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Cyclo-cross News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Date published:
January 19, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • USA Cycling finalizes cyclo-cross worlds team

    Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com)
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 21:37 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Johnson, Page top men's selection

    USA Cycling has completed its nominations of riders for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships with the selection of five riders for the elite men's team.

    US Champion Tim Johnson and two of his trade teammates Jeremy Powers and Jamie Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) will be joined by veteran Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) and former US champion Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) for the race which takes place in Tabor, Czech Republic on January 31.

    The men's roster completes the USA's selection of riders for 'cross worlds. The women's, U23 and Juniors were announced in December.

    Elite Men
    Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)
    Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com)
    Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA)
    Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com)
    Jamie Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com)

    Elite Women
    Katie Compton (Planet Bike)
    Amy Dombroski (Schalmm p/b Primus)
    Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry-Specialized)
    Laura Van Gilder (C3-Sollay)
    Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles)

    U23 Men
    Danny Summerhill (Garmin-Felt)
    Luke Keough
    Zach McDonald (Stevens Classic Cycle)
    Jerome Townsend (Bikereg.com-Joe’s Garage)
    Dave Hackworthy Plan C)

    Junior Men
    Cody Kaiser (California Giant Berry)
    Jeff Bahnson (Thule-Van Dessel)
    Skyler Trujillo (Black Sheep)
    Chris Wallace (KCCX-Verge)
    Matt Spinks (Young Medalists-Team Dual Temp)

  • Albert, Compton continue to lead UCI 'cross standings

    World champion Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus)
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 22:05 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Stybar closes in on injured Albert

    World champion Niels Albert and US champion Katie Compton remain atop the UCI's cyclo-cross rankings following a weekend in which most European countries held their national championships.

    Albert has led the men's standings for the entire 2009-2010 season, but a fractured rib suffered at the Belgian national championships may put his streak at the top in jeopardy.

    While the top-10 of the men's standings remained unchanged, second-placed Zdenek Stybar reduced his deficit to Albert from 150 points to 40 points based on the results of their respective national championships, the only events which took place since the previous UCI rankings were calculated.

    Albert finished ninth in the Belgian national championships, earning 10 points, while Stybar repeated as champion of the Czech Republic, earning 120 points. Stybar may move into the overall lead after this Sunday's points-rich World Cup in Roubaix, France where Albert's start is in doubt.

    Belgium continues to dominate the men's standings, placing four riders in the top-five. Sven Nys, Klaas Vantornout and Kevin Pauwels reside in third, fourth and fifth respectively.

    On the women's side, Compton continues her reign at the top of the UCI 'cross standings, a position she's held the entire 2009-2010 season. Compton has 1600 points and retains her 58-point lead over runner-up Daphny Van den Brand. Compton hasn't competed since the previous UCI rankings were released, but she added 120 points to her total from her victory in the US national championships in December. The UCI delayed the addition of points earned from national championships previous to Europe's until their championships were contested.

    Van den Brand likewise added 120 points to her total having earned her 11th Dutch title on Saturday and remains within striking distance of Compton. Van den Brand's compatriots Marianne Vos and Sanne van Paassen remain in third and fourth in the standings while Frenchwoman...

  • Vos, Van den Brand loyal in search of Dutch 'cross world title

    Vos, Van den Brand and Van Paassen are three of the best 'crossers in the world.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 13:26 GMT
    By:
    Christine Vardaros

    Country comes first in the race for the rainbow bands

    A special bond between Dutch compatriots Marianne Vos and Daphny Van den Brand may prove to be the deciding factor in the upcoming Cyclo-cross World Championships women's race.

    The battle for the rainbow bands is expected to be fought between three racers, American Katie Compton (Planet Bike) and two riders from The Netherlands, Daphny Van den Brand (ZZPR.nl-DESTIL-Merida) and current World Champion Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit).

    Ranked second and third behind Compton in both UCI and World Cup overall, the odds fall in favor of the Dutch riders due to an extraordinary bond between Van den Brand and Vos - one rarely seen at top level 'cross competition.

    Teamwork is rare in cyclo-cross, with the exception of the world-dominant Belgian men who last year joined forces to triumph over The Netherlands' Lars Boom. Yet that coalition was only achieved after the crushing defeat to Boom caused by the Belgians' internal strife.

    Van den Brand and Vos have repeatedly put their country loyalties, but more importantly their respect for and friendship with one another above their own personal designs in World Cups and World Championships.

    The bond was most recently exemplified by their teamwork in Kalmthout and Koksijde World Cups, where they worked together to hold off Compton. "Marianne and I understand each other - in the race, before the race and after the race. When we look at each other we know what to do or what not to do. And if we don't understand each other then we talk in the race," Van den Brand told Cyclingnews.

    "We also respect each other. When she is the best she can win. I have peace with that. And we're good friends. We can laugh with each other. It's fun."

    The plan for this year's World Championships is like every year for the dynamic duo. Vos said, "Just try to get in front at the start. And don't chase each other – only the other countries. Try to help each other if there's one in...

  • Dutch name Elite 'cross Worlds teams

    Lars Boom was dominant in all facets of the race today.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 4:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Boom absent from men's team, Vos and Van Den Brand lead women's squad

    The Netherlands announced the rosters for its Elite men's and women's cyclo-cross world championship teams on Tuesday. Only three men will contest the Elite championship on January 31, comprised of Gerben de Knegt, Thijs Al and Thijs van Amerongen. Lars Boom, the 2008 'cross world champion, will not compete at the world championships in Tabor, Czech Republic.

    The 24-year-old Boom intends to spend the season on the road and rode his final 'cross race of the season Sunday at the Dutch national championships, according to AFP. Boom, competing in only his second 'cross race of the season, won the Dutch national championship for the second consecutive year.

    The Netherlands will be represented by six women in the Elite world championship, led by reigning world champion Marianne Vos and newly crowned Dutch national champion Daphny Van Den Brand, who earned a record-setting 11th title on Saturday. Also on the team are national championship bronze medalist Sanne van Paassen, Linda van Rijen, Sophie de Boer and Reza Hormes.

    The U23 men's and Junior men's world championship selections for the Netherlands will be announced at a later date.

  • Johnson opts for unconventional worlds preparations

    Timothy Johnson (Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com)
    Article published:
    January 16, 2010, 21:44 GMT
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    American 'cross national champ prepares in California

    US Cyclo-cross National Champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) accepted an automatic invitation to compete with the US National Team at the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic, on January 31. Johnson is currently training in Santa Barbara, California, and hopes that the atypical, warm weather training will give him a competitive edge against his world-class competitors at the grand finale.

    "The reason why I went a different direction is because I've done the World Championships preparations a lot of other ways in the past," Johnson said. "I've gone over right after nationals, before Christmas, after Christmas. I've got a little bit of background to look at in order to see what works for me. Hopefully this is the one that works well."

    Johnson sported his new stars and stripes skinsuit for the first time since he won the championship event at the Surf City Cyclo-cross held in Santa Cruz last weekend, where he took a convincing win. Some might wonder how well sunny California will prepare him for what could be one of the coldest and iciest World Championships.

    "I don't think that I would want to do it any other way and so far, it's been great," Johnson said. "I can train my legs and my head well here, and it's easy to train here."

    Johnson won his third title at the US National Cyclo-Cross Championships held in Bend, Oregon, in mid-December. He claimed his previous wins in Kansas City in 2000 and 2007. The New Englander has competed at the World Championships on seven occasion and he is best known for capturing a bronze medal at the Under 23 World Championships in Poprad in 1999.

    Following nationals, he turned his full attention to specific training for the World Championships. However, he will only compete against his competitors once before the big day at the final World Cup in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands.

    "I can put a lot of effort into it and get something out of my training...

  • Stellar day for Nash in Roubaix

    Czech's Katerina Nash (Luna) on her way to a win.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2010, 22:16 GMT
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Czech racer logs a win two weeks before worlds in Tabor

    The UCI World Cup cyclo-cross win from Luna's Katerina Nash on an extremely challenging, muddy course around the famous vélodrome of Roubaix in the cyclo-cross came as a major surprise to many on Sunday although Nash has already proven she can compete with the best in cyclo-cross with a top three last season in Pijnacker.

    The Czech racer has spent a majority of her competitive years in the US, where she has won the USGP Cyclo-cross series and countless mountain bike races. The race in Roubaix was only the second 'cross World Cup round of the season for Nash. She claimed a fifth place in Nommay at the World Cup stop in November.

    "I knew that on a good day I was capable of finishing on the podium in the World Cup," Nash said to Cyclingnews. The California-based racer flew over to Europe last week for only the second time this cyclo-cross season. It was a worthwhile trip since as she won the Czech cyclo-cross championships.

    The Czech champion opted not to ride in every cyclo-cross World Cup of the season, even though she said she'd been fully focusing on the discipline.

    "I'm riding with a US-based team, and this is just the way I build up my season. I'm riding the next World Cup mainly to gather World Cup points and improve my start position at the World Championships," said Nash. "I'm really motivated to perform well there, as I'll be riding on home soil [in Tabor]."

    "Afterwards, I'll be back on the mountain bike which is my main discipline, but rest assured that cyclo-cross has my full focus, whereas a few years ago I didn't consider it that...

  • Compton absent from Roubaix World Cup start line

    Katie Compton (Planet Bike)
    Article published:
    January 17, 2010, 23:04 GMT
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé and Laura Weislo

    American sidelined after leg cramps return

    A few hours before the Roubaix round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, supporters in the camp of Katie Compton (Planet Bike) were still hoping that she would be able to race, maybe even without warming up, but eventually all realized that she was suffering leg cramps that prohibited her from riding a bike.

    The American was fully aware that by not starting, her successful few months of 'cross had come to an abrupt end, with the future looking grim.

    "Losing the World Cup lead is tough," said her husband Mark Legg. "We were very close to making history with Katie as the first American to not only lead the World Cup competition but to be the first American to win the overall World Cup title. It would have been a huge step forward for American cyclo-cross. We'll just have to come back again fight it out against some very tough competition for the overall win."

    "The last time I had these leg cramps, I struggled for about two to three weeks, so I'm afraid that I can forget about the World Cup (next weekend) and the World Championships," Compton said, facing a tough situation.

    "Yesterday, I crashed on my thighs on that steep drop, but I don't think that caused the problems. The traveling must've done it again. I'd rather fight for it and lose it, than have to give it up by not starting. All the girls respect each other and feel the same," Compton told Cyclingnews.

    Compton was upset with having to watch the race instead of participating though there was a bright spot. "We were both very happy to see fellow US resident and rider Katerina [Nash] win today," said Legg. "We always knew she was capable of a World Cup win. Winning in Roubaix makes the win a little extra special so we're both happy for Katerina." Nash, a citizen of the Czech Republic, resides in the US.

    "We are going to rest and hope her legs will free up before Hoogerheide, but right now only her legs will determine our future this week," said...

  • Tom Meeusen: The Next Sven Nys?

    Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea) shows his first elite 'cross medal - bronze.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2010, 14:59 GMT
    By:
    Christine Vardaros

    Belgian espoir ready for elite challenge

    When under-23 rider Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) landed on the podium last weekend at Belgium's Elite National Cyclo-Cross Championships, contested on a highly technical course, fans were quick to tip him off as the next "Sven Nys" - arguably the best technical rider in the peloton.

    His authoritative performance in the elite category on technical terrain was not his first this season. Meeusen has twice placed second to Nys in Scheldecross and Middelkerke. He also finished fourth in Tervuren earlier this month in a sprint over World Champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus.)

    At 21 years of age, Meeusen still competes in the under-23 category at all top international events such as World Cups and World Championships, but since earning his professional contract last season, he rides with the elites at National-level events.

    When asked about his recent jump in performance, he told Cyclingnews, "Last year I had a lot of problems with illness and everything going wrong. I had no trainer so I worked hard but not right. Starting this year, I have a trainer named Jos Henderieckx. I talk with him every day and he tells me what to do. I feel really happy with him. The progression that I am making is because of him."

    He is also quick to credit mountain bike racing. "I always need motivation in the summer to do the hard work. I like road racing but I think it's boring to do it the whole summer. So for me, the mountain bike is perfect for that - I like more the technical aspect of races. It's good preparation for cyclo-cross."

    Henderieckx wholeheartedly approves, telling Meeusen, "If you like it, you have to do it." His talent clearly crosses over to the mountain bike as he is Belgium's under-23 Champion. Similar to Nys, Meeusen ended his mountain bike season in Australia at World Championships. He placed 13th in the under-23 category.

    While he is really excited by the recent attention he has received, he is quick to add,...