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Cyclo-cross News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Date published:
November 17, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • USGP heads to Colorado for real 'cross weather

    Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) is coming off back-to-back wins in Louisville
    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 20:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Snow, cold to make for intense racing

    The US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross continues with its third of four double-race weekends, heading to snowy Fort Collins, Colorado for the first time in series history.

    Wintry conditions will make a fitting setting for the closely fought battle between series leader Jeremy Powers and his Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld teammate Tim Johnson.

    The duo are tied at 174 points, leading Todd Wells (Specialized) with 107, while Tristan Schouten ( and Ryan Trebon (Kona) trail in at 98 and 94 points, respectively. With 100 points on the line this weekend and two more races in Portland in December, the series is by no means decided.

    It may be too early for frozen ground, but the conditions are expected to mimic those in which Johnson prevailed to win the US national championships in Bend, Oregon last December, with plenty of mud and a deceptively challenging course.

    On the women's side, the races will be on the home turf of the series leader Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) and second-placed Meredith Miller (California Giant-Specialized), while fellow Colorado resident Katie Compton (Planet Bike), currently third, will also be looking for home state glory.

    Gould leads with 180 points after sweeping the last round in Louisville, Kentucky. Miller's consistent performances put her in second with 122 points, while Compton, who missed the Kentucky round, is in third with 100 points having won the two opening rounds in Wisconsin.

    The weekend will also host UCI-classified races for juniors. That category is currently the domain of Hot Tubes' Yannick Eckmann, who is undefeated in the four USGP rounds to date.

    Visit Cyclingnews this weekend for full coverage of the USGP rounds 5 and 6.

  • Stybar returns for Superprestige battle in the mud

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea) finished in fourth place, more than two minutes down on Nys.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2010, 13:15 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    World champion recovering from back problem

    Cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) has confirmed that he is recovering from a back problem and will face big rival Sven Nys in the mud at the Superprestige Hamme-Zogge on Sunday.

    Heavy rain has been hammering Belgium this week and the conditions are expected to create one of the toughest races of the season. That will not help Stybar but he cannot miss the third round of the Superprestige series after winning the first two.

    The Czech rider did not ride Thursday's Fidea Jaarmarktcross in Niel but is undergoing intense treatment to be ready for Sunday.

    "The blockage is in my back and I've had treatment and done a series of special exercises to help it," Stybar said.

    "The problem will not be completely resolved, that's impossible, but I will start Sunday. Not starting the race in Niel was the right decision because I would certainly have aggravated my injury. Now I can do the necessary exercises and rest up."

    We'll do our best to be ready for Sunday, so I can be as strong as possible. It remains to be seen how good I can be. I can just do my best."

    Muddy conditions expected

    The weather is expected to produce an extremely muddy course, much like in Niel, where Nys and Britain's Helen Wyman (Kona) won. Tyre pressure and selection will be vital, as will bike changes and rider's ability to run in the mud.

    "Last night the track was still 70% passable," race director Eddy Van Bunder told Het Laatste Nieuws.

    "We'll do our best so it's as good as possible. We have a sandbox of eighty meters built and we have a number of sections that will make it more difficult. However I don't expect riders will have to walk a 100m more than two times."

    "We have already had a championship over a course that was an issue and we've already had one in the snow. It's going to be a fantastic new and legendary cross course."

    There will be a full report, rider...

  • Specialized debuts trio of new 'cross tubulars at USGP

    The new Specialized Tracer tubular is based on its Renegade mountain bike tire and uses a similar array of small, tightly packed knobs for a fast roll and good grip in most conditions.
    Article published:
    November 14, 2010, 18:37 GMT
    James Huang

    Trigger, Tracer and Terra models for different conditions

    Specialized factory team riders Todd Wells and Ned Overend arrived at the Fort Collins round of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross with three brand-new tubular cross tires from the big S, designed to cover the full range of possible conditions.

    The new Trigger is the fastest of the three with a progressive central file tread similar to what we've seen in Clement's LAS but with aggressive side knobs for reassuring grip in corners. Moving up a notch on the grippiness scale is the intermediate Tracer with a tightly packed array of low profile, rectangular knobs similar to Specialized's Renegade mountain bike tread. Finally, there's the aggressive Terra pattern with taller and more openly spaced knobs for low-traction conditions like loose gravel, snow, and mud.

    All three tires are built with 260tpi polycotton casings, glued-on rather than vulcanized treads, and single-compound 62a rubber, giving a balanced mix of suppleness, grip, and tread life. In keeping with the UCI's recent technical rule changes, stated casing width is 33mm and according to Wells, actual casing dimensions will err on the smaller size to guarantee they're legal. Tucked inside each tire is a latex inner tube while a nylon breaker beneath the tread aims to ward off punctures. Claimed weight is around 400g for all three designs.

    When Specialized's new offerings are taken in combination with other bigger manufacturers getting into the 'cross tubular game like Schwalbe (and maybe even Continental), things are looking good for racers seeking high-end options that are easier to source and a little less care-intensive.

    Don't get too excited just yet, though, as Specialized says its tires won’t be readily available until next season. There's also no word yet on if we'll see these tread designs in clincher form.

  • Nys uses his mental strength to extend running streak

    Sven Nys discovers the mud was ankle deep in parts
    Article published:
    November 14, 2010, 19:19 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian overcomes his weakness to take another win

    Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) added a fourth victory to his November winning streak at the third round of the Superprestige series in Zogge on Sunday. Nys used his mental strength to win in the tough conditions even though the mud and frequent running didn’t suit his riding style.

    In the past the 34-year-old Belgian would've thrown in the towel before the start of the race if the course would have been designed more for a cross-country run than for a cyclo-cross. Not this time.

    Nys was able to keep up with excellent runner Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor), who had already attacked during the first lap of the race.

    “Normally my running is bad but if I'm in top form then it moves up to just being a weak point,” Nys said before adding that tactics were all important as well.

    The Belgian champion said he knew Vantornout was highly motivated, hinting that his rival had saved his best form the last few weeks in order to be good during the race organized by his team manager.

    “Klaas was running really fast during the last lap but I had something left to answer his attack. I don’t want to judge Klaas' tactics but I think I raced better. I started conservatively but I quickly realised that I should distance the others when running and then recover while they were coming back right to me. That way I was able to save something for the last lap. We were going so hard that every early effort cost you victory.”

  • Nys and Stybar dominate early Euro 'cross events

    Zdenek Štybar (Telenet-Fidea) celebrates his latest victory
    Article published:
    November 15, 2010, 6:57 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Who can challange the star duopoly at the head of proceedings?

    Telenet-Fidea's Zdenek Stybar and Landbouwkrediet veteran Sven Nys have have enjoyed a virtual duopoly of the podium in this season's most important European cyclo-cross races thus far and the pressure is increasing upon the challengers behind.

    Highly-rated former world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant Offroad) have missed out on the victory so far and questions are being asked as to whether they pose a serious to the two frontrunners.

    By this time last year Albert had already collected 11 wins as world champion whereas this season he's still searching for that elusive first. "I'm doing all I can to finally get that first win but I carefully have to watch how Sven collects the wins nowadays," explained Albert.

    The 24-year-old was injured in September and feels he's still recovering from that setback. "I wasn't allowed to do running training since then and I've only started doing them 10 days ago. I'm happy that despite the lack of training I was still there in a race with a huge amount of running featured in it.

    "Every week it's going better and better but a course like this comes a little bit too early for me. To win a race you have got to be in super form and I'm not there yet. I'm satisfied that I did a good job in the overall classification of the Superprestige series," Albert said. The young Belgian moves up from sixth place to third, level with Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea).

    Vantornout finished on the podium in Dinant at the start of the season but since then has failed to live up to expectations. Combined with his own lack of recent results his teammates aren't finishing near the podium at all either.

    The Sunweb-Revor team has a history of high investments and few results and before the season team manager Jürgen Mettepenningen stated he expected 50 podium results. Two months later Mettepenningen can't but notice that many of his riders...

  • Stybar has tendonitis in left knee

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea) ankle deep in mud.
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 8:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cyclo-cross star must rest for several days

    Zdenek Stybar has tendonitis in his left knee, a result of his earlier back problem, over-training and the muddy cyclo-cross race last weekend in Belgium. The Czech rider will now face a few days of complete rest before racing again.

    Stybar's injury was picked up by an ultrasound at the University Hospital in Pellenberg, Belgium, on Monday. “Fortunately it is not chronic, but acute,” his doctor, Vincent Vanbelle, told Sportwereld. be.

    The problem is said to be a consequence of the back problem he had when training in Mallorca earlier this month.

    “If Hamme-Zogge was a normal cyclo-cross race, then there would have been nothing to worry about,” Vanbelle said. “But they had to walk a lot there. There were no problems in the warm up, so we didn't give Zdenek an injection. The pain came during the race, but Zdenek didn't want to give up.”

    The doctor was optimistic that, “perhaps we can overcome the damage. Zdenek now has one or two days of complete rest and must take anti-inflammatories.”

    Stybar is expected to race again next Sunday in the Superprestige race in Gavere, Belgium.

  • US Cyclo-cross news briefs: Fort Collins continues with USGP

    Danny Summerhill takes the win on day two in San Dimas
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 18:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Separated shoulder won't stop Summerhill

    The top cyclo-cross racers in the US visited Fort Collins, Colorado for the third weekend of the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP) series, and the new venue was a huge hit with racers and spectators alike. After weeks of warm, dry races, a bit of wintry weather helped transform the barren field into a technically and aerobically challenging, muddy course.

    Many of the riders commented that the weekend was the first "real 'cross" of the season, while both US champion Katie Compton and USGP series leader Georgia Gould, hailed the level of competition as being the toughest outside of Europe.

    Although no official announcement has been made, word has it that Fort Collins will continue as a host for the USGP next season.

    Injury report

    U23 US 'cross champion Danny Summerhill was spotted on the sidelines in Fort Collins. While the Team Holowesko Partners/Felt rider was registered for the event, a mishap the previous weekend put him temporarily out of competition.

    Summerhill was pre-riding the course for a local race last week when he misjudged a bunny-hop over a log and landed on his shoulder. Fortunately, nothing was broken, but Summerhill confirmed a third-degree separation in the shoulder - just one degree shy of needing surgery.

    "I'm not off the bike," Summerhill said. "I was going to race this weekend, but I actually woke up with a sore throat and took it as a sign that I shouldn't race. When I saw the condition of the course I knew it was too risky - I don't want to crash on the shoulder again and make it worse."

    Summerhill will travel to Europe this week with a strong US contingent of riders set to take on the Superprestige in Gavere and the World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium.

    Another mis-timed bunny-hop put Specialized's Todd Wells out of action on Sunday. Wells was chasing second place in the men's elite race when he tried to hop the barriers and crashed. He re-mounted, but stopped...

  • New 'cross race to tackle the Cauberg in February

    Colour on the Cauberg at Amstel Gold Race
    Article published:
    November 17, 2010, 4:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Legendary climb from Amstel Gold Race goes off-road

    Cyclo-cross will now take on the Cauberg, familiar to the pro road peloton from the Amstel Gold Race, with a new event scheduled for February 19 for the first time.

    Former road and 'cross rider Adrie van der Poel explained that the race will be held for a least three years and that organisers hope to eventually hold a World Cup event or even the world championships on the course.

    Van der Poel, the world 'cross champion in 1996, has set up a 2.7 km course. “We don't want too hard a course at the end of the season,” he told the Belga news agency. “Because we can get bad ground when it rains, I have set he uphill parts on paved roads and we downhill through the fields.

    Jo Römling of the Valkenberg Cycling Federation said that the aim to get the best riders available. Zdenek Stybar won't be there, although “We have the top Belgians in Sven Nys, Bart Wellens and Niels Albert; we have the French champion Francis Mourey, the best Dutch riders and many others. That should be enough.”

    The women's race is expected to include Daphny van den Brand, Sanne van Paassen and Hanka Kupfernagel, with Lars van der Haar, Vincent Baestens, Joeri Adams and Wietse Bosmans riding the U23 race. There will also be races for juniors and amateurs, he said.