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First Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up, Thursday, October 22, 2009

Date published:
October 22, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Sand pit prohibition forces 'cross promoters to be creative

    Niels Albert came to grief in the sand pit at Ruddervoorde last year.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2009, 20:26 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Organisers struggle to create interest

    Due to a new UCI rule that prohibits the use of artificial sand pits in cyclo-cross races, race organizers have had to come up with creative new ideas to make courses challenging.

    As one of the first races of the season, the organization of the Superprestige Series round in Ruddervoorde, Belgium was confronted with the issue. Usually the race features an L-shaped sand strip that created a spectacle for the fans and a challenge for the riders in this area that lacks natural topographical obstacles.

    Brothers Wim and Geert Pyfferoen, the race organisers, came up with an inland solution to add interest: cobbles.

    When asked how they came up with this solution Geert Pyfferoen couldn't quite recall the circumstances. "Probably after we had a couple of drinks," he joked. "I hope it will bring some spectacle to the race. It is a pity that we had to remove the sand strip."

    Organisers aren't clear on whether existing playground sand pits in races like Eernegem would be allowed. Former world champion Paul Herijgers confirmed there was a problem. "The system isn't waterproof. In some races there is a swing and then sometimes it is allowed," Herijgers said.

    "If a father goes to a race with his kid and he asks the kid where he wants to watch the race - in the meadow or at the sand pit - you're always going to end up at the sand pit because it is spectacular."

    Belgian national coach Rudy De Bie wasn't expecting that the cobbles would cause damage in the race. "They're better laid than those on my driveway," De Bie said. "It's too bad Ruddervoorde wasn't allowed to keep the sand because it was safe and spectacular," he added.

    UCI's Peter Van den Abeele explained why the decision was taken. "This is a interference on demand of the riders. Erwin Vervecken, who represents the riders at the UCI, asked the riders what they thought about it and after debating it we took the decision," Van den Abeele said to Het Laatste...

  • Return of the king: Nys back to winning

    Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) was thrilled to take second.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2009, 20:57 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Reactions from the Superprestige opener in Ruddervoorde

    Sven Nys, a nine-time overall winner of the cyclo-cross Superprestige Series, regained his usual excellent form this weekend with a second place on Saturday in Namur and an impressive win on Sunday in Ruddervoorde.

    After a dismal start to the season, everything finally clicked for the Belgian champion this weekend and not only took home his first  victory, but became the first rider to beat world champion Niels Albert this season.

    "People want to see duels. I'm liking this situation in which I can beat the world champion," Nys said. "Mentally I had the benefit of starting without the idea that I could win.

    "I rode at my own pace, taking my time to move up through the field. After bridging up to Niels I noticed that he didn't have an acceleration left in his legs. I tried at one spot and I saw him struggling with his pedals. I felt that I had more traction and one lap later I attacked again, with success," Nys said.

    No excuses for Albert

    Rival Albert didn't search for excuses and actually seemed happy that he finally got beaten in a race. "I'm happy that I can finally relax a little.

    "People raise their expectations as you continue to win and I'm finding out that they don't like someone who dominates," Albert said.

    "I wasn't planning on attacking early on, but with Sven starting at the back I was trying to profit from that. Maybe I should've waited. If this, if that... Today Sven was better and then I'm the first to admit that. I think he digested yesterday's race better than I did," Albert said.

    Stybar best of the rest, again

    The fight for third in Ruddervoorde was between...

  • Wellens eyes December return to 'cross

    Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 16:16 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Latest blood test promising for rider suffering from virus

    Cyclo-cross star Bart Wellens was cleared to get back on the bike this week after a blood test showed he was no longer suffering from the Cytomegalovirus which had ruined the start to his season.

    The Belgian said he received the results of a blood test on Wednesday and was allowed to begin riding again, but only for one hour a day. "Not for training! Just to get used to being on the bike again," he said on his web site.

    "After eight days I will have another test, and if that is clear I will go to Spain for a while.

    Wellens said he may be able to return to competition in mid-December, but maintained he has abandoned any goals for the season. "At the moment I could not finish top ten in the newcomers. Therefore I can no longer set any goals for the season."

  • Top flight field for Toronto 'cross weekend

    Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale) takes a decisive win.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 21:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    NACT series continues in Canada

    The North American Cyclo-cross Trophy series will have its third weekend of racing at the GNC Toronto International Cyclo-Cross, and organisers have assembled a top-quality field for the event.

    The Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com crew swept last weekend's North American races, with Jeremy Powers taking all three races in Ohio, and Tim Johnson doubling up in Providence. Jamey Driscoll, second in both Rhode Island rounds to his teammate and winner of Cross Vegas, will be a wild-card.

    Last year, Johnson and Powers took turns atop the podium on Saturday and Sunday. Look for a repeat of 2008 as both Powers and Johnson look to move closer to the top spot of the leader's boards with strong performances in Toronto. With current leader Jonathon Page (Planet Bike) and second place Christian Heule racing in Europe, the top two steps are up for grabs.

    Bissell's Andy Jacques-Maynes is a challenger to Cannondale contingent. Jacques-Maynes finished third and fourth in 2008 and is sandwiched between Johnson and Powers in the overall standings.

    In the women's event, Natasha Elliott (Louis Garneau) will enter into the third round of the NACT series in second place, but is heading back north for a home field advantage. Elliott went two for two in Gloucester, and the Louis Garneau racer also took home double wins at Toronto in 2008. Challenging Elliott is Pepper Harlton (Juventus Cycling Club) at her first NACT race of the year.

    There will be plenty to see and do in Toronto this weekend. Urban Male Magazine in conjunction with Cameron's Brewing Company, are hosting a pre-race party at downtown Toronto's iconic Brunswick House at 481 Bloor Street West on Friday, October 16. Registration is open at www.bikereg.com and www.ontariocycling.org.

    For more full standings and information, see http://www.nacyclocross.com and www.torontocyclocross.com. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NACT.

    ...
  • Trebon, Wicks and Frattini to do battle in Granogue, Wissahickon

    US Champion Ryan Trebon (Kona) trying to chase down Powers and Vervecken.
    Article published:
    October 16, 2009, 13:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Queen weekend for Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-cross series

    The North American UCI cyclo-cross calendar continues this weekend with another double: Toronto, Ontario hosts a two-race weekend while the Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-cross presented by SRAM series heads to Granogue and Wissahickon for its “Queen Weekend”.

    It is the second weekend for the MAC, and series leaders Davide Frattini and Laura Van Gilder will try to extend their respective leads on the tough courses in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Luke Keough leads the U23 standings while sitting fourth overall in the men’s standings.

    Team Kona's US 'cross champion Ryan Trebon and teammate Barry Wicks chose to skip the Toronto races, where the formidable Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld trio Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll will be heavy favourites, and will race in Granogue and Wissahickon instead.

    Racing begins Saturday, October 17 on the private 400 acre Granogue Estate near Wilmington, Delaware that is opened to both racers and spectators for this annual event.

    The following day the racers head 25 miles north to the 33-acre Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and Country Fair Grounds in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. For more information on the two races, see BikeReg.com

  • Page remains atop NACT standings, Johnson closing in

    Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)
    Article published:
    October 21, 2009, 16:15 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Elliott has stranglehold on women's rankings

    Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) continues to lead the North American Cyclo-Cross Trophy series as the season approaches its final stretch of rugged racing. Cyclocrossworld.com's triple-threat teammates Tim Johnson, Jamey Driscoll and Jeremy Powers trail close behind with four races to go until a series winner emerges.

    The NACT host ten rounds that span over five weekends of racing which began with Star Crossed and Rad Racing in Washington, moved to the Grand Prix of Gloucester's double header in Massachusetts followed by the Toronto International Cyclo-Cross two-round weekend.

    Page leads the series with 190 points by virtue of four podium places achieved in the first four rounds, which includes to victories at Rad Racing and the Grand Prix of Gloucester's round one. He has since returned to his home in Belgium where he traditionally focuses on the International Cycling union (UCI) World-Cup and the Superprestige series.

    Page acknowledged that he was pleased to be leading the series however, his main incentive for competing in the USA was to use the races as a pre-European season preparation tool and that he would not be contesting the remaining NACT events.

    Next stop are rounds seven and eight in Colorado with the Blue Sky Velo Cup and Boulder cup on October 31 and November 1. Following Page's 190 points is runner up Tim Johnson with 185 points, Jamey Driscoll with 169 points and Jeremy Powers with 140. The tough-to-beat teammates are expected to shine after recently capturing a sixth consecutive season victory, eleventh in total at the Toronto International Cyclo-Cross races.

    "I was a little worried about being injured and the worst part was having to sit out," said Johnson who worked his way back into the game after a separated his shoulder at Star Crossed last month. "Last year I was trying to go for [the series] but when I crashed in Jersey I had to sit out the last round of the NACT in Southampton. "I lost the lead then...

  • Albert, Compton lead UCI rankings

    Katie Compton (Planet Bike) with one lap to go.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 15:46 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Canadian nationals points not included

    American Katie Compton cruised to the top of the UCI rankings with a seven-for-seven winning streak that began at CrossVegas and continued through the Planet Bike races in Wisconsin, a huge win at the Treviso World Cup, and a trio of victories in Ohio. With the win in Italy, Compton became the first American ever to lead the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup.

    The win also netted the Planet Bike rider 300 points, and she padded her lead to 420 with the other wins. She leads Dutchwoman Daphny Van Den Brand by 140 points, with France's Christel Ferrier-Bruneau a further 40 points in arrears.

    Compton, will resume her racing after a brief rest at her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado with the Blue Sky in Boulder, Colorado at the end of the month before leaving for Europe to resume her World Cup campaign.

    Compton believes she can defend her lead in both the World Cup overall and the UCI overall points lead until the end of the season. "It's a great start to the season and I'm really motivated to win the World Cup overall for my new sponsor, Planet Bike. The fitness is good and the bike is dialed in," said Compton.

    The men's standings are dominated by World Champion Niels Albert, who nearly went undefeated this season until Sven Nys got the better of him at the Superprestige race in Ruddervoorde. Albert holds a commanding lead over Czech Zdenek Stybar after dual World Cup wins in Treviso and Plzen.

    Stybar has been on the podium in every race so far this season, and is 135 points behind Albert, with Belgian Klaas Vantornout in third 190 points down on Albert.

    Jonathan Page is the top-ranked American rider after a string of early wins in the US. The Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com trio Jeremy Powers, Jamey Driscoll and Tim Johnson sit at 13th, 16th and 20th, while US champion Ryan Trebon is 23rd overall.

    Vanishing points in Canada

    The UCI's published rankings caused some consternation for new...

  • Southern California hosts Spooky 'Cross

    Spiderman can 'cross, too!
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 16:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Costume contest combined with cyclo-cross for Halloween fun

    Music, Halloween madness, costumes and beer will be the call as the Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross presented by Shimano brings the Spooky Cross Night Race, hosted by Rock N Road Cyclery on Saturday, October 24th in Irvine, CA.

    The Halloween-themed festivities begin with Juniors and Youth cyclo-cross racing at 2:30pm.  At 3:15pm, the kids will get the chance to show off their costumes with the Clif Kids Costume Race. The schedule continues with Prestige Series racing culminating with live music by the Rims and more, food and beer and elite cyclo-cross racing at dusk and into the night.

    Jack-O-Lantern Carving entries will become the pumpkin barriers and will put racers to the test on the Spooky Costume Race course – which begins with a celebration lap for everyone to show off their Halloween garb. Team Duke hosts the Spooky Costume Relay Race – 2 or 4 person teams to benefit the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. Prizes awarded to top men, women, co-ed and best costume podium.

    The Halloween themed course is a mix of pavement and dirt and grass, approximately 3.5km in length. Races are timed circuits on the course based on category. The elite categories will race at dusk and night. Look for challengers for Elite Men’s Series Leader Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific) from the Gritters brothers – Brandon and Kyle of Rock N Road. MTB Champions Brian Lopes and Sid Taberlay are schedule to be in the line-up as well.

    Pre-registration: www.Sportsbaseonline.com. Online registration closes Thursday, October 21st at 9:00PM (Pacific). Race Day registration is available opens at 1:00pm and closes 20 minutes prior to each race category start. Demo rental bikes are available for new riders to ‘cross. A beginner’s CX clinic will take place at 1:30pm.

    For mapping: 8800 Irvine Center Drive – Irvine, CA
    More info: www.SoCalCross.org