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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 31, 2014

Date published:
January 31, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Australian Lisa Jacobs set for Cyclo-cross Worlds debut

    Lisa Jacobs enjoyed the long solo ride as she claimed the KOM jersey
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 22:23 GMT
    Aaron S. Lee

    Two podiums in Belgium prepare Australian champion

    The reigning Australian women's national cyclo-cross champion finds herself with two podium finishes in Belgium this past weekend. Lisa Jacobs took a first-place finish at the Destelbergen Cyclo-cross (CX) on Saturday and a second at the Flemish Cross-Cup in Assenede the following day, all in preparation for her Cyclo-cross World Championship debut this weekend in the village of Hoogerheide.

    The 2010 South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) scholarship winner and former national team rider, has traded the epic routes of the women's Giro d'Italia for mud-caked paddocks of rural Australia – and now The Netherlands.

    While not the first Australian to participate in the CX Worlds, that honour falling to Lewis Rattray in 2012, Jacobs does have the distinction of being involved with the first Australian team to compete at the event, joining fellow Australian elite female Melissa Anset, who finished second at Destelbergen and fifth at Assenede, elite male Nick Both, as well as the U23 men's duo of  Alexander Meyland and Tom Chapman, and U19 men's representative  Nicholas Smith.

    Known affectionately as ‘Ride Happy' from the former roadie-turned-crossie's blog site and Twitter handle by the same name, Jacobs is "releasing her inner child" according the 32-year-old Jacobs who originally turned to elite cycling in 2007 following two years working in London as an attorney.

    "Cyclo-cross a ridiculous amount of fun because anything can be thrown at you," the Adelaide-born Jacobs told Cyclingnews. "It's running up stairs or jumping over logs. It's riding road, dirt and gravel sections...

  • Stybar will race cyclo-cross Worlds in Hoogerheide

    Zdenek Stybar comes onto the road, after a good Cyclocross season
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 14:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider given green light

    Former cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar has decided after all to take the start at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide on Sunday. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider made the call after turning a lap of the course on Thursday.

    "I'm in good condition," Stybar said. "I came from important training sessions in Mallorca and I'm ready to compete. I like the parcours even if today I couldn't really train on all of it. As I said a few weeks ago, if I decide to do Worlds it is because I feel that I can do well. The podium would be a great result even if the competitors are really strong, especially Sven Nys who showed his class in the last races. I will do my best to be competitive."

    Stybar is primarily focussed on the road season, in particular looking to improve upon his sixth place finish in Paris-Roubaix of last year, but is not quite willing to entirely give up his first passion - cyclo-cross. After winning the 'cross in Bredene in December, Stybar said he would consider riding the Worlds but only if the course suited him.

    Recent rains have made portions of the course muddy, and more precipitation - probably heavy - is predicted for Saturday. "Normally the parcours would be hard because of the rain the last few days. I like these kind of conditions even if I hope it won't rain on Sunday," he said. "From today till the last day of the race, I won't do much following some decent training in Mallorca. I will take advantage of the next days to recover a bit and find a good set up and feeling with my bike."

    Defending world champion Sven Nys had speculated yesterday that...

  • Trebon hoping for top 15 finish at cyclo-cross Worlds

    Cannondale's Ryan Trebon had an off-day in Nommay
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 19:11 GMT
    Pat Malach

    American hoping to re-sign with Cannondale

    Two-time US national champion Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) is hoping for a top-15 result Sunday at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.

    "Honest expectations are top 15 and I will be satisfied," Trebon told Cyclingnews via email while in Ypres, Belgium preparing for the race. "It's a challenging course, and if the legs and head are there, I should do well."

    Earlier this month, Trebon finished second to Rapha-Focus rider Jeremy Powers in the US national championships before heading across the Atlantic at acclimate for Worlds. During his only European race this year, the final World Cup in Nommay, France last weekend, Trebon finished a disappointing 45th, more than six minutes behind winner Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea).

    "I was just really really bad, embarrassingly slow," he said of that race. "This trip was easy, and I adapted to the time change pretty quick. Usually I am OK on the first weekend of racing after flying to Europe, but not this year. I just had zero power. I didn't even really race, just road around until the finish."

    Trebon is obviously hoping for a better performance on the course in Hoogerheide, which he said offers a good mix of terrain and challenges.

    "Some sections even in the mud are quick; some sections, especially the lower field, are just a giant tractor pull," he said. " I think the course, like every other one out there, favors the strongest, most-prepared athlete."

    Trebon wouldn't pick a favorite for top finisher among the US men, but he did say that he expected a "good battle" in the women's race between US champion Katie Compton and...

  • Gallery: 'Cross Worlds course recon

    Belgium's Yannick Peeters will be a threat for a medal in the junior men's 'cross world championship
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 22:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Stybar checks out Hoogerheide circuit

    With the 2014 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships only days away, riders took advantage of the opportunity to pre-ride the parcours on Thursday.

    Perhaps the most high-profile rider out on the course was the Czech Republic's Zdenek Stybar, who made the decision to start Sunday's elite men's world championship after his recon of the circuit in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.

    The two-time 'cross world champion has only raced a handful of races this winter as his focus has shifted to the road for his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team, but the 28-year-old Czech found the course to his liking and will seek another rainbow jersey on Sunday.

    Most feedback from the riders indicates a faster than normal course at the moment, with only some heavy mud in the lower meadow. Rain is predicted for Saturday's junior men and elite women's races before the skies clear for the men on Sunday so conditions will change rapidly.

    Click here to view the gallery.

  • Vos pleased with Hoogerheide 'cross Worlds course

    Marianne Vos wins the final world cup in Nommay
    Article published:
    January 31, 2014, 3:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Home crowd provides both pressure and motivation

    For the second time in her career Marianne Vos will seek a cyclo-cross world championship on home soil in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, and five years after winning her second of six world titles in Hoogerheide, the 26-year-old Dutchwoman thinks the parcours for Saturday afternoon's race is better than ever.

    "I think the course became more beautiful," Vos told Omroep Brabant. "It has become a more complete 'cross course. It is also more compact, and that is much nicer for the spectators.

    "For the riders the parcours is nicer and it's become fairer. To win here would absolutely be the best."

    Heading into the women's world championship race on Saturday, Vos will toe the start line as the defending champion and will seek the sixth straight and seventh overall cyclo-cross title of her career. The USA's Katie Compton, winner of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup for the second straight year, is expected to provide the stiffest competition for Vos in her own bid to secure her first cyclo-cross world championship.

    A large, vocal, partisan crowd will certainly be out in force in support of Vos, and she's looking to draw on her extensive world championship experience to remain focused.

    "There is some extra pressure because a lot of people will travel to Hoogerheide especially for me, but on the other hand that is great motivation."

  • California Giant-Specialized fields six at cyclo-cross Worlds

    Yannick Eckman (CalGiant Berry Farms) riding near the leaders
    Article published:
    January 31, 2014, 17:14 GMT
    Ted Burns

    Development program represented by Owen, Miller, Anderson, Eckmann, Kaiser and Ortenblad

    Over the last 12 years, the California Giant-Specialized squad has evolved into one of the top development programs in the US. The team's efforts in cyclo-cross and on the road have produced multiple national champions and paved the way for a handful of riders to race professionally. WorldTour riders such as Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), and Evan Huffman (Astana) both benefited from their time with Cal-Giant.

    The program measures its success by the number of riders that go on to have an impact in the professional level, and fully embraces what team General Manager Anthony Gallino describes as a "catch and release mentality".

    At the recent US cyclo-cross nationals in Boulder, Colorado, the team had one of its strongest performances ever and is sending six team members to compete at the 'cross world championships in Hoogerheide. Elle Anderson and Meredith Miller will both be riding in the women's race, while Logan Owen, Yannick Eckmann, Cody Kaiser, and Tobin Ortenblad will represent the US in the under 23 race.

    "Obviously we are ecstatic with the results," said Gallino, who also works at California Giant as a V.P. of Sales. "We promote it as a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. When you can blast champions all over your page, and into the trade media, it's awesome. We've gotten tremendous feedback from customers, vendors, and competitors. It is pretty cool to see."

    The Cal-Giant cyclo-cross program is unique in that it supports riders' efforts to race both domestically and internationally. Meredith Miller, who recently retired from her road racing career, credits the international experience with honing her cyclo-cross skills.

    "Cal-Giant and Anthony have given me the opportunity over the years to be here," said Miller from her European...

  • Powers targets success in Europe

    Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) Made easy work of the sand section
    Article published:
    January 31, 2014, 21:15 GMT
    Ted Burns

    US national champion plans for more racing abroad

    Early in the season Jeremy Powers was intent on one goal, winning US nationals. He achieved that task with a dominating performance in Boulder, Colorado, and has now set his eyes on succeeding in Europe. After finishing 15th at the Nommay World Cup, Powers feels a top 10 finish in Europe is within his reach if the pieces fall into place.

    "I felt like I got my rhythm in the last half, more than I did in the first half," said Powers about his first European race of the season. "Without overanalyzing, it was good. I should have gone a little bit better in the start. I think I was only 20 seconds outside the top 10. "

    Expectation management is always something that top US riders must deal with when they head over to Europe. To succeed requires a level head and positive outlook.

    "I think I know where I stand here," said Powers. "When I look at results, I think in my head, 'There is a chance I can be in that group.' When I watch the races and I see how strong the top five are, I think, 'I'd need to be really, really strong.' Coming over here, I expect to be in and around 15th or better. Had I gotten 24th or something, I would have been a little bit disappointed in that."

    Longer starts, different course styles, and most importantly the weather, mean the races play out differently in Europe. Powers takes a realistic view on how he can perform based on the conditions. The persistent rain, and moisture of the European winters dictate extremely wet and muddy courses, which appear less frequently at American venues. As a result, Powers feels he's less prepared for the European tracks. "If it's deep mud, I adjust my expectations," said Powers. "You are just seeing so much water, and rain, mud, and soft, rockless dirt, it moves and plays so quickly. You are going around corners and the line is literally six to eight inches deep. It's a rut and you...

  • Gallery: More course recon of 'cross Worlds venue

    Marianne Vos seeks her sixth straight cyclo-cross world title and seventh of her career on Saturday afternoon in Hoogerheide
    Article published:
    January 31, 2014, 21:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Friday's final practice sessions in Hoogerheide

    The final pre-event practice sessions for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships took place on Friday morning and afternoon.

    Plenty of this weekend's expected stars took advantage of the opportunity to pre-ride the parcours in Hoogerheide, Netherlands and for now the circuit is predominantly dry.

    However, rain is forecast for Friday evening and is expected to extend into Saturday afternoon making for some muddy racing for the four world championship events on tap for the weekend.

    Click here to view the gallery.