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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 11, 2013

Date published:
January 11, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Denuwelaere to make 'cross World Cup debut in Rome

    Jan Denuwelaere got a "sorry" cake from Zdenek Stybar after they clashed in a previous race
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 21:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian selected after Essen victory

    After being passed over all season for the Belgian team for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Jan Denuwelaere will finally be allowed to race in the round in Rome on Sunday, January 6.

    Belgian national team coach Rudy De Bie made the selection known today, and thanks to the country's extra slot Denuwelaere was the 10th rider on the squad thanks to his win in the bpost Bank Trofee in Essen on December 22.

    Also in the team are world champion Niels Albert, World Cup leader Sven Nys, who is currently recovering from a bout of bronchitis that kept him out of his eponymous GP Sven Nys on January 1, Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout, Rob Peeters, Bart Wellens, Tom Meeusen, Bart Aernouts and Dieter Vanthourenhout.

    The World Cup round in Rome is the seventh of eight rounds in the 2012-2013 season. Nys is tied on points with Albert in the overall standings, while Pauwels and Vantornout occupy the third and fourth places. Dutch rider Lars van der Haar breaks up the Belgian domination in the fifth spot ahead of Wellens and Meeusen.

    The final race will take place in Hoogerheide, Belgium on January 20.

  • Meeusen excluded from Rome cyclo-cross World Cup

    Tom Meeusen in Plzen
    Article published:
    January 04, 2013, 21:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian visited doctor under doping investigation

    24-year-old Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) will not be allowed to race in this weekend's UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. The Belgian federation decided to leave him at home after he was linked to a doctor who is under investigation for doping.

    Telenet-Fidea manager Hans van Kasteren insisted that Meeusen was not a suspect in the investigation. "Tom is part of an investigation into a doctor," van Kasteren said to Sporza.  "He visited the doctor and that's why he's been dragged into this. He's definitely not a suspect in the doping investigation, because then he'd be suspended, by both the federation and the team."

    Meeusen is due to be questioned by the prosecutor next week, but will be kept from the weekend's competition. "It's a drastic decision to keep him out of the World Cup, but the federation has to obey the laws of the UCI," van Kasteren said.

    Meeusen was devastated by the news, taking to Twitter to protest his innocence. "I am part of a doping investigation, but I have nothing to hide. I am not a cheater!" Meeusen stated.

    The 2012-2013 'cross season has been a near disaster for Meeusen. He made the podium only twice, in Kalmthout and Sint-Niklaas, and had three weeks out of competition following a dramatic crash on a sand dune descent in the Zonhoven Superprestige that damaged his ribs.

    "I am just now fully recovered from all of the problems that plagued me in the last two months," Meeusen said. "It started when I was on the road to the 'cross in Diegem and suddenly I was stopped by the police. That is when my camper was searched, and of course they found nothing. I think it is terribly unfortunate that I cannot start in Rome. My father was already there with the camper."

    Meeusen will be replaced with Crelan-KDL rider Sven Vanthourenhout.

  • Gallery: Rome Cyclo-cross World Cup practice session

    Belgian riders pre-ride the World Cup venue in Rome.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 21:40 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Dry, sunny conditions for penultimate World Cup round

    The UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup returns to Italy on Sunday, January 6 for the first time since October 2009 with a full compliment of racing featuring elite men and women, U23 men and junior men. After a punishing stint of racing in Belgium and the Netherlands during the holiday season, featuring plenty of inclement weather and taxing, muddy circuits, the 'cross peloton enjoyed warm weather and sunny skies in Rome today as riders had the opportunity to train on the circuit, one day prior to competition.

    The Rome, Italy World Cup event is the penultimate race for all categories, the seventh of eight for the elites and the fifth of six for the U23 and junior categories. The elite men's overall World Cup title is still up for grabs with the season's two main protagonists, Belgian champion Sven Nys and world champion Niels Albert, tied on points with 415 each. After Nys's first two World Cup rounds in the Czech Republic were marred by crashes and mechanicals the Belgian champion has been on a tear, winning three World Cup rounds and finishing second in the other. Having written off his 2012-2013 World Cup campaign, Nys is suddenly in the lead with momentum on his side.

    Niels Albert, however, is still more than capable of regaining and securing the World Cup lead and the final two rounds in Rome, Italy and Hoogerheide, the Netherlands should see a fierce contest between the powerhouse Belgian duo. Defending World Cup champion Kevin Pauwels holds third overall and trails Nys and Albert by 26 points.

    Barring disaster on Sunday, US champion and World Cup leader Katie Compton should achieve one of her season's goals of winning the elite women's overall World Cup title. Winner of four World Cup rounds and runner-up in the other two, Compton has enough of a points cushion over second-placed Nikki Harris that she just needs a top-15 finish in Rome to secure the overall...

  • Page receives title sponsorship for US 'cross nationals

    Jonathan Page enjoyed one of his best results of the season in Baal
    Article published:
    January 06, 2013, 22:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vermont-based firm ENGVT supports Page's bid for fourth elite title

    American cyclo-cross stalwart Jonathan Page, who's faced a rocky 2012-2013 season with the absence of a title sponsor, received a welcome boost today as Vermont-based engineering firm ENGVT announced that it would step in as title sponsor for the US elite men's 'cross championship, taking place January 13 in Madison, Wisconsin. The sponsorship agreement is limited to the weekend of Nationals and will give Page the support he needs to contend for his fourth elite men's title.

    "We're proud to bring Jonathan into the ENGVT family," said ENGVT president Jerry Chabot. "He embodies the same values that drive us every day: hard work, integrity, commitment and dedication."

    Chabot further said that he'd long been weighing the benefits of professional level sponsorship, but Page's compelling and consistently improving 2012-2013 campaign gave the company the push it needed to get into the game. "It's been a pleasure to cheer for Jonathan for so many years, but to see him come into such strong form, we felt the time was right to show our support on a whole new level. While Jonathan is still seeking a long-term title sponsor, we jumped at the opportunity to be in his corner for Madison."

    "Jerry has been in my corner for 25 years and it's great to have his company behind me," said Page. "We're like family and I'm proud to wear the ENGVT name on my chest in Madison and hope to bring home the Stars and Stripes."

    Page won three consecutive US elite men's titles from 2002 through 2004. He's since placed on the podium in all but one national championship race from 2005 to 2012 but a fourth title has proved elusive.

    Page announced in September 2012 that he'd be without title sponsor Planet Bike for the current season, but nonetheless contested his usual early season races in the US followed by a European campaign from his base in Belgium with the help of...

  • Albert and Compton continue to lead UCI 'cross rankings

    World champion Niels Albert on the podium after finishing second at the World Cup round in Rome.
    Article published:
    January 08, 2013, 18:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Undefeated van der Poel dominates junior men's standings

    The UCI announced its latest cyclo-cross rankings today following the penultimate World Cup round contested in Rome, Italy on Sunday with no changes at the top of any of the standings. World champion Niels Albert remains in the lead of the elite men's rankings with an accumulation of 2,356 points. The BKCP-Powerplus Belgian has had a solid run of results in recent weeks with wins at the Azencross round of the Bpost Bank Trofee series and the Diegem round of the Superprestige series. Albert then notched a third place finish in Baal at the GP Sven Nys followed by a second place finish in round seven of the World Cup in Rome. Albert also leads overall in both the World Cup and Bpost Bank Trofee series.

    Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) soloed to victory at the World Cup in Rome plus the GP Sven Nys and along with podium finishes at Azencross and Diegem moves from third to second in the UCI rankings with 2,299 points.

    Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) dropped one position from second to third at 2,200 points after a bout of sickness kept him from starting his eponymous GP Sven Nys and the lingering after effects resulted in just a 20th place finish at the Rome World Cup round.

    Fourth through ninth in the elite men's standings remains unchanged with Klaas Vantornout, Lars van der Haar, Rob Peeters, Tom Meeusen, Bart Aernouts and Francis Mourey holding fourth through ninth respectively. The Czech Republic's Radomir Simunek (Kwadro-Stannah), however, moves into 10th position following a...

  • UCI gets new sponsor for cyclo-cross Worlds

    Helen Wyman (Kona) takes the hole-shot in Louisville today
    Article published:
    January 10, 2013, 3:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian software company AFAS signs on

    The UCI has announced a new partner for the 2013 Cyclo-cross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky - Belgian software company AFAS Software.

    Promotion of the event was taken over in December by USA Cycling, which has been seeking new sponsors to cover a shortfall after the loss of Exergy as the title sponsor.

    USA Cycling's Micah Rice told Cyclingnews, "We are happy to see all of the support coming from overseas and we can't wait for the event and all of the European spectators who are coming to visit Louisville."

    UCI Marketing and Events Director Gerrit Middag said that the latest deal demonstrated the enthusiasm for the traditionally European event, which as part of the expansion of cycling across the globe will be held in the USA for the first time in history.

    “The 2013 edition of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships will be historic in that it is being held outside Europe for the first time,” he said. “It is a bonus for us that an important company such as AFAS wishes to be part of this major event.”

    The 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 2 and 3.

  • Meeusen questioned for three hours about blood-doping doctor

    Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea)
    Article published:
    January 10, 2013, 13:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian 'crosser says nationals this weekend will be “difficult”

    Tom Meeusen was questioned by federal prosecutors for three hours Wednesday concerning his connection to Dr. Chris Mertens in an alleged blood doping scheme. The cyclo-cross rider received the public support of his Telenet-Fidea team, but said he does not know how he will do in this weekend's national championships.

    The Belgian doctor is under investigation for for the alleged practice of ozone therapy, an undetectable form of blood doping in which blood is extracted, mixed with ozone and then re-injected.

    Meeusen, like Lotto Belisol's Jurgen van den Broeck, said that he visited Dr. Mertens for treatment of a sinus infection.

    His mobile home was searched earlier, and he was held out of last weekend's World Cup race in Rome, but his team has not placed him on inactive status. On Monday, he faced the Belgian cycling federation on the matter. “The interrogation of the federation was not easy, but this (the federal prosecutor, ed.) was even more intense,” he said, according to the Belgian media.

    Hans Kasteren, general manage of the Telenet-Fidea team, stands behind his rider. “I looked Tom in the eye and asked, 'Did you use doping?' He denied it. I believe him,” he told

    "He has also not been treated with ozone therapy, there is no blood doping. I have it in black and white on paper, signed."

    Meeusen, 24, must now turn his mind to the Belgian national 'cross championships this coming weekend, which he admitted was difficult. “Before my questioning on Wednesday I trained in the rain for half an hour, but my head is not there.  I will do my best Sunday in Mol for the people who support me – my father, my girlfriend, the people on the...

  • Gallery: Training on Belgium's 'cross championship course

    Kevin Pauwels powers through the sand.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2013, 0:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mol set to host Belgian 'cross nationals this weekend

    Perhaps no national 'cross championship is as hotly contested and heavily attended (30,000+ spectators are expected) as Belgium's, and this coming weekend in Mol the coveted champion's jerseys are once again up for grabs. Belgian titles for the junior categories will be contested on Saturday, January 12 while the elite men, elite women and U23 men will seek national championships on Sunday, January 13.

    Defending elite men's champion Sven Nys's presence is still in doubt as the ailing Crelan-Euphony rider tries to fully recover from the ailment which prevented him from riding his eponymous GP Sven Nys and then contributed to a lowly 20th place finish at last Sunday's World Cup round in Rome, Italy. The legendary 'crosser already has eight elite Belgian titles in his palmares but full recover in advance of the world championships in Louisville, Kentucky may compel the Cannibal from Baal to forego competing.

    Several contenders for the elite men's title, such as Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout, Rob Peeters and Bart Aernouts, took to the venue today for training. Click on the gallery to the right to view photos from today's training session.