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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 4, 2013

Date published:
February 04, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Floods risk forces changes to world cyclo-cross race programme

    A a temporary dam has been built to keep the Ohio River back
    Article published:
    February 01, 2013, 14:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    All races to be contested on Saturday

    The organisers of the UCI Cyclo-Cross world championships in Louisville, Kentucky have confirmed that all the races will be held on Saturday due to a risk of flooding on the course on Sunday.

    The revised race schedule was decided after meetings between the local authorities, organisers and the UCI. It means that the four titles will be contested on one day, at the following (local) times. The tight schedule means the medal ceremonies will be held at the end of the racing, following the Elite men's race.

    Forecast data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projects that high water levels in the Ohio River will cause Beargrass Creek to flood the low lying areas of Eva Bandman Park in Louisville, in the early hours on Sunday morning and that water level will continue to rise for the subsequent 48 hours.

    Extraordinary measures are currently being done to ensure that the races will still be held in their entirety. All Sunday tickets will be honored at the gate on Saturday which will open at 8 a.m.

    "We have had some crazy weather this week - from tornados to snow... upstream there has been heavy rain and the Army Corps of Engineers is predicting the river will flood the course by 1am Sunday morning," technical director Joan Hanscom told Cyclingnews.

    "The Parks Department has taken extraordinary measures to build a temporary dam to keep the river back for Saturday. What they've done has been nothing short of miraculous. But mother nature can't be held back entirely."

    "All of the Sunday tickets will be honored on Saturday - the gates will open at 8am rather than 9. USA Cycling will be issuing refunds for any unused Sunday tickets."

    Race Schedule for Saturday February 2:

    Junior men: 9:45am
    Elite women:11:00am
    U23 men:12:30pm
    Elite men: 2:30pm.

  • Page in search of "magical" Saturday at 'cross Worlds

    USA Champion Jonathan Page was out for some motorpacing today
    Article published:
    February 01, 2013, 18:02 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    US champion gets pre-race boost as Fuji steps in with bike sponsorship

    For an uncomfortably lengthy stint of the current cyclo-cross season, Jonathan Page faced the grim prospect that perhaps something which had previously been a given in his years in the elite ranks, a start at the 'cross world championships, would not come to fruition. And this of all years, the first time in the history of the cyclo-cross world championships that not only would the event take place outside of Europe, but on American soil in Louisville, Kentucky.

    Adding insult to injury is the fact that Page is the only American to ever stand on the podium at the conclusion of an elite men's cyclo-cross world championship, a milestone achieved with his silver medal performance at the 2007 Worlds in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium.

    "It became quite apparent that there could be a world championship in America without Jonathan Page," Page told Cyclingnews. "It's not that I wasn't trying, I was sick from late October into almost the middle of December. Basically there were two respiratory infections, and I had to go on antibiotics two times in a row and that's just never good. I could not afford to stop racing so I would go to the races and suffer, but I wasn't even in the same race, so to speak."

    The season had already commenced under trying circumstances as Page had lost his title bike sponsor and scrambled to make ends meet with secondary sponsors. Still, Page found some success in his usual early season block of racing in the US with a pair of second place finishes plus six other results in which he was never worse than eighth, but after traveling to his residence in Oudenaarde, Belgium, for another European campaign, the results were nowhere to be found, curtailed by health issues.

    But Page is nothing if not resilient, particularly with his back against the wall. Come late December the only means for Page to ensure an automatic Worlds team...

  • Rescheduled 'cross riders rolling with the punches

    This river is the problem. It is projected to rise enough to flood parts of the park hosting 'cross Worlds on Sunday.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2013, 21:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Racers adjust training for big day on Saturday at 'cross Worlds

    Expected flooding has caused a headache for the organisers of the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, and they were forced to move the elite men and women's races from Sunday to Saturday, but it seems most of riders whose events were shifted a day earlier are taking the situation in stride.

    The change is not because of harsh weather in Louisville, but because of the heavy rains to the north earlier in the week. The water is still draining into the Ohio River basin, slowly raising the level of the water at the riverside Eva Bandman Park course. It began creeping in overnight on Friday, and is expected to start engulfing the VIP tent by midnight on Saturday.

    Czech contender Katerina Nash previewed the course early Friday morning and said she was glad the riders were notified in plenty of time to adjust their training for the day.

    "It's not a big deal for the racers," Nash told Cyclingnews. "It's better to be safe than sorry - it's better to have the race."

    Nash has been in Louisville all week and has trained on the course in the changeable conditions: from mud earlier in the week to snow and ice this morning, but isn't sure what to expect for her 11:00 am start on Saturday, other than that the high water table will ensure it will be soggy.

    "It's pretty frozen today, so it was good to test it now in case it does freeze for tomorrow. Whatever happens, I don't expect it to be dry, so I feel well prepared for racing in any conditions."

    American Katie Compton also said the change was "a bit of a surprise", but was actually happy to get the race out of the way sooner.

    "I'm kind of happy to have the race a day earlier since waiting to race is hard too," Compton said. "The only thing...

  • Belgium's cyclo-cross dominance under threat

    Junior world champion Mathieu van der Poel has been undefeated thus far in the 2012-2013 'cross season.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2013, 1:08 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Dutch take over development categories

    Belgium may be the historical heart of cyclo-cross, but its neighbor to the north may be poised to take its place in ‘cross dominance if the younger riders’ categories are any indication.

    The Netherlands has won more medals in the UCI cyclo-cross world championships junior men’s event than any other nation in history, and, taking into account only the past ten years, its under 23 men have surpassed the Belgians in the medal count.

    In addition, the Dutch women have dominated the medal count over the 13-year history of their event, netting six gold, three silver and six bronze medals.

    Its only problem now is keeping the top riders from following the example of Lars Boom and moving to a more lucrative road career.

    Coming into the 2013 event in Louisville, Kentucky, three Dutch riders are returning world champions: Marianne Vos, junior Mathieu van der Poel and the two-time U23 champion Lars van der Haar, who moves up to challenge for the elite men’s title.

    Vos has five ‘cross elite titles to her name, the first earned at age 18, and also happens to be fully capable of combining the discipline with a high level of success in road, track and - this year - mountain biking. Yet, even as reigning Olympic and road world champion, the 25 year-old from 's-Hertogenbosch still gets nervous before a championship event.

    “At the start line, everybody is the same, anyone can win and the championships of the past don’t count anymore,” Vos told Cyclingnews. “I do get nervous, but that’s what I like, that’s what I do it for.”

    How the Dutch have crept up on and are perhaps beating the Belgians at their own game comes down to the good training provided by the country’s cycling federation. By now, Vos...

  • World ‘cross champions praise American experience

    Louisville cyclocross fans were out in big numbers today
    Article published:
    February 03, 2013, 1:05 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Wild fans recreate Belgian energy in Louisville

    What they lacked in numbers, they made up for in enthusiasm. Lining the course of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships from the early morning junior race through the late afternoon elite men's event, screaming themselves hoarse, clanging bells and blowing horns, crowds in Louisville may have been a sixth of what Belgium produced in Koksijde for last year’s event, but many of the competitors praised the American fans for their non-partisan support, and the ebullient atmosphere they created.

    Although American Katie Compton was one of the top favourites to win a world title on home soil, she suffered a less than ideal first lap and had to settle for a distant second place. Marianne Vos (The Netherlands), who beat Compton, may not have realized that her exploits - five straight world championship victories as well as road and Olympic titles - have earned her great respect and admiration over here, and equally ear-splitting cheers from the fans.

    “I have to say, the Americans were really cool and cheering for me, too,” Vos said with a smile. “Becoming world champion is an amazing feeling, it’s different because it’s the first time overseas, and that makes it special.”

    Klaas Vantornout, who rode to second behind his Belgian teammate Sven Nys in the elite men’s race, was equally impressed by how the fans supported every rider.

    “When I rode the course before the race, the atmosphere was great. It was special. It was another atmosphere like Belgium. The people supported everyone, and it was very nice to ride here.”

    Nys was impressed with the amount of support and...

  • Miracle workers rescue cyclo-cross Worlds from flood

    What was the course is now part of the Ohio River.
    Article published:
    February 03, 2013, 21:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Louisville crews held off the mighty Ohio River

    It was a scenario nobody could have predicted: maybe it was global warming, vengeful Belgians poking voodoo dolls or simply the winds of fate, but the Ohio River was going to flood the venue for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Louisville, there was no doubt.

    The cause was an unusual storm system that dumped heavy rain in the northeastern United States where normally there would be snow in early February. The water was coming from hundreds of miles upstream, slowly but surely swelling the river and pushing it up the banks and into the carefully planned, UCI-approved circuit at Eva Bandman Park.

    Without quick thinking, without teamwork and without rapid deployment of all available resources, the racers would have needed snorkels and fins to race at the scheduled time on Sunday. But thanks to the city of Louisville, its Mayor, Parks Department and Metro Sewer Department, the mighty Ohio was held back by what can only be described as The Great Wall of Louisville.

    Three feet wide, three feet deep and four feet tall, the sand-filled bins were erected along the water’s edge in the lowest lying section of the course, keeping the water at bay during the four championship races on Saturday. In the end, four worthy champions who were crowned, the bigger than expected crowd of 10,000 had a blast, and USA Cycling’s Micah Rice was overjoyed that the event had been pulled off so well.

    “I think that considering the hand we were dealt on this event, it couldn't have gone better. It was a heck of an event today and I could feel the excitement from the fans and riders alike,” Rice told Cyclingnews

    Still sporting mud on his coat courtesy of a post-race bear-hug by Louisville local Andrew Dillman, who raced the U23 event, Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation deputy director Marty Storch was clearly enjoying...

  • Owen rues missed opportunity at 'cross Worlds

    Logan Owen moved up dramatically on lap three
    Article published:
    February 04, 2013, 0:06 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    US junior champion finishes just shy of podium

    If there was a gold medal offered for heart, resilience and determination from Saturday's junior men's cyclo-cross world championship few would dispute that American Logan Owen would be the recipient. The eight-time US junior 'cross champion had carefully crafted his season so as to be at his physical and mental peak for a 40-minute slugfest against Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel, but circumstances within both the opening minute and closing laps culminated in heartbreak for the 17-year-old American.

    Ranked second in the world and a third place finisher in this season's World Cup, Owen was a favourite in his own right for a medal on home soil, but he finished fourth, four seconds shy of bronze medalist Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic).

    "It's really disappointing because I know I'm so much better than that," said Owen. "It's not what I wanted but you can't do anything about it."

    A near false start followed by a crash in the opening minute put Owen in a deep hole, but he'd clawed his way to a podium finish in the second World Cup round in Plzen, Czech Republic after being dealt a similar hand in the opening seconds.

    "At the end of the red lights I thought the last red light was the green one, so I was getting ready for it," said Owen of his start line miscue. "And as soon as I saw it appear I didn't look at the color and I went, then stuttered. So I stopped, then it went green and I got swarmed.

    "I was mid-pack and then moved up on the [first] straightaway, just powered it, got to like fifth place behind the Belgians. Then some German kid came up on the inside and took me out in the corner down there. I moved back to...

  • Dutch top medal count at Louisville 'cross Worlds

    Marianne Vos (NED) with a gap on lap two
    Article published:
    February 04, 2013, 20:57 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Three gold medals won out of four

    Having won three of the four races in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, plus a silver and a bronze, the Netherlands led the medal count for the second consecutive year.

    Aside from Marianne Vos's sixth rainbow jersey in the women's race, the Dutch were top two in the juniors with Mathieu van der Poel and Martijn Budding, won the U23s thanks to a tenacious ride by Mike Teunissen, and Lars van der Haar was third in the elites.

    In addition, van der Poel and Budding were top two juniors in the World Cup this year, and although van der Haar's early exit from the U23 ranks left the door open for Belgium's Wietse Bosmans to dominate the World Cup and UCI rankings, van der Poel will graduate to the espoirs next season.

    It's a resurgence for the neighbors to the north of the heart of cyclo-cross, Belgium, but Dutch coach Johan Lammerts is concerned that his pipeline of talent in the younger ranks will be siphoned off by the more lucrative road racing scene.

    It's happened in the past: previous Dutch world champions include Lars Boom and Boy van Poppel - both of whom left ‘cross for the road, leaving the Belgians to stack the Worlds ‘cross podium in the elite men's ranks.

    What is the Dutch federation doing to build so much success in ‘cross? Coach Johan Lammerts couldn't pin it down. "We've been working hard on it. I don't do it myself. I have tons of people who were working towards this event," he told Cyclingnews. "Maybe the competition is a little less, or maybe we have better riders, but they work hard - they train hard."

    The team came to the USA well in advance of the championships, which helped them recover from the jetlag in time, but Lammerts also think the wild swings in weather benefitted the Dutch.

    "We adapted quite good to the weather circumstances. That is something that we have in Holland, this kind of variety in weather."

    Yet the success...