- Article published:
- November 14, 2011, 18:25
- Peter Hymas
Back-to-back podium finishes for talented 19-year-old
Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) uncorked her best-ever weekend of elite-level cyclo-cross at Saturday and Sunday's Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Derby City Cup, notching a third place finish on Saturday behind the top-two ranked 'cross riders in the world, Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant-Off-Road Team) and Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), followed on Sunday by an even better performance in which she outsprinted Nash for second.
The podium celebrations were even more poignant for Antonneau and Compton as the talented 19-year-old is coached by Compton. The Rabobank-Giant star soloed to victory each day in Louisville, Kentucky, and was beaming as she awaited the finish of her pupil on both Saturday and Sunday.
Compton was modest in her assessment of the role she played in Antonneau's performance.
"I give her guidance, but it's all her," said Compton. "She's the one that's putting the hard work into it, doing everything she needs to and she has the talent to be here. It's kind of like my guidance but she's pedalling the bike."
Antonneau was ecstatic with her podium finishes at the Eva Bandman Park venue in Louisville which will host the cyclo-cross world championships in 2013.
"I'm so excited. Having Worlds here in 2013 makes it extra-motivating," said Antonneau.
Antonneau showed remarkable tenacity on both days as she rode herself into contention after missing the initial selections.
"I made a few mistakes on the first lap that separated me from the lead group," Antonneau said regarding Saturday's race. "I kept chasing, except I kept making mistakes, I think because it was so fast and I was on the whole time.
"I kind of got my act together around the middle of the second lap and I just kept picking people off, pushing and chasing as hard as I could."
Antonneau was only seconds behind the duo of Nash and French champion Caroline Mani (CC Etupes) on the final lap, and a crash by Mani provided the opportunity to claim third, 10 seconds behind a relieved Nash.
"Kaitlin was coming, she was catching up, and I was glad we were done when we were done," said Nash.
On Sunday Antonneau learned from her mistakes from the previous day and this time made contact with a trio, Nash, Meredith Miller (California Gian-Specialized) and her Cannondale p/b Cyclocross teammate Nicole Duke, battling for second behind Compton.
On the final lap the race for second came down to a dual between Antonneau and Nash with the ever-modest 19-year-old outsprinting the Czech champion and Exergy USGP series leader.
"When I got onto the pavement I just sprinted as fast as I could," said Antonneau.
Antonneau, the reigning US U23 cyclo-cross champion, has been a consistent top-10 performer all season in the elite women's races and has steadily improved her results as the season's progressed. She opened her Exergy USGP account with 11th and 8th place finishes at the Planet Bike Cup in late September, both won by Nash.
On the first weekend in October Antonneau notched back-to-back fourth place finishes in the NEPCX-Gran Prix of Gloucester, won both days by British champion Helen Wyman (Kona).
The next weekend Antonneau returned to Exergy USGP competition where she placed seventh and eighth place in rounds three and four at the New Belgium Cup, won by Nash and Compton respectively.
Prior to her consecutive podium finishes in Louisville, Kentucky, Antonneau again showed remarkable consistency at the Cincy3 trifecta of races, where she finished third on the opening Darkhorse Cyclo-Stampede International, followed by fourth place finishes at the Java Johnny's-Lionheart International and Harbin Park International, all won by Compton.
"She's getting stronger every season, just a great bike racer and she's learning a ton," said Compton. "It's about making sure she's doing everything right. She's easy to coach. I just tell her what she needs to do and she does it. She works hard and she's talented, so she makes my job easy. I'm really excited to see how she progresses."
"She's the best in the world," said Antonneau of her coach. "I learn a lot from her and she helps me so much."
- Article published:
- November 14, 2011, 21:00
- Brecht Decaluwé
Riders blame each other for a lack of initiative
After the third round of the Superprestige Series in Zogge, Belgium, the rivalry in the Belgian cyclo-cross scene is mounting. Veteran Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Belgian champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) blamed the Sunweb-Revor camp for a lack of initiative in their home race.
World champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Cycling Team) opened the debates halfway through the race and none of the Belgians ended up chasing the Czech down. Belgian media will surely heat up the debate as a similar feat at the world championships in January would be unacceptable for the Belgian camp.
The controversy brings back memories to the rivalry between Belgians Nys and Mario De Clercq during the world championships in the year 2000, which was exploited by Dutchman Richard Groenendaal. More than a decade later De Clercq - a triple cyclo-cross world champion - is currently team director at the Sunweb-Revor team from Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout while Nys is still among the best riders of the cyclo-cross scene.
"I had the impression that Mario De Clercq told his boys not to lead too much because that would be costly in the final laps. I know him for 20 years, so I know his tactics by now," Nys said.
When Stybar accelerated, he was with by Nys, Albert and Pauwels, but none of them reacted and in one single lap on an extremely fast course, Stybar collected a lead of more than 20 seconds. The gap proved to be unbridgeable and the world champion won his first big race of the season ahead of respectively Pauwels, Nys and Albert. The latter remains overall leader in the Superprestige series.
Nys was already fuming before the race had even started as he felt race organizer and Sunweb-Revor manager Jurgen Mettepenningen adapted the course in a way that favoured Mettepenningen's rider Pauwels. "The course has clearly been modified. The sand pit has been removed and there are fewer corners that bring the speed back to zero, which makes it hard to create gaps. There are more steep ramps that suit Kevin to perfection. I'm not stupid. This course is made for him and clearly not for me, it's a road race. You can lose a good position in the overall classification in the Superprestige series here. My home race in Baal [GP Sven Nys, January 1] favours me as well but the course hasn't changed a single bit in 10 years," Nys said.
Mettepenningen didn't understand what Nys was fuming about. "The course hasn't changed a single millimetre, there's no space to do so," Mettepenningen stated before attributing the reason Nys blamed him to something different. "Nys is no longer the best of the pack and he can't admit that," Mettepenningen stated while the actual race was going on.
The dogfight continued after the race. Albert entered the debates and didn't understand why the Sunweb-Revor boys didn't react to Stybar's acceleration. "I'm leading the series and Stybar was not too well classified so it wasn't up to me to chase him down. Hats off for Stybar to pull off the trick but the Sunweb-guys rode a wait-and-see tactic. I thought they were out on pulling off a good performance on home soil, but they didn't take any initiative. Pauwels could've ridden for the victory but he opted to wait and gamble. Kevin shouldn't hide and claim he can't do it. He wins every hard race on the calendar so that isn't correct," Albert said.
Nys was still complaining that the course favoured Pauwels, but added that the tactics from Mettepenningen and his riders were negative. Nys didn't try to hide his annoyance and especially the way Stybar was allowed to gain half a minute without any Sunweb-Revor rider taking initiative bothered him. "Right away I knew he was gone for good. For the first time this season I rode aggressively to keep my position in the top-three of the pack. I wasn't riding to make somebody else lose but to win myself. In order to do so, Pauwels needed to lose energy. In the sprint, I was beaten anyway," Nys said.
The 35 year-old raged on, and after taking on De Clercq, the next on his list was Pauwels. "Clearly one rider is a level stronger than the rest nowadays. If you're the best then you have to take your responsibility and he didn't do that today," Nys said. When asked whether Pauwels was strong enough today to react on Stybar his move Nys explained. "I gave it a try early on and so did Stybar and Albert. When Stybar attacked, I didn't move. It wasn't up to me to chase him down. It's not that Pauwels wasn't strong enough. He came back on us [Albert and Nys] on his own so he must've been very strong," Nys said.
When confronted with Nys' reactions Pauwels - often timid but nowadays picking up the skills to deal with interviews - didn't feel he was to blame. "Mario [De Clercq] tells us where to be in front and where we shouldn't be there; nothing more. Anyway, Nys could've chased Stybar too. I think he was good enough to do so. I don't think the criticism is deservedly," Pauwels said. He realized that chasing Stybar down would've cost one of the three top guns the victory. "Chasing him down would cost a lot of energy. It was a well-timed move from Stybar."
De Clercq claimed he didn't hand out the orders at which Nys was hinting. "In contrary, I would've loved to see my guys at the front from the first lap on. Klaas Vantornout was supposed to be the man to close the gaps but he simply wasn't good enough today," De Clercq said.
The last word was for world champion and winner Stybar. When asked who he felt should have chased him the Czech was unsure. "I think in those circumstances you have to take your responsibility, but it's really difficult. I was the luckiest," Stybar said. When asked whether this was his ideal scenario for the upcoming world championships Stybar smiled, "Let's hope!"
- Article published:
- November 15, 2011, 17:51
- Peter Hymas
'Crossers preview Louisville's 2013 world championship venue
The best cyclo-cross racers in the country contested rounds five and six of the Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross this past weekend in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus), Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team) and Andrew Dillman (Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross) made it a clean sweep of their respective elite men's, elite women's and junior men's categories with victories both Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to the accumulation of all-important UCI points and Exergy USGP series points, riders were able to compete at the Eva Bandman Park venue which will host the 2013 UCI cyclo-cross world championships.
Powers and Compton spoke at their press conferences following Sunday's races, while Cyclingnews caught up with Dillman, a Louisville, Kentucky resident, immediately after his victory on Sunday.
- Article published:
- November 15, 2011, 19:01
- Cycling News
'Cross star could be out for weeks
Belgian cyclo-cross champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) was struck by a car while training, Het Nieuwsblad reported today. According to his team, Albert tried to avoid the car, collided with the rearview mirror and crashed.
Albert came away with the incident with a fractured bone in his hand, and according to his team will have to wear a cast for two weeks and it isn't known yet when he can resume training and competing.
Albert is currently the leader of the Superprestige series after winning rounds in Ruddervoorde and Zonhoven.
Don't count the Belgian star out of his quest for a second world championship title in January, however. In November 2008, Albert crashed during the warm-up of the Superprestige race in Gavere and suffered a torn spleen. He spent several days in intensive care, but came back after two weeks off the bike and won the rainbow jersey two months later.
- Article published:
- November 15, 2011, 20:55
- Peter Hymas
Veteran Belgian 'crosser first to race full US schedule
Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper) has been a consistent performer on the US cyclo-cross circuit this season, the first time a Belgian has contested a full schedule in the States.
Berden notched his best result to date in the Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross series on Sunday, the second day of racing at Louisville, Kentucky's Derby City Cup held at Eva Bandman Park, the site of the 2013 cyclo-cross world championship. Berden outsprinted Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) for fourth place, consolation for flatting out of Saturday's UCI C1-ranked race when he was in the lead group with eventual race winner Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and runner-up Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt).
Additionally, on both days Berden rocketed off the start line in Louisville to claim the hole shot prime.
Berden has claimed one victory this season at the C1-rated Victory Circle Graphix Boulder Cup, two weeks prior to his Louisville weekend, and he has finished on the podium four additional times.
Cyclingnews spoke with Berden on Sunday in Louisville, prior to his fourth place performance. Berden discusses the difference between US and European 'cross courses, he makes an assessment of the Eva Bandman Park venue as a cyclo-cross world championship course in 2013, details his remaining race schedule and talks about whether he'll return to the US for another 'cross campaign next year.
- Article published:
- November 16, 2011, 12:54
- Cycling News
Belgian 'crosser to miss at least several weeks with broken wrist
Niels Albert knew right away something was wrong when his wrist hurt badly and he could hardly move it. Right in the midst of the busiest part of the cyclo-cross season, the Belgian champion was hit by a car whilst training, and will now miss several weeks of competition.
Albert was training on the road with teammae Radomir Simunek when he collided with a moving car. “Through an evasive manoeuver, I bumped against the mirror,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “I fell and immediately it was clear that something was wrong. My left wrist was very painful and I could hardly move it.”
The diagnosis was a crack in the trapezium bone, requiring at least two weeks of a plaster cast.
It was not immediately clear how long he might be out of racing. “This can sometimes be a very nasty injury," said his manager Christoph Roodhooft. “You need a wrist during 'cross. You have to steer, turn, absorb. He will probably have the cast for two weeks. The key question is: how long until he can race again? We have no idea.” He estimated that Albert would not be able to start riding again for four weeks.
“Of course this is misery,” said Albert. “I had already said in September that I first wanted to peak in late November.”
The injury couldn't have come at worse time. Albert had been leading the Superprestige series, but stands to lose that ranking. He will miss at least two double weekends of racing in the various series, Hasselt-Gavere (November 19-20) and Koksijde-Gieten (November 26-27).
That leaves him to concentrate on both the Belgian and World Championships, both of which will be held in January. “It seems logical to me more than ever to focus on the championships.”
- Article published:
- November 17, 2011, 20:37
- Cycling News
'Cross world champion building for title defense in January
Reigning women's cyclo-cross world champion Marianne Vos will make her first start of the 'cross season at the third round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup at Koksijde, Belgium on November 26, according to wielerland.nl.
As she has done in previous years, Vos has skipped the early season's 'cross competition while she recovers from a full season on the road, highlighted by overall victory at the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, three World Cup wins and her fifth straight silver medal in the world championships. Proving her all-around versatility, Vos also claimed a world title on the track in the scratch race at the Apeldoorn, Netherlands-hosted world championships.
With the new rolling points system enacted this 'cross season, however, Vos will still find herself with a front-row start as she's ranked fifth overall on the latest UCI 'cross rankings.
The Koksijde venue will be of particular interest to Vos as it will also serve as the upcoming world championship course in late January. Vos skipped the Koksijde World Cup in 2010, won resoundingly by Katie Compton, but won the 2009 edition with a sprint victory over compatriot Daphny van den Brand.
Vos outlined other races in this season's 'cross campaign including the Superprestige Gieten in her native Netherlands the day after the Koksijde World Cup, the Frankfurter Rad-Cross on December 4, followed by the GVA Trofee-GP Rouwmoer on December 17 and the Namur, Belgium round of the cyclo-cross World Cup the following day.
Between the Frankfurter Rad-Cross and GVA Trofee-GP Rouwmoer Vos will travel to Brabant, South Africa for a one-week training camp.
"I will not be good after the interlude in South Africa, but I'll use the training towards the busy Christmas season and the championships in January," said Vos.
Come January, Vos will lead the Rabobank women's professional team, formed after the Dutch bank took over sponsorship of her current Nederland Bloeit squad.
- Article published:
- November 18, 2011, 00:00
- Peter Hymas
Lost USGP lead in Louisville, hopes to secure overall victory in Bend
Ryan Trebon hasn't ridden his bike since finishing 10th on day two of the Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Derby City Cup on Sunday, but the LTS-Felt rider is optimistic that the knee injury he sustained while pre-riding the course on Sunday won't have any lasting effects. Trebon, who surrendered his USGP lead on Sunday, is hoping to regain the leader's jersey at the series' finale in December.
"I was able to get some physical therapy this morning," Trebon told Cyclingnews on Thursday, while in the midst of a 10-day stint in Florida. "Nothing's broken and I didn't tear any ligaments, it's just a lot of swelling and bruising. I'm bruised pretty much from the middle of my calf all the way up to my crotch.
"I haven't been able to ride yet. I'm going back [to physical therapy] tomorrow morning to get some more treatment on it and hopefully I'll be able to ride in the afternoon for a couple of hours to see how it feels. Right now it's the swelling which isn't giving me any kind of range of motion."
Trebon had already planned the trip to Florida for a respite from the harsher weather in his hometown of Bend, Oregon prior to injuring himself on Sunday.
"I was going to come down here to do some training because the weather's really good. It's warm and sunny versus cold and snowy back in Oregon. It didn't really pan out as well as I hoped, but at least it's someplace nice to sit around and do nothing which is pretty much what I've been doing all week so far."
Trebon entered last weekend's Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross's Derby City Cup with a commanding 42-point overall lead on Jeremy Powers, but events on both Saturday and Sunday contributed to Trebon surrendering the leader's jersey to the Rapha Focus rider.
Trebon finished a frustrating second place to Powers on the opening day of racing at Louisville, Kentucky' Eva Bandman Park, the site of the 2013 cyclo-cross world championships, when a missed shift on the finishing straight cost him an opportunity to sprint head-to-head with Powers for victory.
On Sunday, however, Trebon's troubles were much more serious as he crashed while pre-riding the course and injured his left knee.
"I was just riding on these little rollers where you pre-jump them a little bit," Trebon said. "It was pretty windy and a big gust of wind kicked my front wheel sideways, I landed a bit off balance and went down pretty heavily on my left knee. It hurt right away and started to swell up almost immediately. I didn't think I was going to be able to race but I iced it a bunch and took some ibuprofen. I got on the trainer and it loosened up a bit, enough to race.
"It was pretty uncomfortable during the race but I got through it. I could still put quite a bit of power out but I couldn't physically lift my leg up. During pedalling when my right foot's going down it was bringing my left foot around. It was just I couldn't lift my leg up over the barriers or up the stairs so I was really having to limp through that. It was a really sharp, uncomfortable pain."
Trebon nonetheless persevered to finish in 10th place, but the rangy rider dropped to the ground almost immediately after crossing the line. Clearly in pain, Trebon had to be lifted back up to his feet by Dusty LaBarr, Trebon's mechanic and co-owner of the LTS-Felt team.
Trebon had finished off the podium for the first time in six USGP events and as a result lost his leader's jersey to defending series champion, Jeremy Powers, by six points. Trebon had held the lead since the start of the eight-race national series. Only two rounds remain in the USGP, the Deschutes Brewery Cup on December 10-11 in Trebon's hometown of Bend, Oregon. Prior to that Trebon will race in Iowa's Jingle Cross on the final weekend of November.
"It's a little disappointing because I had a pretty good lead in the series going into last weekend," said Trebon. "To go into the weekend with a 42-point lead and leave with a negative six deficit is never a good thing, but it could have been a lot worse. That I was able to race on Sunday makes it possible that I can win the overall series once we get to Bend, otherwise it would have been an almost insurmountable lead.
"I'll be here (Florida) until next Friday then I'm going to go to Iowa for Jingle Cross. It's a little bit of down time I didn't want to take but I'm going to take it for what it is, get a little bit of recovery in, do a lot of training when I can and get ready for Bend and the rest of the season."