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First Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up, Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Date published:
September 22, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Miller, Weighall to lead California Giant Berry Farms team

    Meredith Miller will race for California Giant Berry Farms during the 2009-2010 cyclo-cross season.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2009, 19:51 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    American 'cross team announces elite roster

    California Giant Berry Farms and Specialized are teaming up again for the 2009-2010 US cyclo-cross season to back four elite American racers - one woman and three men - and a junior racer.

    National Road Champion Meredith Miller, Under 23 National Champion Nick Weighall, two-time 30+ National Champion Justin Robinson, Chance Noble and top Northern California junior Cody Kaiser make up the elite team.

    They will race Specialized S-Works Carbon Tricross Bicycles with SRAM Force drivetrains and Zipp 303 wheelsets.

    Beginning in September, the team will tackle a full schedule of Northern California races, USGP of Cycle-cross races and select UCI races such as Star Crossed and Cross Vegas as well as the National Cyclo-cross Championships in Bend, Oregon.

    In addition to the elite athletes, a high-powered master's team will round out the squad including three-time National Masters Champion Alan Coats, two-time National Champion Todd Hoefer, and two-time worlds silver medalist Henry Kramer.

    California Giant Berry Farms Elite Team for 2009-2010
    Meredith Miller (Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Nick Weighall (Mill Creek, Washington)
    Chance Noble (Camarillo, California)
    Justin Robinson (Santa Cruz, California)
    Cody Kaiser (Sacramento, California)

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  • Franzoi to make return for 'cross season

    Italy's Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    September 09, 2009, 15:36 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Italian champion prepares for cyclo-cross season, new team for 2010

    Italian Enrico Franzoi has begun preparations for the start of the cyclo-cross season after illness cut short his 2009 road programme with Liquigas. A stomach bacterium ended Franzoi's road season in May, but he will return to competition next month at the Treviso Cyclo-cross World Cup, before returning once again to the road with a new team in 2010.

    "The road season was not great due to the bacteria, but I am excited to start the cyclo-cross season," Franzoi told Cyclingnews. "My road season is over and it is all about cyclo-cross now."

    Franzoi's season on the road was severely disrupted by the illness and he said he had lacked the power of two years ago, when he finished eighth at Paris-Roubaix and helped Alessandro Ballan win Ronde van Vlaanderen.

    His last race was the Vuelta a Catalunya, May 18 to 24. He had to stop riding completely before he could re-build his form. Instead of returning to road racing, Franzoi will begin his return at Italy's World Cup in Treviso October 4.

    "I want to have a good ranking this season and point towards a World Cup win," he added. "I think my condition will be at its best near the mid-to-late [cyclo-cross] season."

    Franzoi, 27, finished third in Middelkerke, second in Tervuren and won his national cyclo-cross championship for a fourth time last year. He is shifting his career towards cyclo-cross, unlike 2008 cyclo-cross World Champion Lars Boom.

    "He has already won a lot on the road and it is smart for him to go further," said Franzoi. "It's hard to say how he will go in 'cross this season, we will see in Treviso. But there are always Sven Nys and Niels Albert to worry about."

    Franzoi will continue with Italy's Liquigas team through December 31 and then switch to a new team. He said he had several offers, some from foreign teams, and plans to make a decision soon.

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  • Vervecken to contest USGP Cyclo-cross event

    Former World Champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    September 10, 2009, 11:34 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Belgian will race Planet Bike Cup

    Erwin Vervecken will contest the Planet Bike Cup cyclo-cross event in the United States of America this month, US Gran Prix of Cyclocross organizers have announced. The three time International Cycling Union (UCI) Cyclo-cross World Champion will take on America’s top cyclo-crosses on their home turf at the September 26-27 event.

    USGP director Joan Hanscom said he was thrilled to have one of Europe’s top riders competing in the US. " He is a superstar of unparalleled talent and is sure to animate every moment of racing,” said Hanscom. “For him to be so enthusiastic about competing in the US and at the USGP speaks to the growing importance of the US cross scene. We are excited to see how US riders stack up against him early in the season -especially with the depth of the fields racing here.

    Some of North America’s finest that will be looking to beat Vervecken include Jonathan Page, Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers, Jamey Driscoll, Ryan Trebon, Barry Wicks, Geoff Kabush and Todd and Troy Wells. Vervecken will ride for Belgian squad Team Revor-Baboco-Champion System.

    "We're certain having Vervecken racing at the Planet Bike Cup will raise everybody's game - from fellow racers and staff right down to the spectators,” said Hanscom. “Madison and the surrounding areas are so passionate about cycling and sports in general that we know the crowds will appreciate the level of competition lining up to race in their hometown - so come out and bring your cowbells."

    The Planet Bike Cup opens the 2009 USGP Cyclo-cross series and is held at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, WI, USA.

  • North American UCI 'cross season gets underway on both coasts

    Ryan Trebon returns to cross
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 20:17 BST
    Cycling News

    NACT series begins in Washington, MAC in Pennsylvania

    The North American Cyclo-cross season will kick off this weekend with double race weekends on both coasts of the USA. The North American Cyclo-cross Trophy series commences in Washington state with the FSA Star Crossed on September 19 and the Rad Racing GP on September 20.

    Heading up the men's field will be 2007 'cross worlds silver medalist Jonathan Page, US champion Ryan Trebon and past national champion Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson (Cannondale / CyclocrossWorld). Stepping into the elite category this year will be current U23 National Champion Nick Weighall (California Giant).

    The women's field will see the return of six-time national champion Alison Dunlap is coming out of retirement for Star Crossed and will be contending against British champion Helen Wyman and last year's winner, Sue Butler.

    Page and Dunlap will be hosting a free 'cross clinic at the site of Saturday's race. The free clinic will be held at the King County's Marymoor Velodrome in Redmond from 5:30 - 6:45 PM on Friday, September 18th. No sign up or registration required.

    On the east coast, the MAC Powered by SRAM series will begin on September 19 with the Nittany Lion Cyclo-cross race at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. The series heads south the following day to Baltimore, Maryland for the Charm City Cyclo-cross.

    Starting their series title defences during the weekend will be C3-Athletes Serving Athletes teammates Wes Schempf and Laura Van Gilder. Schempf was the most successful racer in the Mid-Atlantic last year, winning both the MAC and MABRAcross season titles. Van Gilder, meanwhile, starts 2009 as the defending champion of both races as well as the defending series winner.

    For more information about these or other MAC Powered by SRAM events , see or go directly to both races' registration pages on

  • Wellens cyclo-cross season suffers major setback

    Bart Wellens (Fidea)
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 10:37 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Belgian’s hopes hit by virus

    The cyclo-cross season is only a week old, yet the hopes of a strong winter for Bart Wellens have already been dashed with the rider suffering from a virus. Blood tests have revealed the rider has cytomegalovirus, from the same family as epstien-barr and varicella-zoster.

    "After the training camp in August at St. Moritz, for the following two weeks since he feels very tired,” a Telenet-Fidea team representative told “He felt like that at the first cyclo-cross in Erpe-Mere Sunday."

    "A comprehensive blood analysis confirmed the presence of cytomegalovirus, a’ brother’ of glandular fever," said the team.

    The virus will leave 31-year-old unable to train, let alone compete, for several weeks. The news comes as a blow to Wellens, who was hoping for a strong start to the cyclo-cross season.

    "We follow Bart constantly to determine when he can start training again," said the team.

    Wellens, the star of his own Flemish reality television series Wellens en Wee, has won the International Cycling Union (UCI) Cyclo-cross World Championship on two occasions.

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  • Albert signals his dominance in Neerpelt

    Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus)
    Article published:
    September 20, 2009, 21:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Nys looking to October to regain form

    World Cyclo-cross Champion Niels Albert took his second consecutive cyclo-cross victory of the season in Neerpelt, Belgium on Sunday, putting on such a display of dominance that he spent well over half the race off the front of the race.

    Only Czech champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) could match the 23-year-old from Tremolo for the first laps of the race, but he too faded from the flying Belgian's wheel after 20 minutes of racing.

    Albert dedicated the win to his team's managers Christoph and Philip Roodhooft, who suffered a death in their family. "I was motivated to win [for them] and I succeeded. It is the only way I can communicate my support."

    Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) was a shadow of his usual self after a summer spent racing on the mountain bike circuit. He made a lot of mistakes during the race, but said that he was not panicking about his form quite yet.

    "I know what I'm doing - I will have to step up in October. [Albert] had a great summer, I will do my best to close the gap in the coming weeks."

  • Page back on track

    Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) outsprints Christian Heule (Rendementhypo Cycling Team) to win the Rad Racing Gran Prix.
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 22:26 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Rad Racing Gran Prix win for Page on US's opening 'cross weekend

    Jonathan Page is looking forward to a fresh start in 2009 after last year's turbulent end to the cyclo-cross season. The American cyclo-cross star is poised for success after a recent victory in the season opener's Rad Racing Gran Prix held in Seattle, Washington.

    The New Hampshire native is renowned for capturing a silver place medal in 2007 International Cycling Union (UCI) Elite World Cyclo-Cross Championships as the first American to stand on the podium at the prestigious event. However, his successful career came to a screeching halt when he accidentally missed a post race anti-doping control on November 29, 2008 following the Koksijde World Cup in Belgium. He was up against a possible two-year suspension that was cleared by the World Anti Doping Association (WADA).

    Back on the circuit with his name intact, Page welcomed the early victory that marked a return from a mistake that nearly ended his cycling career. When asked what his goals were for the upcoming season Page simply said, "Not to have a season like last year!

    "I mean missing that anti-doping control test, all hell broke loose," he continued. "I didn't find out until three weeks later just before the holidays and that was a big blow. Trying to deal with all of that took everything away mentally and physically. I'll never forget how it felt to be so helpless. If I had a two-year suspension I would have had to pack it in. I didn't want to be forced to retire, I want to do it on my own."

    Page stood on the podium in the two season openers, which included one victory in the Rad Racing Gran Prix. He dedicated the achievement to the owner of Planet Bikes, Bob Downs, and his three lawyers for their support during his hearing. "They saved my butt and without them I wouldn't have the chance to win a bike race," Page said. "I'm hoping that there will be more chances to win in my career."

    Page typically begins his season in the US and this year's showings include Cross...

  • De Groot to race CrossVegas

    Bram de Groot (Rabobank) will take part in CrossVegas.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2009, 12:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank's first ever appearance in US 'cross race

    CrossVegas organizers confirmed that Rabobank ProTour rider Bram de Groot will be on the start line for the Las Vegas cyclo-cross event on September 23. The 34-year-old Dutchman's appearance marks the first ever participation by a Rabobank rider in an American 'cross race.

    CrossVegas promoter Brook Watts was pleased about the participation of de Groot, a professional with Rabobank for 11 years. "I couldn't be happier about announcing Bram's participation. It shows how CrossVegas and US cyclo-cross are attracting international attention."

    The Dutchman joined the Rabobank Continental team in 1998 before moving up to the professional squad the following year. He started the Tour de France six times, finishing it four times, and rode both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España twice. The veteran de Groot has four professional victories in his palmares.

    Complete CrossVegas details are available at

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