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Cyclo-cross News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, September 18, 2010

Date published:
September 18, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Mourey, Page to start season in Seattle

    French champion Francis Mourey is scheduled to compete at the 2010 CrossVegas.
    Article published:
    September 07, 2010, 20:48 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cyclo-cross season kicks off on US soil

    The UCI cyclo-cross scene will have its first races of the season on US soil, with several European professionals choosing to take part in Seattle's StarCrossed and Rad Racing Gran Prix on September 18-19.

    While the first race of the year will be in Pennsylvania where the Nittany Lion 'Cross takes place on September 11, the first large international field is shaping up for the pair of races the following week in Washington state.

    French national champion Francis Mourey (Française Des Jeux), US champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike), Canadian champion Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), and Czech champion Katerina Nash (Luna) will be among the top riders to take on the events.

    Also included will be Jonathan Page (Planet Bike), last year's StarCrossed winner Christian Heule, Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant).

    The women's side will have an equally impressive line up with Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru), Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy) and Wendy Simms (Kona).

    The races are also part of the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy series, and will kick off on September 16th with a screening of Brian Vernor's new film "The Cyclocross Meeting" about the currently exploding US cyclo-cross scene and the emerging Japanese cyclo-cross scene. The premiere will take place at the Seattle Musical Theater located at the Magnuson Park Community Center in Seattle. Tickets will be available online and Brown Paper Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/125551

    On September 17th Page will help conduct a free clinic along with Herriott Sports Performance, in conjunction with Lake Washington Velo and RAD Racing NW. Page will preview the StarCrossed course with the riders in attendance and go over the nuances of the race start and the barrier section as well as give his personal insight on the other sections of the course. The clinic starts at 5:30 pm at the Marymoor Velodrome in King County's Marymoor...

  • 56 UCI cyclo-cross races for North America

    Luke Keough nabs a close victory in a final-straight sprint to open his season on a high note.
    Article published:
    September 14, 2010, 21:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Regional US series announced

    For the first time in history, the UCI cyclo-cross season began in the United States as the Nittany Lion Cross kicked off the calendar on September 11 at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania.

    The event was the first in a record 56 events in North America for the 'cross season. It was also the first race in the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar, which includes all US international races. The US calendar boasts eight UCI category-one events and 45 category-two competitions, giving the United States more internationally-sanctioned cyclo-cross races than any other nation. Belgium has the second highest number with 32 events.

    The season continues on the west coast the this weekend with Star Crossed Cyclo-cross in Redmond, Washington, on September 18 and will close on January 15 with the brand new Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup in Kingsport, Tennessee.

    In addition to the Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup, four other events are new to the calendar this season, including the Nor’easter CX at Loon Mountain on September 25 in Lincoln, New Hampshire, the Ellison Park Cyclocross in Rochester, New York on September 26, and days one and two of Krosstober-fest Weekend in San Dimas, California, October 2-3. 

    Many of the UCI races are part of either the national US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross, North American Cyclo-cross Trophy series or one of the many regional series.

    North American UCI Cyclo-cross 2010-2011 calendar:

    September 9, 2010 - Nittany Lion Cross, Breinigsville, PA (Lehigh Valley Velodrome) (C2) ME/WE
    September 18, 2010 - Star Crossed Cyclo-cross (NACT), Redmond (C2) ME/WE
    September 19, 2010 - Rad Racing Gran Prix (NACT), Lakewood, Washington (C2) ME/WE
    September 18, 2010 - Charm City Cross, Baltimore (C2) ME/WE
    September 19, 2010 - Charm City Cross, Baltimore (C2) ME/WE
    September 18, 2010 - Schoolhouse Cyclo-cross, Williston, Vermont (C2)...

  • Cross Vegas could move to February in 2012

    Katie Compton, 2009 CrossVegas woman's champion, will return in 2010 to seek her third victory.
    Article published:
    September 14, 2010, 21:59 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Season opener is likely to be the grand finale

    Organizers of CrossVegas will likely move the marquee cyclo-cross event from its traditional September spot on the UCI calendar to a later spot in February of 2012. Discussion regarding the date change began when the industry trade show Interbike announced it would move from its current Las Vegas, Nevada venue and late September calendar position to Anaheim, California and an August 1time slot for 2011.

    "If CrossVegas does move to that slot [in February], it opens up opportunities for winter getaways for most of us who live in colder climates," said event promoter Brook Watts. "There are fantastic flight and hotel packages at that time, so it might be a great opportunity for 'cross fans who have not been able to see the race in September to take part in the spectacle. At that time of year, with milder temperatures, CrossVegas could become a mid-day event and through live TV reach the "prime time" audience in Europe.

    "We are talking with various parties in the US and internationally about an end of the international season blow out in Las Vegas that combines social aspects with a race on the CrossVegas course," he said. "I compare CrossVegas to the ProBowl of NFL football that took place after the Superbowl and was largely a made-for-TV event with season-ending social activities for athletes and spouses or partners."

    In its fourth anniversary, CrossVegas has traditionally kicked off Interbike in mid-September. It is highlighted as one of the most attractive cyclo-cross events on the North American calendar often hosting many of the European professionals. Some speculate that the event might lose some of its fan base if it is not held in conjunction with industry trade show, however, Watts believes otherwise.

    "I think if a move like this does take place, it simply changes the tone of the race," Watts said. "We've seen the spectators at CrossVegas grow from a largely "Interbike-centric" crowd to a great balance of Interbike attendees...

  • Cyclo-cross rider Berden suffers hit-and-run accident in training

    Belgium's Ben Berden shoulders his bike.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2010, 20:22 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    First race questionable due to concussion

    Belgian cyclo-cross racer Ben Berden is questionable for the cyclo-cross race in Erpe-Mere, Belgium, this weekend after having been hit by a car while training. He suffered a concussion which may keep him out of his first race of the season.

    The 34-year-old was out training Tuesday morning when suddenly a car appeared out of nowhere “and knocked my socks off. The person behind the wheel didn't stop, though. He kept on driving,” Berden told the Gazet van Antwerpen.

    “I came down heavily on my knee and head. Meanwhile I know I have a concussion,” said the Qin Cycling team rider.

    “I hope that I won't have to miss racing this weekend, since it is the start of the professional 'cross season,” he said. “I have a good summer behind me that I hoped to show.”

  • Stybar ready for new European cyclo-cross season

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    Article published:
    September 16, 2010, 17:29 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Czech world champion leads the Telenet-Fidea team

    It may still be sunny and warm at the Vuelta a España, and the European road race season does not end for another month, but the European cyclo-cross season begins this weekend with the Steenbergcross race in Erpe Mere.

    On Thursday the Telenet-Fideas team held its official presentation at the new headquarters of bike sponsor Ridley in Belgium and again hopes to dominate the off-road season with world champion Zdenek Stybar, veteran Bart Wellens and emerging talents Kevin Pauwels and Tom Meeusen.

    Stybar won the world title at home in the Czech Republic at the end of January and dominated the World Cup and Superprestige series. He and the rest of the Telenet-Fidea team has been training at altitude in St. Moritz and road racing in the Tour of Slovakia, but are now ready to get their tyres dirty and kick off the season.

    Stybar wore a subtly rainbow striped-tie during the team presentation but claimed he does not feel under pressure to repeat his amazingly successful season.

    "The rainbow always brings some pressure with it, but I'm expecting that and I'm trying to use it to give myself extra motivation this season to win," he told Cyclingnews.

    "The goals have been set very high after last year. I don’t want a worse season than last year but it will be almost impossible, so I will try to do as well as I can. I want to honour the rainbow jersey."

    "I'm going to try and be up there at the start of the season but I don’t want to be in absolutely top shape just yet. Despite what everybody thinks, the cyclo-cross season last six months and if you are too good in the beginning now, you won’t have the power in January and February when it really matters."

    "I think we've got a good basic condition now we'll work on our competition rhythm in the early races. Training in St. Moritz and then racing in Slovakia was good."

    Stybar will be 25 in December and is leading a new generation...

  • Nys knows the challengers this winter

    'Cross king Sven Nys is ready for a tough season.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2010, 2:22 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian 'cross legend states season's aims

    With the new cyclocross season looming, one of the discipline's champions, Belgian master Sven Nys, has made it clear he's up for any challenge this winter as the young guns of the sport look to dethrone the man many fans consider the king of 'cross.

    "My duels against [Zdenek] Stybar and [Niels] Albert are my new challenge," Nys said in a press statement ahead of the season start. "In previous years it was big news when I didn't win; now it's big news when I can beat those two. My ambition to be the best is still there."

    Over the last two seasons the aforementioned pair of 24-year-olds has encroached on the territory hitherto occupied by Nys as the dominant force in 'cross; Albert won the 2009 world championship and earlier this year took second overall in both the World Cup and Superprestige series.

    Rising Czech star Stybar won the World Cup series and world championship race on home turf in Tábor earlier this year and there's every chance he'll continue on his winning ways after some strong performances on the road at the Tour of Slovakia last month that included a win in the prologue.

    But Nys is a seasoned campaigner and knows that aside from these two, the ranks of the young contenders is not deep; therefore he's not ruling himself out as a winner in 2010/11 - far from it, in fact. He's backing himself for both the World Cup and Superprestige series.

    "I can't see any new names at the same level," he said. "Well, I know that Tom Meeusen will be getting closer to the top level; and I also know that [Kevin] Pauwels, [Klaas] Vantornout, [Sven] Vanthourenhout and [Bart] Wellens will win the occasional race, but they won't dominate a whole season," said Nys.

    "Trying to win each classification suits my ambition, continued the 34-year-old. "I know better than anyone else that there are two guys that are very hard to beat if they are going well [Stybar and Albert]. But last year, I was still up alongside those...

  • Johnson steps away from pro road racing

    Timothy Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) wins the 2009 elite men's national 'cross championship.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2010, 2:57 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    US champ turns attention to 'cross Worlds in 2013

    Tim Johnson will not renew his professional road contract with UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis team and will step away from professional road racing after a decade-long career. The US National Cyclo-cross Champion intends to use the next three years to prepare for a podium performance at the UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships scheduled to take place in Louisville, Kentucky in 2013.

    "I'm going to be focusing on 'cross and I'm taking what we do with our Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team and expanding our schedule this year," Johnson told Cyclingnews. "I won't be racing on the road with UnitedHealthcare next year. I had an offer but after weighing it with so many new opportunities with 'cross, the timing of how things are going towards Worlds and with agreed support of my sponsors, both current and future, I can actually pull it off.

    "Personally and for the team, I want us to raise our game in the next three years," Johnson continued. "In the US, Jonathan Page forged a path that was impressive. Now that the sport has grown in the US so much. I want to be able to go top three in the Worlds in three years and to do that I need to focus more on cyclo-cross. I think it is possible and something that I really want to do."

    Johnson was the captain of UnitedHealthcare and played an integral part of the squad's development during the previous five years with Momentum Sports Group, LLC's former teams HealthNet 2006-08 and OUCH in 2009. During the opposing Fall-Winter season, he competes in a full-time cyclo-cross calendar with Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com.

    "I've always been so conflicted spending my spring and summer racing on the road and then switching over to cross," Johnson said. "Now I will be able to represent my cyclo-cross sponsors and the sport for the whole year around. It is exciting but it was a tough thing to make that final decision because I've been a professional road racer for ten years and that's been a big part of...

  • Cyclo-cross Trophy series kicks off at StarCrossed

    The champion celebrates his win
    Article published:
    September 18, 2010, 22:08 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Best six or eight rounds will determine NACT champions

    The third edition of the North American Cyclocross Trophy (NACT) series will kick off with the first two rounds at StarCrossed and Rad Racing this weekend in Seattle, Washington.

    The overall contenders will compete in eight UCI-sanctioned races, but new rules for the 2010 season will see riders top six placings tallied toward the overall series standings and a chance to wear the championship heavyweight belt.

    "The goal from the beginning has been to link the classic ‘cross races in North America, I think we've done that with great races from coast to coast," said NACT Director Brook Watts. "As some newer races have begun to attain that status over the last few years we may need to add new markets and venues, especially if we see a post-Christmas ‘cross fever take hold in the US.

    "We're interested in a slow, gradual growth that maintains a high level of integrity. The NACT trophy will retain the distinctive heavyweight belts, they've become an iconic image of the NACT final podium."

    The changes to the rules were made to help riders buffer themselves from bad weekends and to award the most consistent finisher.

    "We want each race to benefit from the best field of competitors possible, especially for the spectators sake." Watts said. "Everyone has an off day or weekend because of whether and illness, injury or a mechanical so we felt the fields may have suffered from riders who couldn't attend every weekend. This may have been the case in the women's field in particular. By giving everyone an option to drop the worst performances you don't penalize them for that off day or the ill-timed mechanical."

    Last year’s series winners were Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy) who will both return to defend their respective titles.

    The NACT series will also offer equal prize money across the elite women and men’s categories. "The series...