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Cyclo-cross News & Racing Round-up, Friday, November 26, 2010

Date published:
November 26, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Stybar ready to return to racing

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea) finished in fourth place, more than two minutes down on Nys.
    Article published:
    November 19, 2010, 11:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Knee problem not gone but better

    Zdenek Stybar is still having some problems with his left knee, but the pain had subsided enough that he feels he can race again. The world champion plans on riding both cyclo-cross races in Belgium this weekend, the GvA race in Hasselt and the Superprestige race in Gavere.

    Earlier this week he was diagnosed with tendonitis in his left knee, caused by an earlier back problem and over-training, and exacerbated by the muddy conditions of the last event, the Superprestige race in Hamme-Zogge won by Sven Nys. 

    “On Monday I was off the bike,” he told  “Tuesday I limited my training to half an hour.  Wednesday I could train twice again and today (Thursday) I went out for a 3.5 hours ride.”

    That makes him optimistic for the two races this weekend, the GvA race in Hasselt and the Superprestige race in Gavere, where he will try to take back the overall lead of the series from Nys.

    “Every day I visit the physiotherapist and after every workout I treat the inflamed tendon with ice,” he said.

  • GvA Trophy blow for Vantornout

    Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) in the mud
    Article published:
    November 20, 2010, 17:36 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian rues early Hasselt crash

    Belgian cyclo-cross rider Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) lost his chances of a possible overall victory in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy on Saturday afternoon in Hasselt.

    Going into the third round of the highly-rated competition, Vantornout was ranked in second place alongside Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea), trailing leader Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) by only five points. Half a minute after the start Vantornout's race was over. The Belgian now drops to sixth place, thirty points behind Stybar, who retains the overall lead of the GvA-Trophy.

    In previous years, Vantornout often got into arguments with the organizers of the GvA-Trophy as they felt that the Belgian wasn't sufficiently motivated in their races. “For once I was in the mix for the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy and then this happens. I hoped to defend my good position but that wasn't possible,” Vantornout told Sporza TV.

    Before the race, Vantornout explained that the dry course wasn't what he had hoped for. “It's really fast and that doesn't suit my abilities. But if I'm in top form – and I am – then I can deal with those courses too. It's a shame though that the course is that dry,” Vantornout said.

    The Belgian lived up to his word and managed the holeshot but that's where his race ended. He misjudged the first right-hand corner but somehow managed to stay on his bike despite hitting the barriers. Vantornout was able to carry on in the second half of the field, but he would hit the ground a few metres further.

    “I felt really good and went a bit too fast into that 180° corner. That wasn't a problem since I was able to correct my mistake. I was able to take up my position again but suddenly someone smashed into me,” Vantornout said to Sporza TV soon after the incident.

    When asked about possible injuries Vantornout said he wasn't hurt badly. “The right-hand side of my body is...

  • Compton, Page seeking new sponsorship

    USA Champion Katie Compton and her Stevens bike.
    Article published:
    November 20, 2010, 21:34 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Planet Bike sold, deal ends in January

    Cyclo-cross team Planet Bike is likely to disappear from the cyclo-cross scene next season. The team's star riders Jonathan Page and Katie Compton confirmed their contracts wouldn't be extended.

    While Planet Bike jerseys are still in the peloton this season, Jonathan Page told on Saturday Cyclingnews the team was coming to an end.

    "I talked with Bob Downs, the owner from Planet Bike. He's selling the company and the new people are not interested in the cyclo-cross team; my contract will not be extended," Page said.

    For Compton the co-operation with Planet Bike lasted longer than expected, her great results both in the USA and Europe during the 2009-2010 adding another year to this contract.

    "Last year Planet Bike announced to us they were unable to support us for this year. The company was in the process of being sold. The sale was delayed and Bob elected to sponsor us for this season until Jan 31st. We are busy looking for a new sponsor for the MTB and cyclo-cross season with an eye on qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. We have a new agent who is assisting us with finding a title sponsor," Compton said.

    Whereas Compton is more or less in a comfortable position since she's delivering great results this season, the situation is much different for Page, who hasn't been so fortunate.

    "I'm worried about my future more than anything but I still feel like I have gas in the tank. I still have the desire to do my best," Page said.

    Page will be battling for a good result on Sunday afternoon in Gavere where the Superprestige race is held for both men and women. The course is spectacular with a steep drop and long climb on the normally muddy circuit. Compton will not be present in Gavere, despite being a triple winner in Gavere.

    "Katie has established she's the Queen of Gavere - three for three wins. There's no need to prove the point. We're focused on one goal this year, winning Worlds so we needed to back off...

  • US riders in the picture in Gavere

    USA champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) rode to 12th in Gavere.
    Article published:
    November 21, 2010, 17:57 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Johnson and Page leave their mark in Belgian cyclo-cross classic

    Tim Johnson ( and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) left their mark on Sunday’s fourth round of the Superprestige Series in Gavere, Belgium, with very determined performances in trying conditions. World champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) and Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) may have been the star attractions at the, but two American riders also brought a great degree of colour to proceedings.

    More than one spectator in Gavere was surprised to spot US champion Johnson next to Nys in the front row, but he was there on merit thanks to his high placing in the UCI rankings.

    “I don't think US riders have ever been that high in the UCI rankings for that long. It was great to start off on the front row but I didn't make the best of it,” Johnson said.

    The US champion started slowly and rode outside the top 15 during the first lap of the challenging Gavere circuit and instead it was fellow American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) who was a surprising member of the leading group during the first two laps.

    Page showed good skills but is currently lacking the condition necessary to keep it going for the full hour and he eventually finished in 14th position. After some lacklustre performances at big events earlier in the season, however, Page was pleased with his display on Sunday.

    “That's better,” Page said. “With two laps to go I made one mistake by sliding out on the fast descent. Still I was fairly consistent although I was cramping like hell in the end. I'll take it though as I had severe diarrhoea last night.” His stirring performance also highlighted that with the right condition he could well be capable of staying near the front of the big events for longer than he did in Gavere.

    On the penultimate lap, Johnson overtook Page and he ended up being in the mix for 10th place, although Johnson was pipped in the last lap by Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink) and Kenneth...

  • Nys reveals Superprestige sprint secret

    Sven Nys was very happy to win in Gavere.
    Article published:
    November 21, 2010, 20:18 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian champ out-smarts Pauwels to win seventh Gavere title

    Sven Nys, never a notable sprinter, claimed his seventh victory in the cyclo-cross classic of Gavere in a two-up battle against Kevin Pauwels, and the Belgian champion explained afterwards how he pulled off that surprising performance.

    Normally, Nys tries to head to the finish solo, and if he fails to shake off his opponents during a race he often falls short in the sprint. On Sunday afternoon Nys was forced to take on Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea), who turned out to be the only rider capable of staying with him on the tough course around the Grenier castle. Pauwels is considered to be a fast man at the finish line but the odds turned against him in Gavere.

    "It helped me to arrive at the finish with him alone because it's in his advantage to arrive at the finish with a larger group. Quite often when two dogs are fighting for a bone Kevin Pauwels carries it away. He's becomes more dangerous in such a situation. Normally Kevin is faster but with the sprint coming right after the tough climb and after such a hard race things are different. He had to do some pulls as well to stay in the lead and that brings down his punch in the sprint," Nys said.

    Nys led Pauwels before the last corner and immediately started his sprint when coming out of it. Somehow Pauwels was surprised by Nys' early start of the sprint and didn't even get time to switch hands off the top bars. Nevertheless he tried to get past Nys on the left, but failed to sneak past the Belgian champion before the finish line. Nys was delighted by his performance in the sprint.

    "After the final corner I went full gas and checked under my arms to see at which side he was coming. I think I rode a regular sprint. If he was faster then there was space enough to get past me. If he would've started his sprint more explosive he could've gone past me. I rode the sprint everybody would ride when arriving at the finish with two riders," Nys said.

    His opponent Pauwels agreed that Nys...

  • Stybar admits to Quick Step offer

    World Champion Zdenek Stybar had an off day in Gavere.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 10:52 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Cyclo-cross world champion hoping to ride the Spring Classics

    World cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar has confirmed rumours suggesting that he is on the verge of quitting the Telenet-Fidea team to join Quick Step. The move would enable the Czech to combine a top-level road program with his existing cyclo-cross commitments.

    Speaking to Sporza, Stybar admitted that he had been close to re-signing with Telenet-Fidea. “Last Monday I was about to complete the deal, but I didn’t agree with some things in the contract and then I received a very good offer from Quick Step, which really surprised me,” said Stybar. 

    The Czech added that Telenet-Fidea team manager Hans Van Kasteren will have the final word on the deal. However, Stybar confessed to being “very close to Quick Step”.

    Stybar, who will be 25 next month, recently admitted that he would like to join a team that would enable him to race in the Spring Classics, and specifically the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He was subsequently linked with a number of teams, including Sky, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago and Française des Jeux. It is now clear that Quick Step were also keen on the Czech.

    According to reports in the Belgian press, the proposed deal with Patrick Lefévère’s team would start on March 1, when Stybar’s current deal ends. As well as offering him the possibility of competing in the Classics, the new deal is also likely to enable the Czech to take part in the cross-country mountain bike race at the 2012 London Olympics.

    Knowing of Stybar’s hopes for road success, Van Kasteren had been working on plans to build a continental road team around the Czech, but admitted earlier this week that they have been shelved. Van Kasteren also revealed that he will be stepping down as Telenet-Fidea boss at the end of the year as a result of regular criticism of his management of the strongest team in cyclo-cross.

  • Dieter Vanthourenhout left off Belgian World Cup team

    Belgian Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP Powerplus)
    Article published:
    November 25, 2010, 3:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    High place in rankings sure to vanish

    The Belgian selection for the upcoming cyclo-cross World Cup in Koksijde will not include one of the top-ranked riders of the grid: BKCP-Powerplus rider Dieter Vanthourenhout did not make the selection despite being tied with Sven Nys for sixth in the standings.

    The 25-year-old was furious over coach Rudy De Bie's choices, which saw himself and cousin Sven Vanthourenhout omitted in favour of Telenet-Fidea riders Tom Meeusen and Rob Peeters. The pair completed the eight-man roster led by Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor), Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant) and Telenet-Fidea riders Bart Wellens and Kevin Pauwels.

    Vanthourenhout complained bitterly to for De Bie's choice to leave him out of the World Cup which takes place in his home region.

    "Apparently Tom Meeusen himself can decide when and where he races the World Cup. 'Koksijde and Kalmthout' he said," Vanthourenhout said. "Well, then Meeusen may as well be named for [the World Cup in] Igorre next week. I don't feel like spending 800 euros on a trip to the Basque country only to be eliminated from the Kalmthout selection. My sixth place in the World Cup standings is gone anyhow."

    "I've done a quick calculation and the non-selection cost me 10,000 euros. It makes me sick to think about it - I've never been so disappointed."

    Vanthourenhout had a strong start to the season, regularly featuring in the top 10 of races, including a fifth in the World Cup opener in Aigle and a ninth place in Plzen.

    But a bout of the flu and a spider bite put Vanthourenhout's performances back. After a difficult start to November, he claimed 10th at the GVA Trofee in Hasselt before backing out of the Superprestige in Gavere so as to not risk his full recovery.

    "Dieter is not riding poorly," said his father Danny Vanthourenhout. "He had a good race in Hasselt, but did the coach notice?

    "Two more...

  • Third 'cross World Cup heads to the sand dunes in Koksijde

    Dutch champion Daphny van den Brand ( en route to a second place finish.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2010, 17:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Compton, Van den Brand, Nys, Stybar among the favorites

    After a mid-season break, the UCI's cyclo-cross World Cup continues on Saturday with its third round in Koksijde, Belgium. Younger riders will tackle the dunes in the morning while the elite women and men will race in the afternoon.

    The course through the dunes near the North Sea has been tweaked with a view toward next year's cyclo-cross world championships. Former world champion Mario de Clercq checked out the course and told that is was a beautiful, but very tough course for explosive riders with good running skills.

    With the weather forecast predicts below-freezing temperatures and possible snow or hail showers to spice up the racing drama, this year's edition might turn out to be a great warm-up for next year's world championships.

    The women's race will provide a clash between US national champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike) and her European rivals. Compton showed great form in the US racing scene and heads back overseas to check out the new course.

    Last year's winner Marianne Vos will not be present in Koksijde this year. Daphny Van den Brand, who finished second in the sprint with Vos last year, was more than half a minute ahead of Compton. As a result, the Dutch champion is top favorite for the win in Koksijde. Van den Brand shares the lead in the World Cup with her compatriot Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash). British champion Helen Wyman (Kona) and Hanka Kupfernagel are other riders to look out for in Koksijde.

    In the men's race, world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) will try to repeat last year's victory and focus on defending his lead in the World Cup rather than on his sore knee or recent transfer speculations. While Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) is out of contention for the overall win, he surely will be the men to watch in Koksijde, being in good form and a past triple winner in the dunes.

    Stybar's only remaining challengers in the World Cup are Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea)...