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Cyclo-cross News & Racing Round-up, Monday, December 27, 2010

Date published:
December 27, 2010, 20:00
  • Pauwels tops GvA Trophy

    Fifth place finisher Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea)
    Article published:
    December 11, 2010, 21:25
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian doesn't believe he'll hold off Nys

    Halfway the highly contested cyclo-cross series of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy, an unfamiliar name tops the general classification. After the fourth round of the series in Essen on Saturday, Belgian Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) holds a 10-point lead over Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet).

    "Before the race, I had 17 points on Nys, and today I already lost seven points. I'm afraid those 10 points are not going to be enough for the overall victory; it won't be simple. Early on, I felt good, but during the final laps I felt like I was the weaker one of the three. I was only thinking about hanging on and staying with Nys," Pauwels said.

    In the World Cup and the Superprestige Series, Pauwels is ranked in second place. A few weeks ago Pauwels said that he wasn't thinking about the classifications, but now he's no longer able to hide. "It's impossible not to think about it. During the race today, I was only looking after Nys [second overall in the GvA]."

    Whatever the outcome in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy, Pauwels has shown that he is a rider capable of beating the big three [Nys, Zydek Stybar & Niels Albert] on a good day. He's undoubtedly having one of his best seasons ever and will be one of the darkhorses for the Belgian championships.

  • Nys wary of Boom ahead of Fidea Scheldecross

    Sven Nys attacks the run-up
    Article published:
    December 17, 2010, 11:30
    By:
    Cycling News

    Says "Boom has so much ego and pride that he will spare no effort"

    Sven Nys (Landbouwcredit-Colnago) will start the Fidea Scheldecross in Antwerp on Saturday as a firm favourite but admitted he will be wary of Rabobank's Lars Boom, who will continue with the third of his six-race cyclo-cross programme at the Belgian event.

    Nys heads into the event after winning the Vlaamse Druivenveldrit in Overijse, Belgium last Sunday ahead of an in-form Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor). Boom, who is using the cyclo-cross to prepare for next year's Spring Classics, finished seventh at the event but clearly left his mark on the race and his full-time 'cross colleagues.

    "[Boom] wants us to believe that he's only doing it for fun, but in Overijse we learnt to take those words with a grain of salt," said Nys. "During the warm-up I knew what was happening. I put in a burst and he reacted like lightning; he clearly wanted to impress me."

    Boom's participation in this year's cyclo-cross season has attracted significant media and public attention, particularly within the heartland of the discipline, Belgium. The Dutchman has made no secret of the fact that his focus is on the upcoming road season. However, Nys dismissed any suggestion of resentment towards the 2008 cyclo-cross world champion, preferring instead to focus upon the increased exposure his presence has brought.

    "Lars is a tough customer in every race he starts," said Nys. "The man wasn't world champion in all age categories for no reason. Boom has so much ego and pride that he will spare no effort to challenge us.

    "Cyclo-cross can only benefit from it. People like Lars Boom are the salt in the soup."

    For his part, Boom downplayed the attention he has attracted but admitted he had been pleased with his form given to him in his first major hit-out against the top 'cross riders.

    "It's not me but the real cyclo-cross riders who deserve the attention," said Boom. "Last week I was aided by the difficult start onto the Tenotsberg, where I could hurt the others. It also helped that I had a lot of support from the public - I wasn't treated like an intruder, as I'd feared.

    "It also helped that the other guys were had had a tough race [at the GvA trophy round in] Essen in the legs. But my performance has reassured me. I'm curious and I'm looking forward to the races ahead."

    Nys will also face stiff competition from Niels Albert (BCKP-Powerplus) and Pauwels, though his task is made easier due to the continued absence of current world champion Zdenek Stybar, who remains sidelined by injury.

    Stybar's teammate Pauwels currently leads the GvA trophy series and alongside Tom Meeusen has been one of the only riders capable of breaking the Nys-Albert-Stybar stranglehold on the three major 'cross competitions (the World Cup, GvA Trophy and Superprestige series') this season.

     

     

  • Summerhill ready for European 'cross adventure

    Danny Summerhill (Garmin Transitions) on the front row
    Article published:
    December 18, 2010, 02:28
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    US U23 champion without a jersey but ready to race

    Danny Summerhill (Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin) will kick-start his European cyclo-cross campaign this weekend. The two time U23 US national cyclo-cross champion will race at Lichtervelde - a race he came third in last year - on Saturday before competing at the World Cup event at Kalmthout.

    The 21-year-old comes to Europe in fine form but due to a case of lost luggage will have to postpone his first outing in his national champion’s jersey.

    “I had a day or two at home after nationals and then I flew here but it’s been a nightmare ever since because my bag was left in the US by the airline. I wore just compression kit and jeans on the flight so I have no underwear and my bag still hasn’t arrived. It’s still in Chicago, which is cramping my style,” he told Cyclingnews from the US team base in Izegem, Belgium.

    “I’ve got my first race tomorrow and I have no idea what I’m going to be wearing, but I’ll be doing it somehow.”

    Luggage mishaps aside, this will mark Summerhill’s second season racing 'cross in Europe. Along with this weekend’s action, Summerhill and the rest of the US development team will compete in just under a dozen events until their adventure ends at the start of January.

    “Over the years racing over here as the U23 I’ve learned more and more. The guys I’m racing against are all specializing in cyclo-cross whereas I specialize in road but happen to do cyclo-cross as well.

    “I’m missing that last bit of an edge that they have. When I was a junior it was down to talent but now it’s down to talent plus commitment. For some of the guys the cyclo-cross races are their entire jobs whereas it’s just one discipline for me. I don’t have the means to race over here so I’m playing catch up.”

    Summerhill has built a burgeoning career on mixing his 'cross talents with those on the road. Along with several national 'cross titles he has shone in several stage races, including last year’s Tour of China, where he won a stage and finished fourth overall. However he knows that at some point he’ll need to concentrate on either road of 'cross as his main bread-winner.

    “I’m going to have to choose at some point but it’s undecided right now. I think it will be road but even now kids my age are even specializing in the disciplines of road. Whether that’s being a phenomenal time trialist or a climber, whereas it’s so far and behind what it used to be about. It used to be Eddy Merckx would do it all, climb and sprint and everything but now it’s so specialized.”

    Once back in the US, Summerhill - who will also race the Worlds in Germany – will put the finishing touches to his road calendar for 2011. Now part of the Garmin-Cervelo development team, the versatile rider will hope to have a strong enough season to be in with a shot of racing for the ProTeam in the future.

    “The end goal is to go ProTeam and go to the next level. Essentially I’m a step away as I’m part of the set up that is the Garmin-Cervelo development team. I’m close to the next step but you have to have the ability and make that commitment. I’m planning on putting a lot of eggs into that basket and to try and be there. I’m the only person on the team that does cyclo-cross and road but I still need to abide by the team schedule but next year I’m hoping to have a full road programme.

     

  • Stybar's knee improving

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea)
    Article published:
    December 18, 2010, 15:34
    By:
    Cycling News

    World champion expects to return to racing over the holidays

    Zdenek Stybar's knee injury has shown signs of improvement and he has been building up his training hours. The world cyclo-cross champion is suffering from problems in his left knee which have kept him out of racing for about a month.

    The Czech is in Mallorca, and on Friday was able to train for more than three hours. “Zdenek did well on his lighter training schedule the last few days, and is ready to take the next step,” his doctor, Vincent Van Belle, told sporza.be.

    “He is working very carefully. Everything is going step-by-step and his knee is constantly controlled. We are taking no risks. Stybar himself is very optimistic.”

    The 25-year-old is expected to return to racing between Christmas and New Year.

    He dominated the early part of the cyclo-cross season, but the knee problems appeared in early November. Since then he has not won, and eventually stopped racing to rest his knee.

  • World Cup 'Cross race faces deep snow on course

    Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) sets a brisk pace through the snow in Kalmthout
    Article published:
    December 26, 2010, 10:01
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Belgian coach says conditions favour Nys over Albert

    The cyclo-cross riders at Sunday's World Cup race in Zolder, Belgium, might do better on skis than bikes. Northern Europe has been treated to a rare White Christmas, with even more snow arriving on Sunday. Some observers reported up to 30 centimetres of snow on the course.

    "Pfff ... This is tricky stuff “, Belgian coach Rudy De Bie told Sportwereld.be.

    "But don't expect a quick sliding party," he said, after checking out the course on Saturday. “Because there is so much snow, you sink pretty deep. And it is similar to long stretches of sand: stamping and pushing hard."

    The coach said that World Cup leader Niels Albert would not be favoured to win, as such a snowy course does not suit him. “I would not call him the favourite, but that is not so bad. He would lose fewer places than on a fast, icy course. Besides, it is clear that Niels has concentrated on the World Cup.”

    The favourite is Sven Nys, because “this fits him like a glove.”

    The organizers have taken the unusual step of removing the ice from the asphalt sections. They have sprinkled salt or sand on it, “an exceptional measure on the circuit. But I'm still wondering it they will get it completely free of ice.”

  • Danish cyclo-cross champion's bike stolen

    Joachim Parbo (KCH Leopard Cycles)
    Article published:
    December 26, 2010, 18:20
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Man rides away with Parbo's race rig

    Joachim Parbo (Leopard) will remember his participation in the UCI's cyclo-cross World Cup round in Zolder, Belgium, for a long time. One of the Danish champion's two bikes at the event was stolen after the race.

    While riding in 33rd position on a course that was covered with deep snow, the 36-year-old rider was forced to leave the race and officially finished two laps down. Leaders Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Niels Albert (BCKP-Powerplus) were about to lap Parbo.

    After freshening up, Parbo was talking with some fans at his car when somebody asked him details about his bike. "I offered to let the man do a test ride with the bike. I often do that with fans that don't look like the typical drunk cyclo-cross spectators," Parbo told Cyclingnews.

    This time, though, the man didn't return his bike. One hour later, Parbo described the man as a 30-year-old, weighing approximately 100 kilograms and sporting a ponytail. He has reported the theft to police.

    The Leopard Cycles bike is a black, JPX prototype with white decals on its Zipp wheels.

    "I have another bike in Denmark, but I can't drive back right now because of the weather. I'll have to ride my next race in Pétange with only one bike," said Parbo.

  • Boom gets himself an early birthday present

    Lars Boom (Rabobank) is keeping in shape for the road season with some cyclo-cross
    Article published:
    December 26, 2010, 20:41
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Win in cyclo-cross World Cup round is a bonus in Spring Classics build-up

    The brief return of Lars Boom (Rabobank) to the discipline of cyclo-cross will be long remembered. According to Boom, his participation in a couple of cyclo-cross races is only meant as build-up to his 2011 road season. During the sixth round of the UCI's World Cup in Zolder, Belgium, the Dutch champion impressed by beating current World Cup leader Niels Albert (Telenet-Fidea) and the rest of the cyclo-cross specialists.

    The 24-year-old Dutch champion offered himself a great birthday present - he turns 25 on December 30 - by grabbing the win in the only World Cup round in which he is taking part this season.

    "It's always great to win, but for me this is the most ideal way to prepare for the road season. Don't think that I have no respect for the real cyclo-cross riders. Of course, I'm starting these races with a little bit of ambition because I don't want to come here and finish 20th," Boom said.

    Boom aims to do well in the Spring Classics and last year, he found out that he wasn't well prepared for those hard races. "I was just clocking long hours in Spain and there was not enough intensity. I already have better form than last year. It also feels better because it's more fun. I hope to continue training well and continue training with the team in February," Boom said.

    During the World Cup race in Zolder, his Belgian rival Albert explained that he lacked power relative to his peer Boom on the pavement sections. "He went extremely fast when the race started. I thought he would ride straight into the forest at the first corner," Albert said.

    Boom suggested to Albert that there's a solution for that problem. "You should ride a Grand Tour, that makes a difference," Boom said. In 2009, Boom rode his first ever Grand Tour for the Rabobank team, and he debuted with a win during stage 15 of the Vuelta a España. In 2010, he took part in the Tour de France.

    For the cyclo-cross specialists, the return from former cyclo-cross world champion Boom results in less chances at a win. Wellens made a clear statement after his third place in Zolder. "It's been a long time since I finished on the podium. Winning will be even more difficult. I'll probably have to wait until Lars [Boom] focuses back on the road," Wellens said.

    Runner-up in Zolder, Albert said it wasn't a surprise that Boom came back to cyclo-cross to win races. "I never thought he would come back only to hang around. He's been a world champion in every discipline, and he appears fresh while we are halfway our season," Albert said.

    Some cyclo-cross riders showed up in Zolder and were frightened off by the challenging course. Former world champion Hanka Kupfernagel crashed during training and didn't take the start. Former US-champion Ryan Trebon (Kona) figured that he had more to lose than to win and opted to skip the World Cup round too because it was too dangerous.

    For a road cyclist like Boom, a crash on a frozen subsoil could disturb his build-up towards the Spring Classics. "This morning when I arrived, I was worried about the snow because they hadn't removed anything. I was scared because I've got a lot to lose with they eye on the road season. I didn't want to risk my career. Especially the steep drops were dangerous. When riding the course, I felt good on my bike and in the end it couldn't spoil the fun for me," Boom said.

  • Nys will end career at Landbouwkrediet

    Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) rolls across the finish line in second place.
    Article published:
    December 27, 2010, 19:57
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Set to retire in March 2014

    Belgian cyclo-cross champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) will end his impressive career at the Landbouwkrediet team, after extending his contract until March 2014.

    Right before the start of the sixth round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross in Diegem the news was released that Nys extended his contract with Landbouwkrediet. Luc Versele, CEO of the Belgian bank company, said the negotiations between Landbouwkrediet and the 34-year-old Belgian cyclo-cross legend were completed on Monday afternoon. “We're very pleased that Sven will end his career in our team,” Verseele told VT4.

    Nys himself was pleased that these were his last contract negotiations as a rider. “The respect from the team allows me to go on and ride for such a long time. I can end my career with them on March 2014. It's still a long time but I'm glad it's behind me now. Now I can conclude my career in a calm way,” Nys told VT4 right before starting his race. Nys has been riding for Landbouwkrediet since 2008.