Kona-FSA rider ready for a tough fight as series heads for Portland finale
US National Cyclo-cross Champion, Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) is aiming to capture a fourth overall title in the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-Cross (USGP) series as it heads into the final two rounds at the Portland Stanley Cup in Oregon next weekend.
"I definitely want to win it this year, it’s definitely a big goal," said Trebon. "I missed a few of the NACT series this year to focus on doing this. I’m so psyched for Portland because it’s one of my favourite stops on the calendar and it’s fun racing near my hometown. It’s going to be a good race."
Trebon is currently leading the series with a total of 210 points, ahead of Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com teammates Jamey Driscoll and Tim Johnson. Driscoll sits 30 points behind Trebon, while last year’s overall series winner, Johnson, sits a further six points back. There are 50 points available to the winner of each race in Oregon, leaving the race for the series title wide open. If the final two rounds are anything like the first six, it will be a dog fight until the very end.
"I wasn’t too happy about losing it last year," said Trebon who lost the series lead to Johnson during the final weekend in Portland. "It happens, I had a couple of bad races and some guys were riding really well."
Trebon won round three of the series at the Derby City Cup in Kentucky. That result was followed by a second win in round five at the Mercer Cup in New Jersey, where he regained the overall lead. He has captured podium places in every other round with the exception of round four, where a he did not finish due to a serious crash. He was forced to briefly hand over the leader’s jersey to Driscoll who was tied for first place points at the time.
"I had good legs in Louisville, but after the crash I had to miss a week of training," Trebon said. "It’s one of those things where you ride and feel horrible so you take another few days off. Sometimes rest is...
Belgian champ eyes 10th overall win, claims series lead
Belgian cyclo-cross champion Sven Nys claimed his 50th career win in the Superprestige series at the fifth round in Gieten on Sunday. The win was only Nys' fifth of the season, having taken a slower start than normal in cyclo-cross after a full summer of mountain bike racing.
"I've been waiting on my 50th Superprestige victory, but [today] it was a deserved victory," said Nys. "This is a 'cross for riders with power. Normally I do not like those, because of lack of technical sections. But today I immediately had good sensations. I quickly took the lead and did not let up. If the condition is good, you can ride away from the rest. "
The early season saw Nys struggling uncharacteristically, unable to power away from his competition and solo to victory in the manner that earned him the nickname 'the cannibal'. His first win came in the opening round of the Superprestige in Ruddervoorde, something that inspired him to believe he could win a tenth career win in the overall classification of the series.
But after coming third to Niels Albert and Zdenek Stybar in Hoogstraten, then second to Albert in Gavere and Stybar in Hamme Zogge, his faith began to slip.
That all changed on Sunday when he returned to the front of the bunch in the dense, muddy field in Gieten and powered away from Albert into a stiff wind to nab win number 50 in the series. To put perspective on his feat, the next best record comes from 80's cyclo-cross star Roland Liboton who has just 21 wins on his palmarès.
Now, with three races remaining, and a two point lead on Albert and four on Stybar, the goal a 10th victory in the overall series is more realistic.
"It's always been a primary objective of mine, but obviously you need more than two points [lead] and two points for the rest behind."
"I'll have to be fully concentrated in Diegem in order not to lose valuable points there. Anyway, it's better to lead by...
Verstraeten returns in Spain, Dieter Vanthourenhout squeezed out
Jan Verstraeten will return to World Cup competition this week after he was named in the Belgian selection for the fifth round of the International Cycling Union (UCI) series in Igorre, Spain, on Sunday, December 6.
The KDL Trans NV rider missed the Koksijde round of the series last week as Bart Wellens made his own, long-awaited return from illness. Wellens recorded a solid 13th place finish, but prior to the race Verstraeten and compatriot Dieter Vanthourenhout had protested the inclusion of the former World Champion in the squad. The latter was later included in the Koksijde line-up and finished one place behind Wellens in 14th.
Despite a lingering bitterness over his temporary exclusion from the World Cup circuit, Verstaeten told Sporza that he was hopeful of a strong performance this weekend.
"It's too bad the World Cup [selection] system can deny riders opportunities to compete. In your mind that uncertainty always plays a role," he said. "I still think I should have been there last week.
"Over the next few days I will prepare well for Igorre and I hope for a decent result."
Verstraeten's best World Cup result so far this season was 15th at the second round in Plzen, Czech Republic. He finished 20th at the season opener in Treviso, Italy and 21st at the third round in Nommay, France.
Although Verstraeten has been recalled to the Belgian line up, his inclusion came at the expense of Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus), who has been overlooked in the nine-man selection.
Wellens will once again start, as Verstraeten, Niels Albert, Sven Nys, Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout, Sven Vanthourenhout, Bart Aernouts and Erwin Vervecken were also included in the line-up announced on Monday.
Part one of European campaign ends with mixed success
Cyclo-cross stand out Katie Compton is on her way home to seek a record-tying sixth US title after a lengthy European cyclo-cross campaign. Currently leading both the UCI rankings and World Cup standings, Compton's season has undoubtedly been a success so far, yet a mistake-riddled race in Koksijde has put her series lead on shakier ground.
Cyclingnews caught up with Compton before she flew back home, and she was still kicking herself for the crash-laden World Cup last weekend which saw her rally back from a hideous first lap to claim third place behind world champion Marianne Vos and Dutch champion Daphny Van Den Brand.
"My race this weekend in Koksijde wasn't a pretty one and I'm just really bummed that my skills sucked so badly since I generally really like the sand. It's one of my favorite courses because it is tough both physically and technically, I didn't bring my A-game for it and it showed. I made a lot of mistakes in that one and it's a good reminder of what not to do in a race," Compton said.
The five-time US 'cross champion will head to Bend, Oregon to seek a record six consecutive wins - tying Alison Dunlap's career total. Compton will look to perfect her game and shake off fatigue from her busy travel schedule in order to take home another stars and stripes jersey.
"Nationals is always an important race to win and an event that is very special to me. I'm just looking forward to racing in the US again and also enjoying a fun weekend in Bend, seeing friends, racing hard and enjoying the US 'cross scene. I haven't put a lot of thought into winning another championship, I just want to have a clean race with good legs and not make any stupid mistakes. As long as I can do that, I'm confident I can defend my championship."
While the US championship is important, Compton's focus is clearly further down the road...
The USA's UCI cyclo-cross season is nearly at an end, and with just two regular season races left before the national championships, Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale) and Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing/Seven) hold onto solid leads in their respective classes.
Powers nabbed double victories in the Baystate Cyclo-cross races in Massachusetts, while Bruno-Roy's consistency kept her in the overall lead behind dual victor Mary McConneloug. A second and fourth place on the weekend puts Bruno-Roy 60 points ahead of McConneloug, while Powers leads by 30 over teammate Jamie Driscoll, with Tim Johnson in third.
Three races in Iowa City did little to affect the top of the rankings, but fierce competition for the remaining UCI points, which count toward starting position at nationals, ensured strong competition. Todd Wells (Specialized) and Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry -Specialized) proved unbeatable in all three Jingle Cross Rock events.