- Article published:
- September 21, 2010, 02:19
- Kirsten Frattini
Top ten contenders return for 2010 calendar
The USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar (CXNC) is approaching its first C1 event - CrossVegas - on Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. The twilight race will showcase many of the nation's top ten 'cross contenders, including last year's overall series winner Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com).
"It was awesome to go for the series but I don't think anyone starts out by saying they are going to target it," said Powers. "It is something people start to think about once the season gets underway. Last year I had a chance to do a couple of races that the other guys didn't. It shows consistency throughout the season from September all the way through December."
The CXNC's 53-round series kicked off at the Nittany Lion Cross in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, on September 11 and will conclude at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships in Bend, Oregon, on December 12. Cyclingnews looks at the top ten riders from last year's standings who are scheduled to contest many of the series' races across the country.
The Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com trio swept the top three positions in last year's series overall standings. The title went to Jeremy Powers, followed by US national champion and the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) series winner Tim Johnson and Jamey Driscoll. Johnson had a good start to the season, winning back-to-back Green Mountain Cyclo-cross events in Vermont last weekend. Driscoll won Cross Vegas last year and all three New England natives are expected to deliver another strong showing on Wednesday.
"It would be great to win CrossVegas again but I haven't been training specifically for that," explained Driscoll. "It was such a good opportunity for me to win but this time I won't be an underdog or be able to slip away like I did last year. I'm not going into it expecting to win again because there are going to be a lot of fast European guys there. Our team is going to race as hard as we possibly can to get somebody a win there."
Ryan Trebon (KONA-FSA) is 6'5" and known as one his team's 'Twin Towers'. He landed in fourth place in the rankings last season and no doubt plans to spoil the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com parade by moving into a top three position this year.
He represents the west coast, coming from Bend, Oregon, and is a former national champion and the current US Grand Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP) title holder. He recently placed second in the first round of the NACT series, StarCrossed, in Washington. His favourite CXNC series event is Granogue Cross in Delaware.
"Not only is it where I had my first real break out race but it's one of the most scenic venues, one of the hardest, most physically and technical courses we race in the USA all year," said Trebon. "The race promoter Tom McDaniel does a great job and I am very grateful that the Dupont family [owners of the Dupont Estate grounds] lets us ruin their grass every year."
After placing fifth last year, Dan Timmerman will not be participating in cyclo-cross this year but the man who took sixth, Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), will be one of the riders to look out for. Jones hails from the east coast but recently moved to Auburn, California, a city that has proclaimed itself as the endurance capital of the world. Time will tell if Jones can live up to his city's expectations during this year's lengthy national calendar of events.
Also a former national champion, Todd Wells (Specialized) ranked seventh place on the national calendar last year and is a one of the most talented cyclo-cross racers in the country. He spends most of his season competing on the international mountain bike circuit and typically gets a late but strong start to the 'cross season.
"I have a very hectic mountain bike season with lots of international travel and I need a break after that before I can really focus again on cross," Wells said. "That works out perfect for having good form later in the season."
Slotting into eighth place was Italian Davide Frattini (Hudz-Subaru), who is best known for winning the Girobio, or 'Baby giro' on the road. He migrated Stateside six years ago to compete in full-time road racing. He's also a member of the Italian national cyclo-cross team and is one of several foreigners to early jump start to the 'cross season in the US. He recently won back-to-back Charm City Cross races in Maryland last weekend.
"Well, I'm not American so I can't do US nationals but I will do my best to get as many points as possible in the races that I will attend this year," said Frattini. "If I have to choose one weekend to do well in it would be at the Boulder Cup races because that is where my new team is from."
New Hampshire native Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) was number nine and arguably the most prized cyclo-cross talent in the US. He is a three-time US national champion and was the first American man to stand on the podium at the UCI Elite Cyclo-cross World Championships, capturing a silver medal in 2007. Page now competes in a full European cyclo-cross schedule and resides in Oudenaarde, Belgium, with his family.
Barry Wicks (KONA-FSA) stands at 6'4" and is known as his team's other 'Twin Tower' and is a former USGP series winner. He rounded out the top 10 in the CXNC series despite taking on a more reduced schedule. Although it's not part of the national series, his favourite race is the Alpenrose Bike Challenge.
"My favourite 'cross race of all time is the Alpenrose in Portland," said Wicks. "It's where I did my first ever 'cross race and has been the site of Super Cup races, USGP events and countless Cross Crusade races.
The venue is very small and intimate. It almost always incorporates the legendary and fearsome 43 degree banked Alpenrose Velodrome and it is usually muddy as hell. All those things, combined with massive numbers of spectators, lots of beer and waffles and cut throat racing makes it my all time favourite cyclo-cross race."
- Article published:
- September 21, 2010, 18:45
- Cycling News
Top Belgians face off in Fidea Grand Prix
The second cyclo-cross race on the Belgian calendar will see most of the sport's top names assemble in Neerpelt for the Fidea Grand Prix, but last year's winner and 2009 World Champion Niels Albert is still "only at 90%" after falling ill last week. Albert missed the opening round last weekend in Erpe-Mere due to gastroenteritis.
Last week's winner, Sven Nys, will be back for the first race of the season to be broadcast live on television. "It's a very technical 'cross race, so if you win here you're set for the rest of the season."
Klaas Vantornout will be looking for a better result than in Erpe-Mere, where he crashed out of contention, but is still feeling good about his efforts last week. "I unfortunately had a little bad luck, but I can feel good about it. The course was pretty heavy, and so it was best to wait until the final sprint. Many others clearly were going deeper than me. With just over two laps to go I accelerated and got a nice gap right away. I felt really good."
Also on the start list are last week's podium finishers Kevin Pauwels and Bart Aernouts, as well as Bart Wellens, Radomir Simunek, Tom Meeusen, Sven Vanthourenhout, Dieter Vanthourenhout, Thijs Al, Enrico Franzoi and Philipp Walsleben.
World Champion Zdenek Stybar will not make his debut in Belgium until next month.
The full list of participants and more information on the Grand Prix Fidea Neerpelt on www.fideacyclocrossclassics.be.
- Article published:
- September 23, 2010, 10:42
- Cycling News
Knee injury forces Belgian out of racing for at least one month
Niels Albert will miss at least the first month of the cyclo-cross season due to a knee injury. He twisted the knee in training last week and a hospital has now confirmed the injury, which he calls “a disaster”.
Albert, 24, missed the season-opening first race last weekend due to gastroenteritis. He had twisted his knee last Wednesday, but thought he could still ride, until the illness struck.
When he resumed training on Tuesday, he was unable to put any pressure on the knee. He had the knee check in hospital on Wednesday, and “they discovered a crack in the connection of the kneecap and muscle,” he told Sporza.
The BKCP Power Plus rider may not ride for two weeks and not race for a month, and will therefore miss the opening races of the Superprestige series, the Gazet Trophy series and the World Cup. “If I'm really unlucky I won't be back until November,” he said.
“My preparation for the season is for nothing,” he continued. “You have to see it this way: a two-week break means four weeks of training, three-week break means six weeks' training. I hope to keep it to two weeks, we'll see.”
The injury has already pretty much put an end to his ambitions for the season. “The rankings for the regular races are gone,” Albert noted. He will definitely miss the first Gazet Trophy and Superprestige race. The first World Cup race is in Aigle on October 17. “If I'm lucky I can ride it, but I will have to struggle to get a top 20 finish.”
"It's the first time I did something to my knee. For me, the fans, the team and the 'cross world, it is a disaster. If a winner fails, that's no fun for anyone," said Albert, who won the world title in winter 2009.
- Article published:
- September 24, 2010, 11:05
- Cycling News
Rabobank rider to use races as training for road
Lars Boom is returning to his roots and will ride at least six cyclo-cross races this season. The Rabobank rider isn't turning his back on road racing, but rather using the 'cross races as preparation for the coming season.
Last year Boom rode two 'cross races, and this year plans to ride six, starting in early December.
"I want to try a slightly better winter training," Boom told the Belga news agency. "If I ride more races, I might get a better rhythm.”
He was not sure whether he would ride the national 'cross championships, but said he would definitely not ride in the 'cross Worlds. “That doesn't fit in my programme.”
Boom, 24, is on his way to the world road championships in Melbourne. He started off the year by winning the Dutch national 'cross title and on the road he won the first stage at Paris-Nice.
Over the years, Boom has won world titles in 'cross as an elite, U23 and Junior. He has won the national elite title every year since 2007. In 2008 he won not only the world 'cross title but also the national titles in 'cross, road race and time trial. He was also U23 time trial champion in 2007.
- Article published:
- September 24, 2010, 22:08
- Laura Weislo
Knee injury kept US champion out of CrossVegas
US national cyclo-cross champion Katie Compton will most likely start her season this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin at the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross opener. A still-healing knee injury forced her to miss out on a planned start at CrossVegas this week.
While the final decision on whether or not to race will be made Saturday morning, Compton is hopeful to make the start and use the race to see if the injury she sustained in a crash during the team relay at the mountain bike world championships has healed sufficiently.
"It was hard not to be able to race the kick-off race, but the knee is healing," Compton told Cyclingnews during Interbike. "I'll race one race in Madison and see how the knee feels for the second race."
Compton crashed on a rocky section of the Mont-Sainte-Anne course and suffered a torn bursa and bone bruise in the fall on September 1, ending her most successful mountain bike season to date on a disappointing note. After a win in the US short track championship and a fourth place in the Val di Sole World Cup, the crash forced her out of the cross country race at Worlds.
While more mountain bike racing may be in her future with an eye on the 2012 Olympic Games, cyclo-cross will remain her focus and she is determined to win the world championship which has so far eluded her.
Toward that goal, Compton will be limiting her travel back and forth to Europe in order to avoid the fatigue which ruined her drive toward last season's Worlds. "I'll do five of the seven World Cups, along with the US races - the Madison USGP, the races in Ohio, Fort Collins and Nationals.
"I need to get enough UCI points to get a good position at Worlds, but I need to balance that with avoiding getting run down by the travel."
Her first World Cup will be in Aigle, Switzerland on October 17, after which she will immediately depart for home and remain there until the end of November for the Koksijde World Cup. "There's another World Cup in the Czech Republic, but it was logistically too much to get there. After the Koksijde World Cup it's back for Nationals, then we'll be back in Belgium in December for my pseudo-hometown race in Kalmthout, Zolder, Hoogerheide and then Worlds in St. Wendel, Germany."
Compton's talent is obvious - with six World Cup victories, a silver at 'cross Worlds in 2007 and bronze in 2009 and six national titles - but she has struggled against a myriad of health problems which have prevented her from performing consistently overseas.
"I've been dealing with low thyroid function all season, and am just starting to feel better," she said. "I started having issues last November, and I pretty much cracked and by the time Worlds came around I just didn't feel good. I discovered the thyroid issues and in June I saw an endocrinologist and got some medicine to take, but it takes a while to see an effect, so I'm trying to be patient.
"I think everything will get better from here. It's frustrating. I'm just good enough to keep at it, I get good results - but if I could take out all the health conditions and just be able to train and race and feel good it would be a lot different.
"I don't like making excuses - I just want to come into racing feeling good. I miss those days of feeling strong."
Travel fatigue has always been an issue for US riders who try to balance a domestic circuit with the importance of gaining the huge number of UCI points available at the European World Cups. While that series has yet to make it to US soil, and is unlikely to do so anytime soon due to the costs involved, Compton is looking forward to 2013 when the world championships will be held in Louisville, Kentucky.
"I would love to key up to have a great race there, and I really like Louisville, it's a great part of the country. It's such a huge thing for us. The Europeans will finally get to experience what we've had to deal with all these years!"
- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 21:25
- Kirsten Frattini
18-year-old made debut at Planet Bike Cup
Kaitlin Antonneau is the newest addition to the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com squad and the first female competitor to ride under the banner since former Canadian champion Lyne Bessette three years ago.
The 18-year-old cycling talent hopes that joining teammates Tim Johnson, the reigning US national cyclo-cross champion and current US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP) leader, along with Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll will help develop her full 'cross potential in the season to come.
"It's the best team in the country and I felt extremely honored that they were interested in me," Antonneau told Cyclingnews. "I met them last year in Toronto and then during the spring I received an email from Tim Johnson. I think they want to offer me the chance to develop to my fullest potential. All three of them are willing to answer any of my questions and help me out in any way possible."
Antonneau turned heads when she placed on the podium at the International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned Toronto International Cyclo-cross last year, an event that was part of the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) series.
"She goes to school full time and races collegiate 'cross, road and track," Johnson said. "It will be great for her to join us at a few races during the 'cross season. I've seen her at some of the races last year and she's young, really excited, has great skills and we are looking forward to having her race with us this year."
Antonneau is currently a freshman at Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana. Last weekend she competed in the USA Cycling Collegiate Track Championships where she won the points race and was a valuable member of the winning team pursuit squad.
In the same weekend, Antonneau switched from track racing to cyclo-cross and competed in the USGP series' second round held at the Planet Bike Cup in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin where she placed 12th in the elite women's event.
"It was a difficult transition and I came into the race pretty tired from racing on the track for three days which was really hard," Antonneau said. "But I was just so excited to get out there on the 'cross bike and race!"
Antonneau is the first women to compete for the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com team since Johnson's wife Lyne Bessette, a renowned Canadian road and cyclo-cross racer, retired in 2007.
"I really respect her and all she has accomplished," Antonneau said. "I think it's a great honor to follow in her foot steps."
- Article published:
- October 3, 2010, 21:07
- Brecht Decaluwé
Belgian affected by hot conditions
Like he did last year, cyclo-cross legend Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) got his cyclo-cross season off to a rough start. A year ago, Nys coped badly with heat during the first World Cup race in Treviso, Italy, where he withdrew from the race and had to give up his hopes for the overall World Cup classification. During the first round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy in Namur, Belgium, on Sunday afternoon, the 34-year-old Belgian champion struggled in similar warm weather conditions and once again abandoned the race.
Nys missed his start on the slopes of the massive citadel in Namur. The Belgian champion came out of his pedal and ended up riding half a minute behind leaders and in a position just outside the top 15. During the following lap, Nys made up a few seconds, but from then on, he only went backward in the peloton. When trailing the leaders by almost two minutes, Nys withdrew.
"This was my Treviso from 2010. It was completely the same story," said Nys to sport.be. "Due to the heat, I had to battle my own body. I was feeling nauseous before the start and that feeling didn't go away during the race.
"Right from the start, I was feeling like I was sitting in my camper van. I was sweating like a mad man. I lacked power and had a complete off-day," said Nys to Sporza.
"I'm not worried now because it was so extremely bad. The previous races showed that basically I'm good. I need to take time to recover and hope that next week's race in Ruddervoorde won't be too warm. The start there is at 5:00 pm, and I don't mind that at all," said Nys, looking forward to the upcoming races although he realized his chances at the GvA-Trophy overall were done.
"Winning this classification is impossible. I have to put it out of my mind and try to make the best of each individual race in this competition. What happened today shows how consistent you have to be to win a competition like this," Nys told sport.be, possibly referring to his seven overall wins in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy in the past.
- Article published:
- October 3, 2010, 21:45
- Brecht Decaluwé
Belgian earns third despite flats
During the first round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy cyclo-cross in Namur, Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) was racing in the lead group together with world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) until halfway through the race. That's when his luck ran out.
The timid Belgian had overcome a first flat tyre earlier in the race, but it cost him. "Just before the pit, I hit my rim, but I was unsure whether I just hit a root or whether I had a flat tyre," said Pauwels to Cyclingnews.
"I decided not to enter the pit, but once I rode past the pit, I quickly realized that I had flatted. I thought about running back to the pit, but that would've probably cost me even more time. I think I lost half a minute during that lap."
"Still I returned to contest the race, getting within about five seconds of the leaders although I started to struggle. Then when Klaas [Vantornout] accelerated, it was over for me. I'm satisfied with third place."
Pauwels' teammate Zdenek Stybar went on to win the race, and thanks Pauwels' own third place, the Telenet-Fidea team sported two riders on the podium at the citadel in Namur.