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Cyclo-cross News & Racing Round-up, Monday, August 30, 2010

Date published:
August 30, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Rossi's B sample negative for CERA

    Vania Rossi and partner Riccardo Riccò
    Article published:
    April 02, 2010, 20:05 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    CONI prosecutor to re-examine Italian cyclo-cross rider's case

    The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) announced that the examination of Italian cyclo-cross rider Vania Rossi's B sample has returned a negative result for EPO-CERA.

    CONI released the news on its website on Friday with the statement, "In the B sample analysis for Vania Rossi, conducted in the period from March 29 to April 2, 2010, the minimum levels of CERA required to meet the World Anti-doping Agency's (WADA) criteria have not been found."

    Rossi,26, tested positive for CERA in a doping control conducted at the Italian cyclo-cross national championships on January 10. The original test, carried out by CONI, satisfied WADA's criteria for a positive result, and Rossi was provisionally suspended from competition on January 29.

    Rossi, the 2007 and 2008 Italian national cyclo-cross champion, has continued to maintain her innocence since the announcement of her A sample positive.

    CONI confirmed that the results of both the A and B sample analyses had been verified by the WADA-approved laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry, France.  CONI's prosecutor will re-examine the case before deciding what further action can be taken.

    At the time of the competition and test, Rossi was the partner of Riccardo Riccò, and she is the mother of their son.  Riccò was thrown out of the 2008 Tour de France after a positive doping test for EPO-CERA. He has since served his suspension and returned to competition.

  • Jouffroy confirmed as U23 'cross World Champion

    The Szczepaniak brothers show their medals
    Article published:
    May 21, 2010, 18:37 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Szczepaniak brothers stripped of medals, issued with heavy bans

    Frenchman Arnaud Jouffroy has been officially confirmed as Under-23 World Cyclo-cross Champion following the disqualification of Pawel and Kacper Szczepaniak. The brothers have been stripped of their medals and been handed heavy penalties by the Polish Cycling Federation (PZK).

    Jouffroy had finished third behind the Polish brothers in the World Championship race on January 30 in Tabor, Czech Republic. On March 11, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that Pawel, 20, and Kacper, 19, had tested positive for EPO in targeted tests carried out after the event.

    Belgium's Tom Meeusen and Poland's Marek Konwa, who finished fourth and fifth respectively, have been installed as the silver and bronze medallists.

    The UCI also announced on Friday the bans and fines issued to the Szczepaniak brothers by the PZK as sanction for their offences.

    The PZK showed little leniency to the brothers, with Kacper banned from competition for four years. Pawel was dealt with even more severity, banned for eight years. They also received respective fines of 1,680 and 750 euros.

    For Pawel Szczepaniak in particular, the ban effectively rules out a professional cyclo-cross career as he will be 28 before he is eligible to return to competition.

    Kacper, whose contract with Telenet-Fidea was dissolved following the announcement of his positive test, will be eligible to return at the age of 23.

  • UCI to allow disc brakes in cyclo-cross competition

    The men's peloton at the cyclo-cross World Cup round five in Igorre, Spain.
    Article published:
    June 18, 2010, 20:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Other 'cross rules changed by Management Committee

    The UCI will allow disc brakes on in cyclo-cross races effective at the beginning of the 2010-2011 'cross season. The organization's management committee approved the change upon the recommendation of its Cyclo-cross Commission.

    At the same time, other changes to 'cross rules were approved. The maximum tire width has been reduced from 35mm to 33mm.

    The six-obstacle limit on courses has been changed to refer to man-made obstacles. The plank-type obstacles can be up to 40cm tall instead of having to be 40cm tall, and they must be four to six meters apart.

    Man-made sand pits are also now allowed and feeding will also be permitted if temperatures exceed 20 degrees Celsius; however, the feeding is limited to pits and can happen only after the first two laps but before the last two laps.

    Similarly to mountain biking, commissaires may now invoke the "80 percent rule" and remove a rider who is behind the leader by 80 percent of the leader's lap time. Thus, riders can be pulled before they are lapped.

  • UCI allows disc brakes for cyclo-cross

    Race winner Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) en route to a solo victory.
    Article published:
    June 22, 2010, 1:14 BST
    By:
    Matt Pacocha, Bikeradar.com

    Teams welcome new rules

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) has approved disc brakes for competition in the 2010-’11 cyclo-cross race season. The ban was lifted via a newly issued document entitled, ‘Rule Amendments for Title 1,’ which was posted to USA Cycling’s website late Friday morning.

    “I didn’t think that one was going to go through with the UCI,” said Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team director, Stu Thorne. “I had heard about all the changes long ago… the biggest thing for us is the tyre width — but the brake thing kind of caught me off guard.”

    The same document also newly restricts tires used in UCI regulated competition to 33mm at their widest part and reiterates the ban on spikes and studs.

    “It’s a huge bonus for us,” said Thorne. “It means a whole bunch of wheels that we don’t have to bring over to Europe. But at the same time I’m suspect that it’s actually going make it so that Sven Nys shows up with fewer wheels. You’re going to see different compounds, different treads; tyre manufacturers are going to go crazy making different things — course specific, weather dependant — and nothing is going to change. Like I said, Sven is going to show up with 20 sets of wheels, it doesn’t really matter.”

    The basis for the rule change is to make the sport more approachable, equipment wise, to juniors. Thorne explained, in Belgium the top juniors believed they needed to mirror the iconic rider’s equipment quiver to be competitive, subsequently building a huge barrier to entry, especially on a developmental level.

    Thorne believes that whatever the tyre width regulation does to ease the financial burden on privateers will totally be undone by lifting the ban on disc brakes, at least in the short term.

    “I can tell you right...

  • Štybar aiming for London mountain bike start

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet Fidea) reacts to winning his first Superprestige overall series.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2010, 6:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cross world champion looking for Czech Olympic slot

    Zdeněk Štybar is expected to contest next month’s national mountain bike championships in the Czech Republic, with the cyclo-cross rider aiming to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games mountain bike event. The current cyclo-cross world champion has been contesting road events in Serbia and Belgium to keep up his fitness.

    “I would like to perform well so that my slecection for the 2012 Olympics in London is in place,” Štybar told Sport.be.

    While Štybar’s career to date has been heavily focused on cyclo-cross, he’s also had some success competing on the road, which he uses to maintain his fitness. In 2007 he finished second on a Tour of Qinghai Lake stage, the same year he claimed two stage podiums at Volta Ciclista Internacional a Lleida.

    Štybar’s switch to road racing was delayed this year after having an operation to remove a cyst. He is due to contest a mountain bike event in Sankt Vith, Belgium, on Friday, before contesting the national championships on July 17. His race calendar also includes the Swiss MTB World Cup round later in the month.

    Former junior European mountain bike champion Jaroslav Kulhavý represented the Czech Republic at the last games in Beijing, China. Kulhavý, who is of similar age to Štybar and dabbles in cyclo-cross racing, finished in 18th place at the 2008 event.

  • USA adopts new rules for cyclo-cross

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    Article published:
    August 18, 2010, 19:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Disc brakes in, tires narrowed following UCI changes

    USA Cycling has agreed to follow new rules for the upcoming cyclo-cross season mirroring those adopted by the UCI for races on US soil.

    The new regulations allow for feeding during some races, change the handling of lapped riders and modify some technical regulations on equipment and course design.

    The UCI rolled out its changes to the international cyclo-cross regulations in June of this year, allowing previously banned disc brakes and narrowing the maximum tire width among other changes.

    For 'cross racers in more temperate climes of the USA, feeding will be allowed when the temperatures is at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit, will be restricted to laps other than the first and last two, and hand-ups can only take place in the service lane.

    Other changes include specifying the height of artificial barriers to be "up to 40 cm high" instead of being exactly 40 cm, and the distance between barriers may now be from four to six meters instead of exactly four.

    Previously, rules limited the number of obstacles obliging riders to dismount to six. USA Cycling will now specify only six "artificial" obstacles but still restricts total obstacle distance to 10 percent of the course.

    "The ban on artificial sand was removed and replaced with specifications that if you have artificial sand, it must be 40-80 meters long, straight, and have no lip up or down to access it," the communique stated.

    Rules restricting tires to a maximum 33mm width will only be enforced for UCI events and senior National Championships.

    "The intent was to reduce the amount of equipment that many riders feel they must bring in order to be competitive," USA Cycling stated. "This rule does not affect local events as we currently have no rules regarding tire width and the Board of Trustees is not adding any tire width requirement. However, the tire width rule will apply at National Championships for all riders 17 and over.

    USA Cycling also...

  • CrossVegas moves to close women’s prize money gap

    National Champion Katie Compton (Spike)
    Article published:
    August 25, 2010, 1:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Organiser hopes to eventually offer prize equality

    CrossVegas has joined the list of particularly cyclo-cross races moving to narrow the prize money gap between the elite men’s and women’s field. Organiser Brook Watts has announced a ‘podium bonus’ for the top three finishers in this year’s women’s race, with each rider to receive an additional $500USD on top of the prize money nominated by the International Cycling Union’s management committee.

    “Would I prefer to be announcing 100 per cent equality in women’s and men’s prizes? Absolutely I would,” said Watts. “However despite our current economic climate, I’m pleased to be able to move the bar up a notch in recognition of the equal effort put in by the Elite Women’s field at CrossVegas.

    “There has been a lot of chatter in the online world in the last few days about the CrossVegas prize list,” he added. “What doesn’t get publicised is the work that goes on behind the scenes by me and other interested parties trying to raise the necessary funds to make fundamental changes like this not only for CrossVegas but other cyclo-cross races as well.”

    Watts doesn’t hide the fact that the women’s prizes – at $766, $687 and $643 respectively – are still lower than the men’s, but highlighted that he’s been instrumental in the push for equality. He helped get the NACT series prize lists equal for both men and women.

    “Changes like the NACT purse and the CrossVegas podium bonus have been in the works for some time so it makes some of the recent criticisms frustrating,” said Watts.

    Watts called on other disciplines to join cyclo-cross in the push to provide equal prize money for both genets. “It seems like ‘cross has been singled out for an issue that cuts across all cycling and in fact all sports,” he said.

    CrossVegas is held during the Interbike trade...

  • CrossVegas names preliminary starters

    All of the 2009 CrossVegas men's podium - Christopher Jones, Jamey Driscoll and Jonathan Page (l-r) - will return for 2010.
    Article published:
    August 30, 2010, 16:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Strongest ever field assembled at American cyclo-cross event

    Preliminary starters for the fourth edition of CrossVegas have been announced in what is shaping up to be the strongest ever field to take part in an American cyclo-cross race.

    "The winners of the CrossVegas titles are going to come from the best field ever assembled in America," said CrossVegas organizer Brook Watts. "Whether you break it out by national champions attending where we've got eight nations covered, or if you look at the international rankings we've got three of the top 10 riders in both the elite men's and elite women's categories.

    "If you look at it from another level, you've got the returning champions from the previous editions of CrossVegas. And then to really top it off you've got a dozen 'wild card' contenders and any one of those riders could draw an ace on race day."

    The men's field features American champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Canadian champion Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), Italian champion Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing), French champion Francis Mourey (Francaise des Jeux), Belgian elite champion Geert Wellens (Champion System), Danish champion Joachim Parbo (KCH Leopard Cycles) and Hungarian champion Zoltan Tisza (Tecnofilm Bentonexpressz 2000).

    The women's event has a pair of national champions slated to start: American champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike) plus Czech champion Katerina Nash (Team Luna Chix).

    In addition to the assortment of national champions scheduled to compete, a strong selection of riders in the top 20 of the UCI rankings will take part in CrossVegas. The men's field features fifth ranked Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank Continental Team), Francis Mouray (Francaise des Jeux) at seventh, Switzerland's Christian Heule (Rendementhypo Cycling Team) at ninth and American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) at 18th.

    The women's field will include fifth ranked Katie Compton (Planet Bike), Katerina Nash (Team LUNA Chix) at 7th and Nash's...