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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 30, 2013

Date published:
December 30, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Major cyclo-cross series could visit USA

    World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) wins the GP Hasselt for the fourth time in his illustrious career
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 16:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Organisers of bpost Bank, Superprestige consider option

    The major Belgian cyclo-cross race series, the bpost Bank Trofee and Superprestige, as well as the UCI World Cup, are ready to bring their brands to the United States. Representatives of the series met with the UCI Cyclo-cross commission this weekend to discuss ways to expand the reach of the discipline outside of Belgium.

    The only barrier to expansion across the Atlantic is the fatigue riders face due to the travel and time zone changes

    Christophe Impens, who works with the bpost Bank Trofee, said there are two important conditions for bringing the races to the USA: "The three series - World Cup, Bpost Bank and Superprestige - must be part of a block, and there must be a ninth race. We do not want any of our current 'crosses to be lost for an American round," he told

    "We want to avoid the riders having to fly back and forth three times, and having to overcome jetlag. Therefore all matches must be completed within a period of 10 days, preferably sometime in September," Impens said.

    In the early season, riders are not yet in top form, and the jetlag will be less of a concern. Riders such as Sven Nys, Lars van der Haar, Bart Wellens, and Rob Peeters have already tested the concept by racing in the season opener in Las Vegas, Cross Vegas, with little impact on the remainder of their season.

    Impens clarified to Gazet van Antwerpen that the concept of a US round is only in the idea phase.

    "We made it clear to the UCI that we are not reluctant to do a race in the US, but otherwise there was nothing discussed. What about our sponsors? Television? Logistics? We haven't talked about that."

    The UCI had previously objected to adding another round to the race series, but now seems to be opening up to the possibility. "New bosses bring in new rules," UCI 'cross coordinator Peter Van den Abeele said, adding he...

  • Providence aims for cyclo-cross World Cup in 2015

    The Temple to Music in Roger Williams Park provided a stunning backdrop for the podium ceremonies at the Providence Cyclo-cross Festival
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 15:04 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Promoters using 2014 race as proof of concept

    Organisers of the Providence 'cross weekend in Rhode Island are planning a bid to host the World Cup in 2015, and while the idea is not new, a recent UCI cyclo-cross commission meeting which included representatives of the two major Belgian 'cross series, the Superprestige and bpost Bank Trofee, showed the concept is gaining acceptance and momentum.

    Providence promoter Richard Fries confirmed to Cyclingnews his intent to use the 2014 race as a proving ground for the World Cup the following year; to prepare and develop sponsorship, the production team, and to hone their television production for 2015, even looking ahead at potentially hosting the USA National Championships in 2017 and the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2020.

    "The Worlds in Louisville demonstrated that the market exists in the US," Fries told Cyclingnews. "Our biggest issue is the budget - it would cost upwards of $700,000 to host the World Cup. There is no way we could meet that without charging admission (US races, unlike Belgian ones, do not generally charge spectators). Louisville showed that if you bring in the best riders, there is a market, [people will pay to come to a race]."

    Providence, Rhode Island's geographical location is also ideal, Fries said, to bringing in big crowds - up to 20,000 people for a World Cup. "The venue is along the I-95 corridor with easy transportation and plenty of lodging, and with the fan base - 44% of bicycles are sold in the Northeastern US - we're confident we can attract a big crowd."

    Yet bringing in the best riders can be a challenge. US 'cross promoters have faced resistance in the past from the top European riders to having World Cup rounds here, because of jetlag and the fatigue of travel, but that seems to be changing. The recent meeting of the 'cross commission with athlete representative Sven Nys

  • When is it too cold to race cyclo-cross?

    Jeremy Durrin on a snowy run-up
    Article published:
    December 21, 2013, 14:39 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Freezing conditions spark debate about safety

    Cyclo-cross is a discipline that prides itself on its willingness to stare down at bad weather with abandon; be it torrential rain, hurricane-force winds, heaps of snow, treacherous ice or bitterly cold temperatures. In the hard world of cyclo-cross, the worse the conditions, the more epic the racing will be. But can that ethos go too far?

    The answer varies, depending on who you ask. The Deschutes Brewery Cup in Bend, Oregon, on December 7 tested the boundaries of reasonableness when a cold front blew into Central Oregon days before the race, dumping nearly a foot of snow and dropping temperatures to history making sub-zero lows. By the time the elite riders lined up on the course Saturday afternoon for the final UCI C1 race on USA Cycling's Pro CX Calendar, the temperature was hovering just above zero.

    After just 100 minutes of racing in the freezing weather – 40 minutes for the women and 60 for the men – several riders had suffered frostbite, and wheels were set in motion for a prominent component maker to voluntarily recall one of the sport's latest innovations.

    It's cold outside

    Chapter 1, section .058 of the UCI Cyclo-cross rulebook states that the president of the commissaries panel, after consulting with the UCI technical delegate and the organizer, may [emphasis added] cancel the event in case of “difficult weather conditions” such as strong winds, heavy snowfall or temperatures below 5 Fahrenheit (-15 C).

    The weather in Bend that morning certainly fell within that range. Thermometers dipped to negative double digits overnight and were well below zero when the first categories hit the course at 8 a.m. Although the mercury rose throughout the day into single-digits, the steady wind blowing in off the nearby Deschutes River cut to the bone, causing eyes to tear up and turning liquids into ice on contact.

    Three-time national champion Tim Johnson...

  • Nys in doubt for World Cup in Namur

    Sven Nys has his wrist iced after hurting it in a crash in Essen
    Article published:
    December 21, 2013, 21:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    World champion hurts arm in Essen crash

    World cyclo-cross champion Sven Nys will either be in the hospital or at the start line in Namur for the UCI World Cup on Sunday, he said on Twitter. The Belgian crashed heavily while leading Saturday's bpost Bank Trofee round in Essen and injured his right arm.

    Nys was riding away to what looked like a sure victory in the heavy, muddy 'cross in Essen when he chose to bunny-hop the barriers and slipped on the first plank, going off his line and into the fencing after clearing the second hurdle.

    "I slightly lost balance and moved a bit to the right. I could not avoid the fencing and went over the handlebars," Nys said after the race. "It was a big blow.

    "At first I thought something was broken in my forearm, because I had no power anymore and it immediately swelled up. But I thought, if I hold out for half a lap, then I can also finish."

    Nys not only finished, he chased back from his incident, catching everyone except race winner Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), and extending his lead in the bpost Bank Trofee overall on third place finisher Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus).

    The world champion's luck in the World Cup has been not nearly as good - he is not in the running for that series after failing to finish the Valkenburg round because of multiple mechanicals, and having similar bad luck in Tabor - but he hopes to start in Namur provided his arm is not broken.

    "If nothing is broken, it won't be so bad. I don't think I could have finished with a break. I've raced with a dislocated finger before (after Koppenbergcross 2008, ed)," he said. "I have pain, but now I can put weight on that arm."

    Nys has...

  • Albert new leader of UCI cyclo-cross standings

    Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus) put in a big effort to take the final podium spot in Namur
    Article published:
    December 24, 2013, 17:20 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Compton continues to lead women's rankings

    Reigning world champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) had led the UCI cyclo-cross standings since the beginning of the 2013-2014 season, but his streak has come to an end courtesy of Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the latest tabulations released today by the UCI. For the elite women Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) maintained her position at the top of the standings while Belgium's Yannick Peeters, too, continues his lead of the junior men's rankings.

    Albert now leads Nys by 50 points in the elite men's standings, 1,808 to 1,758, and while Albert placed one position ahead of Nys at Sunday's World Cup round in Namur, Belgium, it's primarily the result of the rolling 12-month points tabulation which is responsible for the change at the top of the elite men's rankings.

    During the previous season there were eight World Cup rounds, while in the current season there are seven. The Roubaix, France round of the 2012-2013 World Cup occurred between the Belgian rounds in Koksijde and Namur, while this year it did not take place and thusly the points earned there last year simply disappeared from the riders' points tally without a chance to match or better them. Nys won at Roubaix last year, while Albert placed third and coupled with Nys finishing fourth in Namur this season versus 2nd last season his overall net loss was greater than Albert's, thusly moving the BKCP-Powerplus Belgian to the top of the standings.

    Dutch champion Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) moves up from fourth to third overall, 37 points behind Nys, while Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) rose from fifth to fourth on the standings with 1,606 points. Vantornout's teammate Kevin Pauwels dropped from third to fifth with 1,488 points.


  • 2013 Reader Poll: Sven Nys voted best cyclo-cross rider

    World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) rode away from the 4-man lead group on the final lap to win at Druivencross
    Article published:
    December 24, 2013, 21:45 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Cannibal from Baal wins for 12th time

    Another year, another best cyclo-cross rider victory for Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) as voted by the readers of Cyclingnews. The 37-year-old Belgian has absolutely owned the category, winning for the 10th straight year and the 12th time in the 13-year history of the Reader Poll, earning a massive 47.7% of the votes in this year's tally. Reigning women's 'cross world champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank Liv/Giant) finished second with 20.9% while nine-time US women's champion and current World Cup leader Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) rounded out the top three at 9.2% of the vote.

    While Nys has been a consistent winner year in and year out throughout the 'cross calendar, the world championship has been an area where he's perhaps under-performed, at least to the lofty standards expected of the Belgian star. Twice a U23 'cross world champion (1997-1998), he'd only won once at the elite level (2005)...until this past February 1st. History was made in Louisville, Kentucky as the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships were held outside of Europe for the first time in the 64-year run of the event, and it's fitting that Nys, an outspoken proponent of the globalisation of the sport, would win his second elite world title on US soil after a hard-fought contest against compatriot Klaas Vantornout. The slippery parcours, primarily mud as the morning's frozen surface melted throughout the day, was very much to Nys's liking.

    "I've got a lot of podium places in the world championships, but for me it doesn't work at the end of the season," said Nys. "One of the reasons is most of the races have been very fast over the past 10 years, and it is difficult for me to win those races. Over...

  • Compton on verge of second straight 'cross World Cup title

    Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) soloed to victory in the Heusden-Zolder round of the 'cross World Cup
    Article published:
    December 26, 2013, 21:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    American champion beats Vos twice within one week

    Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) made history last season as the first American to win a cyclo-cross World Cup title and after winning this season's fifth round today in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, her fourth straight World Cup victory and the 20th of her career, another overall title is well within her grasp.

    Compton now holds a 65-point lead over British champion Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) on the World Cup standings while Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) retains third overall, 104 points in arrears. Two World Cup rounds remain and only Harris and Cant have a mathematical possibility of overtaking Compton, but as long as the American finishes ahead of them at the penultimate round in Rome, Italy on January 5 then she'll have an insurmountable lead ahead of the final round in Nommay, France on January 26.

    While another World Cup title is surely important to Compton, the one accolade missing from her lengthy 'cross palmares is a world championship. Compton has finished on the 'cross Worlds podium four times, but never on the top step. Her latter three podium finishes - 2009, 2011 and 2013 - have been during Marianne Vos's current streak of five straight world championships but in the past week Compton has achieved a pair of morale-boosting victories over Vos at the fourth and fifth rounds of the World Cup.

    Notably, Compton overcame poor starts to chase down and pass Vos at both the Namur and Heusden-Zolder World Cups, but perhaps more importantly was that the feat was achieved on two dramatically different circuits. While Compton has always felt at home on very muddy, technical circuits such as the conditions at Namur, today's victory in Heusden-Zolder was on a very fast, dry course - the type of circuit typically...

  • Nys to race until the spring of 2016

    Sven Vanthourenhout and Sven Nys show off their new jerseys for 2014
    Article published:
    December 30, 2013, 15:14 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    World cyclo-cross champion switches to Trek bikes

    Sven Nys has confirmed he will race until the spring of 2016, during a press conference where announced that he will ride for the new Crelan AA Drinks team from January 1 and use Trek bikes and Bontrager components. Nys was recently voted the best cyclo-cross rider in the annual Cyclingnews reader poll.

    Crelan has been a long-term backer of Nys and will be joined by the Netherlands-based soft drink maker and the US-bike brands. The team is built around the veteran world champion and also includes Nys' friend and training partner Sven Vanthourenhout. The team has created a special supporters' club to help promote cyclo-cross, especially with young riders, via special events.

    Nys and Vanthourenhout will make their debut on their new Trek bikes at the GP Sven Nys in his home town of Baal on January 1. Nys will also create a special Sven Nys Cycling Centre in Balenberg to help promote cyclo-cross and develop future talents.

    "It's nice to start with a new team for the final part of my racing career," 37 year-old Nys said during the announcement, two days after winning his last race on a Colnago bike in the Superprestige race in Diegem, Belgium.

    "Everything is in place: good sponsors, superb equipment and an ideal back-up squad, which will allow us to concentrate on quickly welcoming new members. It's all going to motivate me to even more so that I give my best on the bike right to the last day of my career."

    "The partnership with Trek and the work we put into the bikes is another dimension for me in cyclo-cross. I am really happy to be part of the family of Trek and to do something special with them."