was still in contention for the win this weekend. For some of the other riders it was more difficult to attend and when I saw the start list I knew what I needed to do. I knew that if I had some consistent races that it was possible."

    Powers also moved into the overall lead after winning series’ round seven during the Baystate Cyclo-cross on...

  • Wellens on the mend

    Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) suffered a horrendous crash in Geiten
    Article published:
    November 30, 2010, 11:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Everything still stiff and sore from weekend crash

    Bart Wellens is recovering from his cyclo-cross crash this weekend, but slowly. The Telenet-Fidea rider fell on his neck and wrist on Saturday in Gieten. Nothing was broken, but he was heavily bruised.

    He did not train on Monday, but took the day off. “There is fluid in my neck and wrists, and it goes away only when I rest a lot,” he told “I couldn't have done anything on my bike anyway. Everything hurts and my whole body is stiff. I'm on painkillers."

    "I have absolutely no good feelings and at the moment I can't move my head a centimetre left or right. Too bad this happened, because I was in peak condition.”

    The 32-year-old slipped on a patch of ice on a corner of Saturday's course, and landed on his neck, breaking his helmet into a number of pieces. He was more concerned about his right wrist, which he had earlier broken, but a CAT scan showed no fracture.

    Wellens has flown to Spain with his team for a training camp leading up to this weekend's World Cu race in Igorre, which he expects to ride.

  • Stybar, Van den Brand lead UCI 'cross rankings

    Dutch champion Daphny van den Brand ( on the podium for second place.
    Article published:
    December 01, 2010, 23:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Nys, Albert, Compton rocket up rankings

    World champion Zdenek Stybar continued to hold the UCI rankings lead heading into December, but a series of off days pushed Belgian champion Sven Nys closer to the top spot.

    Nys claimed two Superprestige victories since the last rankings were released on November 9, one in Gavere and one in Hamme-Zogge.

    After starting the season with seven straight wins, Stybar's best result in November was a second place at the Koksijde World Cup. Since the last rankings he's finished off the podium three times.

    Niels Albert jetted up to third on strength of his victory in Koksijde and third place finishes in Gavere and Hamme-Zogge. His compatriot Kevin Pauwels dropped to fourth despite taking the victory in the GVA Trophy Hasselt, as that race was a C2 and worth fewer points than the Superprestige events.

    Tim Johnson remained the top American on the rankings, but fell to seventh from fifth after failing to crack the top 10 in his European campaign.

    On the women's side, Dutchwoman Daphny Van den Brand maintained her lead, while American Katie Compton climbed into second thanks to her victory in the Koksijde World Cup. She is tied on points with Sanne Van Paassen, while Briton Helen Wyman lies fourth.

    The junior men had their first World Cup of the season in Koksijde, and Belgian Laurens Sweeck, who claimed the win, leads the UCI rankings over European champion Lars Forster of Switzerland. German/American Yannick Eckmann lies in third.

    Belgium continues to show its dominance in cyclo-cross by leading the elite men, U23 and junior rankings, while the Netherlands stays as the top country in the elite women's classification.

    UCI Cyclo-cross Rankings as of November 30, 2010

  • NACT and VERGE cyclo-cross series face suspension from UCI

    Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart), right, leads U-23 Verge series leader Luke Keough (Team Champion System).
    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 20:26 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Code 1.2.026 retroactively enforced for 2010-2011 season

    The North American Cyclo-cross Trophy Series (NACT) and the Verge New England Championships Cyclo-cross Series (NECCS) are facing suspension for not following an obscure and previously unenforced International Cycling Union (UCI) rule.

    Adam Myerson, the NECCS promoter and former member of the UCI Cross Commission and Brook Watts, the promoter of Cross Vegas the race director for the NACT series this year, were caught by surprise by the ruling. The rule (1.2.026) requires each series to apply for UCI inscription, but was housed in the general rules of cycling and not in the cyclo-cross specific document, and to their knowledge has never before been enforced.

    "Kelli Lusk of USA Cycling informed us yesterday as soon as she got the notice from Peter Van den Abeele [the UCI's Cyclo-cross Technical Director -ed.] by email," Myerson said. "I was given one sentence that said these series were banned. They said they would make an exception and allow the individual races to continue but the series were banned."

    With the compromise, the ten races in the NECCS series, those in Green Mountain, New Gloucester, Northampton, Sterling and Warwick as well as the NACT races in Washington, Gloucester and Boulder can continue, but it leaves the USGP as the sole remaining national series consisting of UCI races.

    "The ban is already done and now I have to try and reverse it," he added. "I’m hoping to have a reasonable conversation with the UCI and I can’t imagine that after taking with Peter that he wouldn’t understand how exceptional this punishment is. Just give us a warning because we were not doing this to get away with something."

    The newly-enforced rule does not explicitly name cyclo-cross series as falling under the code, and only one North American series, the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross, specifically applied for UCI inscription.

    The code reads, "National federations, their affiliates and license...

  • Amateur NECCS cyclo-cross series to continue despite elite ban

    Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart) racing to third place
    Article published:
    December 03, 2010, 20:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Elite UCI races will go on as one-day events

    The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series (NECCS) will go on as an amateur-only series for the 2011-2012 season after the elite series was banned by the UCI, the NECCS president Adam Myerson announced today.

    "Following a meeting of all the New England UCI race organizers last evening, I'm proud to announce the 2011-12 Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series schedule. For 2011-12, the Verge Series will not include Elite or U23 Men and Women, but will continue for all the current USAC categories," he said.

    The amateur categories include three masters fields, two junior fields and races for category 3 men and 3/4 women.

    Myerson said that the 15 elite UCI races will still be run, but as stand-alone events and, if approved by the UCI, eight of the races will be grouped into a UCI-sanctioned New England Professional Cyclo-Cross Series.

    The dates of the NECCS series and one-day UCI races are as follows:

    09/17/2011 Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend 1 Williston, VT
    09/18/2011 Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend 2 Williston, VT
    09/24/2011 The Nor'easter CX @ Loon Mountain Lincoln, NH
    10/01/2011 Grand Prix of Gloucester 1 Gloucester, MA
    10/02/2011 Grand Prix of Gloucester 2 Gloucester, MA
    10/08/2011 Providence Festival of Cyclocross 1 Providence, RI
    10/09/2011 Providence Festival of Cyclocross 2 Providence, RI
    10/22/2011 Downeast Cyclocross 1 New Gloucester, ME
    10/23/2011 Downeast Cyclocross 2 New Gloucester, ME
    11/05/2011 Cycle-Smart International 1 Northampton, MA
    11/06/2011 Cycle-Smart International 2 Northampton, MA
    11/26/2011 Bay State Cyclocross 1 Sterling, MA
    11/27/2011 Bay State Cyclocross 2 Sterling, MA
    12/03/2011 NBX Grand Prix of Cyclocross 1 Warwick, RI
    12/04/2011 NBX Grand Prix of Cyclocross 2 Warwick, RI

  • Johnson and Powers USGP battle brings perfect storm to Portland

    Tim Johnson takes the Boulder Cup win.
    Article published:
    December 03, 2010, 22:10 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Gould nearly a lock for women's overall

    The finale of the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross takes place in Portland, Oregon for the fourth year in a row, and there is no more fitting place for the championship round than the Pacific Northwest's heart of cyclo-cross.

    While the weather predictions call for an uncharacteristic lack of rain, that doesn't mean there will be a lack of the mud that makes the region famous. Recent rains will have saturated the low-lying portions of the course, so there will be plenty of mud on the first day. Once the hundreds of amateur riders and the elite fields churn up the track on Saturday, the course should set up into perfectly tacky, fast conditions.

    Either condition suits the men's series leader, Tim Johnson, who is looking to take home his second overall series title after last claiming the top prize on the same course in 2008. His only real competition comes from his own teammate Jeremy Powers, who is just 16 points behind.

    In third, another Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld teammate, Jamey Driscoll, is a distant 108 points behind and cannot threaten for the win as each race earns only a maximum 50 points.

    "Jeremy and I have the opportunity to fight each other because we've done so well this year," Johnson said, downplaying the rivalry to come. "There's nothing negative at all, but we both want to win.

    "I like it like that - road racing is usually dictated by tactics, but in this situation it will be whoever has the better races both days who wins."

    Johnson took the overall USGP series with a victory on the first day in Portland two years ago, and the conditions of the course and the weather predictions look nearly identical to 2008.

    "It would be nice to have a replay of that, but it's going to be tough. Jeremy is riding really well and I will have to beat him in order to do that."

    The US champion said he wasn't sure there was anything about the course that would give him an advantage over Powers. His recent trip...

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