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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 28, 2012

Date published:
December 28, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Clif Bar send US riders to Euro cross races

    The Clif Bar junior cyclo-cross team
    Article published:
    December 18, 2012, 16:26 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Namur World Cup on the shedule

    Over the past half dozen seasons, the red-green-and-white kits of the Clif Bar cyclo-cross team have become synonymous with US 'cross excellence. Now the junior development wing of program is stepping up to send three riders on a European campaign over the holidays.

    With a schedule similar to the Euro 'Cross camp run by Geoff Proctor, three Clif Bar juniors and their chaperone will live and race in Belgium for two weeks. They'll fly out of Boulder, Colorado, at the end of the week and start racing at the Namur World Cup on December 23. Juniors can only race twice a week in Belgium, but they hope to time it right and fit in six races, finishing up with the Bpost Bank Trophee in Baal on January 1.

    Elite rider and team manager Mitchell Hoke will take juniors Maxx Chance, 16, Spencer Downing, 17, and Ian McPherson, 17, on the first of what Clif Bar team director Ben Turner hopes will become an annual trip. Turner said news that Proctor's camp might have fewer spots for junior racers this year prompted the idea.

    “It seemed like a good time to get all three of my crew over there without stressing out the system that Geoff has,” Turner said. “That way he can take six of his own, and we'll have all three of our guys getting the same experience.”

    And that European experience is crucial for young US riders hoping to compete at the top international level.

    “I think it's really the thing that teaches them how to race and improve their racing strategy and toughness for here when there racing against their own counterparts,” Turner said. “But when they go to do Worlds and this other European racing they just get this crash course where thy sink or swim.”

    Hoke, who first floated the trip idea to Turner, has traveled to Belgium with Proctor's camp several times and took a similar trip on his own last year with teammate Troy Wells.

    “He felt they had a pretty good system...

  • USA Cycling rescues cyclo-cross Worlds after Exergy shortfall

    Excitement is in the air for the world championships coming to Louisville in February
    Article published:
    December 18, 2012, 17:10 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Will cover funding with Louisville Sports Commission

    With just over six weeks until Louisville, Kentucky is scheduled to host the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, USA Cycling and the Louisville Sports Commission have had to step in and take over running the event after a reported $250,000 sponsorship shortfall threatened the very existence of the race, USA Cycling announced today.

    USA Cycling installed its own race promoter, Micah Rice, the VP of National Events, to take over running the operations from Louisville 2013's Joan Hanscom and Bruce Fina, but Rice told Cyclingnews that he expects the current staff to remain involved.

    "We are taking a hard look at everything right now, and we are in the process of figuring out all the contract pieces," Rice said, "but we don't expect USA Cycling to waltz in and for Bruce and Joan to walk away. We are eight [sic] weeks out, and it would be impossible to run the event without their knowledge."

    Rice will oversee the flurry of activity which will take place over the next month and a half before the UCI World Championships are scheduled to take place. Rice said that while course itself is set, there is still plenty of work to be done on the logistics surrounding the event.

    "In terms of course, it's all buttoned down. I was at the USGP test event [in November] and watched all of it go down. The course is going to be fantastic. It's obviously the other pieces surrounding it: Some things are done, but I will say it's a bit alarming as to what hasn't been done. We're scrambling hard to get those pieces together. I've been on the phone a lot with the Louisville Sports Commission and Joan to pull all the pieces together.

    "I'm not worried, the race is going to happen, but it is going to take 100 per cent effort to make sure we're ready to go."

    The main difficulties came about due to the failure of Exergy Development Group to meet its contractual payment schedule and financial obligations to the race. Despite

  • Nash returns to 'cross in great style

    Katerina Nash finishes up
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 2:16 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Luna racer back in action after much needed break

    Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) made her cyclo-cross World Cup debut during the fifth round in Namur, Belgium on Sunday afternoon. The US-based Czech rider immediately managed a strong second place finish at short distance behind the seemingly unbeatable World Cup leader Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective).

    "You hope for great things ahead of a race but achieving them is different. It's a challenging course, so I wanted to ride a clean race," Nash told Cyclingnews.

    The late cyclo-cross World Cup presence from Nash comes after a good but busy mountain bike season which concluded with her participation at the London Olympics in August. In the cross country event, Nash had high expectations after some good World Cup performances but she finished on a disappointing 14th place.

    "I took a good break after the mountain bike season. I also had health issues: back problems. First, I just wanted to get healthy. I really needed a break and put in some miles. Now, it's the first time I am doing the Christmas series here in Belgium. I am staying near Antwerp, it seemed like the most central location," Nash said.

    Next month, the cyclo-cross world championships will be held in Louisville, Kentucky. It'll be the first time the world championships are held outside the European continent. Despite being of Czech nationality, Nash is an almost adopted American citizen, living in Truckee, California.

    "I got my cyclo-cross start in the USA. I raced in Louisville many times. I do have a lot of fans in the USA," she said.

    On Wednesday, Nash will take part in the sixth World Cup round of the season in Zolder, Belgium.

  • Page grabs ticket for cyclo-cross worlds

    Jonathan Page
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 15:27 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    American relieved after prolonged struggle

    What seemed nearly impossible turned into reality on Sunday afternoon. Without the financial support of a main sponsor Jonathan Page managed to perform as a true pro at the fifth round of the cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur, Belgium. At the spectacular course on the citadel in Namur the American rider bounced back from behind to finish 15th at the finish.

    With this top-15 World Cup result in the bag Page receives an automatic selection for the cyclo-cross world championships in Louisville, Kentucky next month. A mud-clad Page released a sigh of relief and showed a huge smile after crossing the line.

    "In terms of taking everything out of it this was my best race of the season. I was out of range some time," Page said.

    During the four previous World Cup rounds Page didn't get any closer than 29th place which made a top-15 result seem nearly impossible. When Page crossed the finish line in 29th place after the first lap in Namur he was - once again - far away from a ticket to Louisville. Two laps later he was still only 27th.

    "I flatted after two laps on the uphill after the start. At the pit I was riding on the rim. That was some mental training. Already before the race I knew it would be a mental race. It would be very easy to give up," Page said.

    "I did not have a great start, to say the least. I didn't know in what position I rode. As the race went on I saw a big group ahead of me. Then I left about five riders behind me in one lap [fifth lap]. Around the course people were informing me about my position. Now, I would be lying if I say that I wouldn't be happy. It's very good for my season and for potential sponsorship. I've been struggling for a long time now so I'm very happy."

    The results from the runner-up at the cyclo-cross world championships of 2007 in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium have been moderate, to say the...

  • Pauwels surprises everybody including himself

    A muddy Kevin Pauwels wins the Namur World Cup
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 18:19 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Muddy Namur victory puts Belgian in the running for World Cup overall

    The win by Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) at the fifth round of the UCI cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur, Belgium on Sunday came unexpectedly. The numerous climbs around the Namur citadel suited the light rider, but several rain showers turned the course into a muddy affair, which usually isn't his cup of tea.

    The Belgian rider overcame his own doubts and crushed the opposition with a blistering performance. His second World Cup win puts him at only 11 points behind World Cup leader Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the general classification.

    At the post-race press conference, the quiet Belgian fielded questions from reporters.

    Question: Did you benefit from the elevation changes on the course?

    Pauwels: On most of the climbing sections, you had to run so, that wasn't in my favour.

    Q: What did you think - kick off the race with a bang and see what happens?

    P: No, I took a pull, rode at my own pace and [Francis] Mourey got dropped. I rode most of the race at my own pace, and I did that well. I thought Niels [Albert] would come back. As soon as I had 30 seconds, I knew I had a good chance to win.

    Q: Are you relieved that you won? It's only your third victory this season.

    P: No, not quite, but I am happy with it. There's always been someone who's very good. It was Sven [Nys] or Niels. That makes it very hard to win.

    Q: You're back up with the best in the World Cup standings...

    P: Yes, I didn't expect that. I'm not focused on the World Cup really. Both Zolder and Hoogerheide are courses that suit me. Also Rome, I've heard it suits me, too. The course is in a city park. We'll see.

    Q: You've been going better since the race in Antwerp. What happened?

  • Nys not in retiring mood as World Cup resumes in Zolder

    Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) wins again in Overijse
    Article published:
    December 26, 2012, 11:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Veteran Belgian still motivated

    Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) resumes his battle for top honours in the cyclo-cross World Cup in Zolder on December 26. Although he currently lies second in the overall standings behind Niels Albert, the veteran Nys has been the standout performer on the cyclo-cross circuit thus far this winter.

    Indeed, such has been Nys’ form that the 36-year-old has admitted that he is considering extending his career beyond next winter, which he previously suggested would his last as a professional rider.

    “Until a month ago, I was sure that I would quit in March 2014,” Nys told Sporza. “It was clear. I knew what I wanted to do with my future. But now I really don’t know.”

    “It’s strange because I was at peace with the idea that I was stopping. But I get that question every now and then and it makes me insecure.”

    Nys’ form this winter has understandably left him more reluctant to hang up his wheels, but he acknowledged that he also had ample personal motivation to step away from the sport in a year’s time.

    “After the season, I must rethink, together with my family. My son is older and I want to see him grow up,” he said. “It’s dangerous to say that you will keep racing at a time when everything is going well. But if I continue, I will have the same motivation and keep giving everything to the last day.”

    Nys’ motivation has certainly shown no sign of waning in 2012-2013. While he lies just ten points behind Albert in the World Cup standings, his primary objective is to capture the second rainbow jersey of his elite career at the world championships in Louisville at the end of...

  • Albert new leader of UCI 'cross rankings

    World champion Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus)
    Article published:
    December 28, 2012, 0:19 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Compton remains atop women's standings

    Just three days after the Namur, Belgium round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, the 'cross peloton contested the sixth round of the eight-round series in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium on Wednesday. After tallying the points earned at the latest 'cross World Cup, there was little movement in the standings, but in the men's rankings, however, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) moved into the overall lead with 2,176 points. Former UCI 'cross rankings leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor), fifth in Zolder, dropped from first to third (2,059 points), with Zolder World Cup winner Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) climbing one spot to second, just 26 points in arrears of Albert.

    Belgium's Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) remains in fourth overall (1,440 points) followed by young Dutchman Lars van der Haar (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team) in fifth (1,369).

    US champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) moved up one position to once again hold a place in the top ten at 10th place (1,087 points).

    Belgium remains firmly in the lead of the elite men's nations rankings with 6,385 points, with the Netherlands a distant second at 2,669 points followed by the Czech Republic in third at 2,535 points.

    While Marianne Vos won her first World Cup of the season on Wednesday in Zolder, runner-up Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) continues to lead the overall elite women's standings with 2,400 points. European champion Helen Wyman (Kona), 7th in Zolder, holds steady in second at 1,874 points followed by Vos in third at 1,760 points.

    The Netherlands continues to lead the elite women's nations standings at...

  • Nys goes after beer-throwing spectator in Loenhout

    Sven Nys had a miserable time in Loenhout
    Article published:
    December 28, 2012, 22:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian champion abandons bpost Bank Trophy round

    After suffering two crashes and a mechanical in a horrendously muddy course in Loenhout, Belgian champion Sven Nys was at the end of his rope. Trailing leader Niels Albert by more than a minute, he tried to limit his losses in the bpost Bank Trophy series, which is run on cumulative time, chasing hard through greasy, pitted mud bogs.

    To top it off, on each lap, in the same stretch of the course, Nys was assaulted with a barrage of beer. In the final lap, coated in mud, Nys ran through that same section when, for the seventh time in a row, a beer cup hit him in the leg. Even though he could fight for his place in the overall classification, the Landbouwkrediet rider decided he'd rather exact his revenge than pedal on in pursuit of seconds.

    "I could continue my pursuit, but I had had enough," Nys said to Sporza afterward. He plunged into the crowd, making a bee-line for the offender, who ran in the opposite direction rather than face the wrath of the 'cannibal' of cyclo-cross.

    "I had planned it in advance," Nys continued. "If he throws it in the seventh lap, I'm not going to go quietly."

    Making contact with the youthful fan, Nys was quick to confront him about his behavior, choosing words over fists to settle the score.

    "I asked him, 'Why? Does this make sense?' He apologized. But nothing more than 'sorry' came. He was obviously pretty drunk. I did not get aggressive. Throwing beer is low-down and does not belong in cross. We are not animals. After the seventh time I was tired. Everyone deserves a little respect."

    By not finishing the race, Nys tumbled five minutes down the classification, and is now over six minutes behind series leader and Loenhout winner Niels Albert.

    "I did not finish and I can forget about the classification," Nys said. "I could have continued my fight for second place in...