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Cyclo-cross News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, December 11, 2010

Date published:
December 11, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Suspension of US cyclo-cross series is a warning

    Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing) wins day two of the NECCS series in Vermont.
    Article published:
    December 04, 2010, 10:22 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    UCI demands quality, not quantity from US races

    Recently the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy Series (NACT) and the Verge New England Championships Cyclo-cross Series (NECCS) were facing suspension for not applying for a UCI inscription (Art1.2.026). While the two series were to be banned, the individual races were allowed to continue as UCI events. The NECCS bounced back from the sad news with the publication of the 2011-2012 calendar and the desire to have eight of these races grouped into a UCI-sanctioned series.

    Both NACT organiser Brooke Watts and NECCS organiser Adam Myerson claimed they were unaware that the never-before enforced UCI rule would suddenly be applied. However, Peter Van den Abeele, the UCI's Off-Road Manager, told Cyclingnews on Friday that all US series received a warning last summer.

    “We sent two pages with calendar stipulations, procedures and guidelines for the upcoming season. In that document the rule was written down. I can't imagine that the race organisers figured: 'hey, there's a document from the UCI but I'm not going to read it.' The NACT and the NECCS didn't react. That was the first warning and this is a major warning. According to the rule, the individual races would lose their UCI status too but we didn't want to go that far,” Van den Abeele said.

    For Van den Abeele, NECCS organiser Myerson’s reaction seems somewhat strange as he feels that he should have been aware of the rule. “I never had a problem with Adam Myerson when he was member of the UCI cyclo-cross commission. He was there when we discussed calendar topics and already at his time the Series topic was mentioned. The organisers from the USGP contacted us right away to ask about the rule. They have the right attitude and it's no surprise the same people are organizing the world championships in 2013,” Van den Abeele said.

    Van den Abeele also said that the claim that this UCI rule has not been...

  • Spanish air strike could ground Sven Nys

    Belgian champion Sven Nys defended his lead in the Superprestige Series.
    Article published:
    December 04, 2010, 13:34 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Riders struggling to get to Igorre for World Cup

    Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) is among the riders who risks missing out on Sunday’s fourth round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Igorre, Spain as a result of an air controllers’ strike in the country. The Belgian has been training on Majorca this week ahead of Sunday’s race.

    “Sven’s plane was supposed to take off at midday on Saturday,” Nys’s wife Isabelle told Sporza. “That flight has been delayed until 8pm, but it’s not certain if that will go ahead. Otherwise, his last chance would be a Sunday morning flight.”

    Spanish air traffic controllers went on strike on Friday evening to protest against increases in working hours and austerity measures passed by the government on Friday. The Spanish government has since declared a state of alert, meaning that air traffic controllers who refuse to work can be charged with civil disobedience.

    Nys is thus reliant on the dispute reaching a speedy resolution, although it is anticipated that the disruption will last until at least Sunday morning. He has already ruled out the possibility of travelling to Igorre by car and ferry.

    “Sven was thinking about going to Igorre by boat and road, but he has abandoned that plan,” Isabelle Nys explained.

    Klaas Vantornat (Sunweb) also risks missing the race as he is currently unable to fly from Belgium to Spain as a result of the industrial action.

    The Telenet-Fidea team, meanwhile, has opted to take to the roads to get to Igorre. Bart Wellens, Rob Peeters and Kevin Pauwels were training in southern Spain this week, and the trio are to spend much of Saturday making the nine-hour drive north to the Basque Country with team manager Danny De Bie. Similarly, BKCP’s Niels Albert and Dieter Vanthourenhout are driving the 650km from their training base of Benicassim to Igorre.

    World champion Zdenek Stybar was already set to miss the race through injury but he...

  • Vanspeybrouck best of 'Boonen & friends' charity race

    Pieter Vanspeybroucke (Topsport Vlaanderen) won the Boonen & Friends charity race.
    Article published:
    December 04, 2010, 20:33 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Boonen, De Jongh, Museeuw, Boogerd and Vervecken support Move to Improve

    Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen) won the second edition of the charity cyclo-cross event 'Boonen&Friends' around the Silver Lake in Mol, Belgium.

    The 'Boonen&Friends' cyclo-cross race collects money for the project 'Move to Improve' which supports people with physical disabilities caused by brain damage. Last year they raised 40,000 Euros at the event.

    The extreme cold of the last week turned the course into a toboggan-run but that didn't keep the riders from racing. Last year's winner Maarten Wynants (Quick Step) finished second ahead of Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step). The all-star race was won by triple cyclo-cross world champion Erwin Vervecken.

    The Belgian won ahead of Dutch former professional and Sky directeur sportif Steven de Jongh and former CSC-Tiscali rider Koen Beeckman.

    Tom Boonen, who has been training for the start of the 2011 season after a year wrecked by injury, started with a bang. He led the field from the start but quickly noticed the course was rather slippery and dropped back. After a flat tyre for last year's winner Wynants, the road to victory was paved for Vanspeybrouck. The latter is a former junior Belgian cyclo-cross champion.

    Vervecken had to work hard for his victory in the all-stars race which was held just before the pro's race. De Jongh fired away after the start and for a long time it seemed he would win the race of retired cyclists. “Everybody expected me to win because I retired only recently.

    When De Jongh created a gap right after the start I didn't think I would be able to close it down. I died twice during the race but in the end I managed to catch him,” Vervecken told

    Big names like Michael Boogerd, Johan Museeuw, Eric Vanderaerden, Tom Steels and motorcross star Stefan Everts felt far less comfortable on the frozen course and finished at long distance from winner Vervecken.

    Museeuw had a severe crash....

  • Nys takes private plane to Igorre World Cup race

    Belgian champion Sven Nys defended his lead in the Superprestige Series.
    Article published:
    December 05, 2010, 11:09 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian flies on Sunday morning

    Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) was due to arrive in Igorre, Spain for the fourth round of the cyclo-cross World Cup by private plane on Sunday morning. The Belgian had been left stranded at a training camp on Majorca on Saturday after a strike by Spanish air traffic controllers.

    “Sven is taking a private plane with Gerben de Knegt, Bart Aernouts, Thijs van Amerongen and Sven Vanthourenhout on Sunday,” Nys’ wife Isabelle told Sporza. “He initially wanted to go by car and boat to Igorre, but he decided against that plan as he didn’t want to get to the start exhausted.”

    Meanwhile, Telenet-Fidea riders Kevin Pauwels, Rob Peeters and Bart Wellens have reached Igorre by car after travelling from southern Spain on Saturday. Niels Albert and Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP) have also arrived in the Basque Country after driving from Benicassim.

  • Stybar hopes to return for Christmas races

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea)
    Article published:
    December 08, 2010, 10:49 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    World cyclo-cross champion recovering from knee injury

    World cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar has been given the green light to begin training next week and hopes to be back in action just after Christmas.

    The powerful Czech rider was worried he would require surgery to resolve a knee problem that has affected him for several weeks but that has now been ruled out.

    “I'm very relieved the MRI scan has shown that I don't need surgery. However I need to build up very gradually and long endurance rides to regain fitness aren't possible yet.” he explained on his website.

    “For now I'm still looking at the end of December. With the diagnosis I received today that should be attainable. Next week I leave for Spain, perhaps Mallorca.”

    Stybar won the first two rounds of both the World Cup and the Superprestige series and looked set to again dominant the cross season. However he has struggled with the injury since mid-November and treatment failed to resolve the problem, forcing him to take time off the bike.

    He missed the recent World Cup race in Igorre, Spain and so lost the overall lead and has also slipped to third in the Superprestige series.

    Because of his injury and time out of competition, he is expected to focus on the world championships in St Wendel, Germany at the end of January.

  • Johnson set to defend US 'cross title despite illness

    Cannondale teammates Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson would race for the USGP Championship today.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 19:10 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Defending champ picks Todd Wells as dark horse to win

    Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b is optimistic about his chances of defending the stars and stripes jersey despite coming down with an illness just days prior to the start of the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships to be held on Sunday in Bend, Oregon.

    "I'm trying not to think about it too much because if you spend all your time worrying about being sick and worrying about what could happen then that takes time away from trying make it the best day you can," Johnson told Cyclingnews.

    "Being sick at any time sucks but at least it is still early in the week and I can still get some riding in. The weather has been bad with snow on the ground so it's not like everyone else is getting in tons of miles outside. I can only do what I can."

    Johnson highlighted the tough competitors that he will battle against during the elite men's 60-minute race, starting with his two teammate Jeremy Powers, who recently won overall series titles at the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP) and the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) and Jamey Driscoll, who won two events at Jingle Cross. He also picked out former national champions Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) and Todd Wells (Specialized) as a pair of favourites.

    "I have more than enough of a fight on my hands with Jeremy riding so well and Ryan and Todd being right there," Johnson said. "It's tough because we got done with a series like the USGP where you put in so much time and effort with traveling and you do everything to make it happen.

    "Then we switch over to just one day, an all-out effort for just one hour like nationals. It's so much more compressed and there is so much more at stake in a short period of time.

    "The list is really tight with Jeremy, Todd, Ryan and Jamey," he added. "But I think Todd may have been hiding a little bit of form for some reason or another and I expect that to pop out and give us a whole lot of trouble. The way that Ryan...

  • Vanthourenhout resurfaces at the front of the 'cross peloton

    Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor)
    Article published:
    December 11, 2010, 20:11 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Unrealistic goals force him out of Sunweb team

    For the first time in many years, Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) led a high-level cyclo-cross race. With only three laps to go in the fourth round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy in Essen, Belgium, on Saturday, the Belgian had a gap of 11 seconds on a high-profile chase group. Eventually Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) neutralized Vanthourenhout's attack and he ended up finishing sixth. After the race, Vanthourenhout was pleased to see he was finally getting back to a place in the 'cross peloton where he once belonged.

    "During the first laps, I had an oversupply of energy and halfway through the race, I took the initiative. Once I was leading, I went full gas and in a state of euphoria, I probably overdid it," said Vanthourenhout.

    "When they caught me, I punctured and in the last two laps, I paid for my efforts."

    Vanthourenhout, a former U23 cyclo-cross world champion, was expected to be the successor of Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet). However, the 2004-2005 season was the last one in which he which he showed such potential. That's when Vanthourenhout finished as runner-up in the general classification of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy and captured a bronze medal at the world championships in Sankt-Wendel.

    From the 2005-2006 season onward, his progress seemed to be going backwards, and Vanthourenhout failed to live up to the high expectations. After a miserable last season, Vanthourenhout is feeling the pressure to deliver results so that he can renew his contract with the Sunweb-Revor team.

    "The team wants me to obtain a certain position in the general classifications before they can guarantee a new contract," he said to Cyclingnews. "It doesn't seem realistic to me. To achieve that goal I should win a couple of rounds. I've already resigned myself to the fact that outcome isn't going to happen. That doesn't mean I'm no longer planning to show off this jersey though."


  • USA Cycling to provide live online video of elite 'cross nationals

    Katie Compton (Planet Bike) seeks a seventh straight US 'cross championship on Sunday.
    Article published:
    December 12, 2010, 20:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Live coverage happening now

    You don't have to be in Bend, Oregon on Sunday to watch reigning US 'cross champions Katie Compton and Tim Johnson battle both stacked fields and the elements in defense of their national titles.

    USA Cycling is providing  live streaming video coverage of both the elite women's and men's national cyclo-cross championships from Bend on Sunday, December 12.

    The women's race begins at 12:30pm PT followed two hours later by the men's championship at 2:30pm PT. Coverage of each event will begin approximately 10 minutes prior to their respective start times.

    Cyclingnews also has complete results, reports and photos from the entire five days of racing at the US national cyclo-cross championships.