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Cyclo-cross news & racing roundup for December 19

Date published:
December 19, 2007, 0:00 GMT
  • Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races

    Article published:
    December 19, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    ...

    • December 21: Scheldecross, Antwerpen Linkeroever (Bel) C2
    • December 22: Int. Cyclo-cross Huijbergen, Huijbergen (Ned) C1
    • December 22: National Cyclo-cross Cup, Podborany (Cze) C2
    • December 23: Cyclo-cross de Nommay, Nommay (Fra) C2
    • December 23: GP Montferland, Zeddam (Ned) C1
    • December 23: Internationales Radquer Meilen, Meilen (Swi) C2
    • December 26: Coupe du Monde UCI / UCI World Cup, Hofstade (Bel) CDM
    • December 26: G.P. Geba Sarl, Differdange (Lux) C2
    • December 26: Int. Radquer Dagmersellen, Dagmersellen (Swi) C2
    • December 27: Sylvester Cyclo-cross, Torhout (Bel) C2
    • December 28: Azencross / Cross des as, Loenhout / Wuustwezel (Bel) C1
    • December 29: Noordzeecross, Middelkerke (Bel) C2
    • December 30: Badiquer Schmerikon, Schmerikon (Swi) C1
    • December 30: Superprestige, Diegem (Bel) C1

  • Pohl wins in Overijse despite crashing

    Article published:
    December 19, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer 20 year-old Steffi Pohl (Team Getränke Hoffman) took the biggest victory of her...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    20 year-old Steffi Pohl (Team Getränke Hoffman) took the biggest victory of her career to date when she won the mother of all cyclo-cross races in Overijse, Belgium on Sunday. The young German talent outsprinted her Dutch counterpart Saskia Elemans (WV de Meteoor) to win after a tough battle in the testing conditions. Pohl crashed hard during the race while leading on her own, the fall left her bruised and battered but was not enough to stop her from claiming victory.

    "It was a pretty hard race," Pohl said. "The ground was frozen hard. I got in to the lead early and built up a lot of space between me and the followers. Then I crashed hard, unfortunately, and hurt my arm, and the others caught up with me. I pulled all my strength together and was able to get away with Elemans. Then I was able to take the sprint."

    Belgian, Sanne Cant (ASD Selle Italia Guerciotti), did enough to secure the third step on the podium as she crossed the line six seconds clear of Helen Wyman (Great Britain) while Daphny van den Brand (ZZPR.nl) finishing a further 17 seconds back in fifth.

    Torsten Wittig, sports director of Team Getränke Hoffman was pleased with his young charges win. "She was fantastic. Winning this classic shows not only her best form but also Steffi's super self-confidence," he said.

  • Sunweb fires Vannoppen

    Article published:
    December 19, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sunweb-Projob Team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen dismissed rider Tom Vannoppen after Vannoppen...

    Sunweb-Projob Team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen dismissed rider Tom Vannoppen after Vannoppen failed to attend a scheduled training ride in Kluisbergen on Wednesday. Vannoppen was already on thin ice with the team after failing to perform in races. Mettepenningen had already indicated that Vannoppen's elite contract, which ends December 31, would not be extended, but suggested he might be able to continue with the team as an 'elite without contract' rider.

    "I certainly have a lot of respect for Vannoppen as a friend," Mettepenningen said, however, the missed training session was the last straw. "A dismissal was the only option." Vannoppen has been asked to return his camper and other equipment.

  • Fidea, Wellens continue through 2011

    Article published:
    December 19, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    The Fidea Insurance company has extended its sponsorship of the cyclo-cross team of Hans van...

    The Fidea Insurance company has extended its sponsorship of the cyclo-cross team of Hans van Kasteren through the end of the 2001 season, the team announced Tuesday. All of the team's racers, including Bart Wellens also received extensions for three years, except Klaas Vantornout, who will move to the Sunweb-Projob team at the end of the season. World Champion Erwin Vervecken extended his contract through January, 2009.

    Fidea first began sponsoring the team in 2004, hoping to build its brand recognition

  • Nys plays with his competition in Essen

    Sven Nys (Rabobank) tops the day
    Article published:
    December 19, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Sven Nys won the fourth round of the Gazet van Antwerpen trophy held in Essen over the weekend in...

    Sven Nys won the fourth round of the Gazet van Antwerpen trophy held in Essen over the weekend in dramatic style which emphasised his class when it comes to 'cross. The win was his 26th in the series and 14th of the season.

    Vervecken showed early in the race that he is once again regaining the kind of form that has won him three world titles as he blasted away from the start to take the early lead. But by the end of the first lap the World champion was relegated to chasing as Nys hit the gas pedal chasing the points on offer at the end of the second lap.

    Weather conditions and tyre choice played a major factor in the race as the frozen ground made the conditions tough going. Nys who opted for tyres with bigger tread seemed to have no problems with the conditions and easily rode away from the competition. After passing the finish line on the second lap taking the three points on offer in the process, Nys sat up and let his chasers, Zdenek Stybar (Fidea), Richard Groenendaal (AA Drink) and Klaas Vantornout (Fidea) latch back onto his wheel. A little later in the lap, Wellens had also joined the front of the race.

    Nys, however, was merely playing with his rivals. After another attack later in the race, only Stybar was able to stay with the Belgian, but one acceleration was all he needed to get rid of the Czech. Nys soloed to the win as team-mate Lars Boom out sprinted Stybar for the second step on the podium.

    See the full results, report and photos here.

  • Vantornout reaps career-best win

    Belgian Klaas Vantornout (Fidea Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    December 19, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    By Brecht Decaluwé Belgian Klaas Vantornout abandoned yesterday's race in Essen but he bounced back...

    By Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian Klaas Vantornout abandoned yesterday's race in Essen but he bounced back to beat the big guns in the mother of all cyclo-cross races, the 'grape'-cross in Overijse. The 25 year-old Fidea rider may not have been the strongest rider, but he surely rode the smartest race of all. Together with team-mate Bart Wellens, the Fidea team out-played the opposition and took the top two steps on the podium.

    UCI-leader Sven Nys didn't have a good day and when the victory was out of sight the Belgian dropped back and focused on staying healthy on the hard, slippery course – understandably since this race is not part of any series, and Nys' lead in the UCI-rankings is relatively secure.

    Nys' mere presence in the race thwarted his rival Bart Wellens' hopes for the victory, as Wellens waited for the decisive move from Nys which never came, and then could only focus on the second place.

    The competition for second place surprisingly came from a non-Belgian, and even more surprising was that it was an Under-23 rider, German Philip Walsleben (Heinz von Heiden). Clearly having the best race of his season, Walsleben took third place in Overijse ahead of Belgians Kevin Pauwels (Fidea) and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank).

    For Vantornout, who is ranked third in the UCI standings, the day provided the most prestigious victory of his budding career. The Fidea rider threw his fist in the air with joy as he crossed the line 40 seconds ahead of Wellens. "For sure it's the biggest win in my career since I haven't won a big race just yet," Vantornout laughed. "This race is a classic and when Wellens left a gap I didn't hesitate a moment, and attacked. This was team work!"

    See the full results, report and photos here.

  • Snow and cold turn US nationals treacherous

    Tim Johnson (Leer /Cannondale /Cyclocrossworld.com) takes his second USA title after seven years
    Article published:
    December 19, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Kansas City, Kansas

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Kansas City, Kansas Johnson back on top at 'cross nats...

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Kansas City, Kansas

    Johnson back on top at 'cross nats

    After days of cold, snow and more cold, the sun shone down on the elite 'cross categories, softening the course enough and bringing out the mud to make it an official 'cross championship. After the first lap sorted the contenders from the pretenders, it was three that eventually made the final selection – Jonathan Page (Sunweb-ProJob) held a small lead for much of the race over Todd Wells (GT Bicycles) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Leer/Cyclocrossworld).

    After Wells was slowed by some slip-ups, it was mano-a-mano between Page and Johnson. In the final two laps the two battled hard, trading the lead until Page crashed following Johnson in a turn. This gave the Massachusetts native just enough of a gap to hold off last year's world silver medalist for his second national title.

    "With two to go I attacked Jonathan through the start/finish," said Johnson. "When I attacked him I just wanted a little bit of a gap so I could have my shot at the best lines. If you ride behind somebody it is just too sketchy, and I think that is why Jonathan went under the tape. I was leading through that section and you have no idea where you are going to end up with the ruts. I just heard that he went down, but he eventually caught me. If I were him I would have tried to pass, because you just can't trust riding behind someone [in these conditions]."

    While the conditions did improve compared to earlier races, the difference between winning and losing was measured more in the ability to avoid crashing. "The way this course was there was just one top speed, and if you could surf that speed without going down, that was a good lap," said Johnson. "I don't think that last lap was anywhere near flawless, but if you can stay upright and not get into trouble, that was considered flawless."

    Johnson summed up the conditions this way: "You...