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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 13, 2014

Date published:
January 13, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Stybar still undecided on cyclo-cross world championships

    Czech champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) proved he's still a force to be reckoned with on a 'cross bike as he rides to a 3rd place finish at the Heusden-Zolder World Cup round.
    Article published:
    January 07, 2014, 17:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Two-time champion to wait until 48 hours before race

    Zdenek Stybar won’t make his decision on contesting the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships until 48 hours before the race starts. The elite men’s event will take place on February 2 in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.

    Over the last year the 2010 and 2011 cyclo-cross world champion has shifted his focus to the road, highlighted in 2013 by a stage victory at the Vuelta a Espana plus a stage victory and overall win at the Eneco Tour. Nonetheless, Stybar looked in good form when he beat Rob Peeters at the Versluys Cyclocross Bredene at the end of December in the midst of a brief, six-race block of 'cross events which concluded on January 1, 2014 at the GP Sven Nys. With the cyclo-cross world championships so close to home, Stybar has been able to hold off on his decision to race Worlds a little longer.

    “The main challenge for Zdenek is that he lives only six kilometres from the circuit where the world championships will take place,” his coach Stanislav Bambula said at a press conference on Tuesday. “The final decision belongs only to himself, according to the weather and other criteria.”

    Stybar’s main goals this season will be on the road once again. He is aiming to peak at the Spring Classics, with priority on Paris-Roubaix. He finished sixth in the 2013 edition, but was in the lead group until a he clipped a fan with a camera and couldn’t make up the gap.


  • Van der Haar, Compton continue to lead UCI 'cross standings

    Lars van der Haar in the mud
    Article published:
    January 07, 2014, 20:15 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Peeters remains junior men's leader

    The UCI has announced the latest cyclo-cross standings today with Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) and Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) continuing to lead the elite men's and elite women's rankings respectively. Belgium's Yannick Peeters remains in control of the junior men's standings.

    Since the previous tabulation Van der Haar finished second in the penultimate World Cup round in Rome, Italy, on Sunday and won the Internationale Centrumcross van Surhuisterveen the previous Thursday to remain in the lead of the UCI 'cross standings with a total of 1,916 points. World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) moved from third into second at 1,748 points, six more than Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) who dropped from second to third. Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) remains in fourth at 1,534 points followed by German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) in fifth at 1,427 points.

    Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus), the 18-year-old Dutchman in his first season in the U23 ranks, has reached the top-10 for the first time this season as he slots in for 10th at 912 points. Van der Poel started the season with no points due to moving into a new age category but has steadily made upward progress in the rankings all season, winning 10 of the 20 races he's contested thus far while finishing off the podium just once.

    The top-20 nations for elite men remain unchanged with Belgium again dominating affairs with 5,024 points. The Netherlands is second with 3,755 points followed by Germany in third at 2,466 points.

    Katie Compton clinched her second straight World Cup title with a

  • Powers, Anderson win USA Cycling Pro Cyclo-cross Calendar

    Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) wins it on the last lap
    Article published:
    January 08, 2014, 19:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Equal payout to top-20 in men's, women's series

    Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and Elle Anderson (Cal Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) have claimed their respective elite men's and elite women's titles in the USA Cycling Pro Cyclo-cross Calendar and an equal $5,000 winner's share of the $40,000 overall purse.

    Jeremy Powers, who won 12 races on the calendar, earned 1,015 points to secure the top spot for the elite men. Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld), a winner of seven races on the calendar, surged late in the season but was ultimately unable to dethrone Powers and finished with 989 points. Belgium's Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement), four times a winner this season, placed third overall with a total of 866 points.

    Johnson's Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld teammate Ryan Trebon ended the Pro CX fourth overall at 711 points while Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh-Clement) rounded out the top five with 530 points.

    Elle Anderson grabbed an early lead and did not look back as she claimed the elite women's title. Anderson's season total came to 809 points and included six victories and seven additional podium finishes. Czech Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) ascended the standings late in the season, but was not able to overtake Anderson as she finished second with 755 points.

    Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) held off Crystal Anthony (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) to place third with 677 points while Anthony was fourth at 653 points. Laura van Gilder (Van Dessel p/b Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers) produced strong results late in the season to place fifth after tallying 493 points.

    Austin Vincent (Race Cf-Racecf.Org @Racecf) won the junior men's Pro CX series with 345 points, 59 ahead of runner-up Lance Haidet (Bear Development Team). Peter Goguen (Race Cf-Racecf.Org @Racecf) placed third with 254 points, only four points ahead of Cooper Willsey (, who completed the season in...

  • Page set for national cyclo-cross title defense

    US champion Jonathan Page (Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist) en route to a 6th place result in Bredene
    Article published:
    January 10, 2014, 16:30 GMT
    Ted Burns

    US champion overcomes injury, illness ahead of Boulder race

    Jonathan Page (Fuji/Spy Optics) returned to the US last week to defend his title at the USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross Championships being held on January 12th in Boulder, Colorado. Page met up with his US mechanic, David Kohli, on Sunday at the Altitude Adjustment Cross race in Longmont, Colorado, in order to start acclimating to the altitude, and to dial in their exchanges.

    "David drove in from Madison, and got here a day earlier than expected, so I just used the race with him to do some bike changes and get used to him throwing bikes at me and everything," said Page. "Honestly I just did the race at 80 percent or less. It was wicked cold, I was thinking on the sidelines, the last time I started a race in a thermal jacket and face mask was back in New Hampshire when I was a junior. "

    Page's season has been plagued by injury and illness, but he still managed to finish third on Sunday behind Raleigh-Clement teammates Jamey Driscoll and Allen Krugoff. Page recently fell hard at the Christmas week race in Loenhout, and was concerned about a possible muscle tear in his leg, or more importantly, re-injuring his ribs.

    Page decided to keep racing, despite the risk of further illness and injury. His gamble was rewarded the next day when he finished sixth at the Cyclo-cross Bredene against a top notch field. While encouraged by the result, Page thinks the effort may have brought on another bought of illness, which he has had to manage while finishing his Belgian commitments, and traveling to the US.

    Page has an impressive history at the US nationals having sat on the podium every year since 2002. He holds a total of four national titles, and is the...

  • Nys closing in on Belgian 'cross title record

    The legend continues for Sven Nys as he wins Belgium's cyclo-cross championship for the ninth time
    Article published:
    January 12, 2014, 20:40 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian champ to skip final World Cup to stay fresh for Worlds

    Belgium's elite men's cyclo-cross championship turned into a one-man show courtesy of Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) as he soloed to victory at the hippodrome in Waregem. It's the ninth Belgian title for Nys who's now only one title away from equalling Roland Liboton's record tally of 10 championships earned in the '80s. Shortly after his race the 37-year-old Belgian cyclo-cross legend looked ahead and eyed the record-equalling title.

    "There wasn't too much pressure," Nys said of his ninth championship. "I had a good December month and entered the Christmas races optimally. It all worked out except for the bad luck in Essen and Namur where I was clearly the strongest of the bunch. It's often a matter of taking the right rest periods. Today I didn't make a mistake and rode the perfect race. Today I had surpluses, then it's easier to apply tactics and make no mistakes.

    "I don't know if it'll be possible to get 10 titles," continued Nys. "When I was young I realized it was a strong record and I wondered who was ever going to equal it. Now I'm so close to achieving it. It would be nice but I'm not there yet.

    "My career is much longer than that of Liboton, too. He stopped doing cyclo-cross at a much younger age so I've had more chances than him. I'm just trying to get the best possible performances in my career."

    Nys recently declared that he's adding two more years of racing to his career, which means he's now scheduled to retire at the age of 40. When asked whether he would add some more years to that at the post-race press conference of the Belgian championships in Waregem, Nys played down the expectations.

    "Ho, ho, ho, stop, certainly not," Nys laughed. Rob Peeters, runner-up at the Belgian championship, repeated this reaction, clearly hoping Nys would make way for him sooner rather than later.


  • Albert suffers off-day at Belgian National Championships

    Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) had a race to forget and would drop out of the Belgian 'cross championship
    Article published:
    January 13, 2014, 9:16 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Two bad laps ruin race for former champion

    Together with eventual winner Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink), it was Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) who carried the weight of being pre-race favourite.

    While Nys more than lived up to the expectations Albert failed. He briefly pulled in front, early on, without causing major damage and then faded away when Nys surged forward, eventually abandoning halfway the race.

    Cyclingnews caught up with a disillusioned Albert when he arrived at his camper. “I had two really bad laps, the second and the third. I didn’t have the day that I wanted to have. I even struggled to close the gap on the chasers.

    Today I wasn’t good enough for a championships race,” Albert said. When Nys accelerated in the third lap Albert moved to the front of the chase group.

    Those good intentions were ruined little later when he bobbled when riding through a deep ditch. In the following lap Albert slipped away at the Irish bank, one of the multiple obstacles of the horse racing track. In no time Albert ended up riding alone at more than half a minute from Nys and one lap later that was nearly a minute. His team manager Christophe Roodhooft indicated it was game over. During the sixth lap Albert abandoned the race.

    “If I’m not racing for second or third place then it doesn’t make sense for me and I quit the race. Not every year is the same. My season isn’t ruined by this race,” Albert said.

    In the 2013-2014 season Niels Albert already won the World Cup rounds in Koksijde and Rome, the Superprestige rounds in Hamme-Zogge and Gieten and four other races. The 27 year-old was Belgian champion in 2011 and a two-time world champion (2009 and 2012).

  • Vantornout hurt by media following bribery allegations

    Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) in action at Scheldecross
    Article published:
    January 13, 2014, 9:59 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Defending Belgian champion abandons in Waregem

    Defending Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) was in the eye of a media storm last week.

    Sporza TV commentator Michel Wuyts stated, in a newspaper column in Het Nieuwsblad, that the defending Belgian champion may have tried to persuade the organizers of the Belgian championships in Waregem to make the barriers on the course less of an obstacle for him.

    A week full of bribery allegations followed with the Belgian cyclo-cross world tweeting their opinions around. A troubled Vantornout, also set back by a viral infection, arrived in Waregem to defend his title in a completely different position than one year earlier when he was an outsider. The outcome for Vantornout wasn’t positive. He left the course and its more than 25,000 spectators before the end of the race.

    “It’s been a very tough week. I don’t have to hide that away. I was the pivotal figure without a reason. In the future I think I’ll act differently towards the media because of this, weighing my words. I talked to [Omega Pharma - QuickStep manager] Patrick Lefevere. He knows that the media make and break. Media can be cruel.”

    Not only Vantornout struggled at the Belgian championships. None of his Sunweb-Napoleon Games teammates made the podium, with youngster Jim Aernouts being their best rider in fifth place, out of fourteen starters.

    The media storm around Vantornout caused a lot of negative publicity and team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen decided to file a complaint in an effort to have their name cleared.

    Before the race it was feared that fans of Nys would turn against him but that didn’t happen. “It remained playful,” Vantornout said.

    When he forgot about the last week, Vantornout sounded more upbeat. He clearly enjoyed his year as Belgian champion “It’s been a tough but fantastic year in the tricolore jersey. I enjoyed every bit of it. Nobody will ever be...

  • Van Aert disqualified at Belgian championships

    Wout Van Aert (Belgium) wins in Baal
    Article published:
    January 13, 2014, 19:55 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Race favorite relegated after false start in men's under 23 race

    As if there wasn’t enough consternation ahead of the Belgian cyclo-cross championships in Waregem, with the much-debated positioning of the barriers, more commotion was added on the race day when top favourite Wout Van Aert caused a false start in the men's under 23 category.

    Rules state that the rider who causes the false start is taken out of the race, just like in athletics. Instead, officials asked the other riders if Van Aert could take a back-row start.

    One can only wonder what the rivals of Usain Bolt would have said when they were asked about the false start from Bolt in the 100 metres at the world championships of 2011. Bolt certainly didn’t chase the rest of the sprinters shortly after the start, like Van Aert did at the hippodrome in Waregem on Sunday afternoon.

    “There were five lights and all were red for a long time. It seemed endless and I got nervous and took off. I admit I made a false start and should’ve been relegated, but the way it happened was wrong. A lot of mistakes were made,” the 19-year-old told Sporza from his camper, shortly after his relegation.

    Race officials added to the consternation when they hesitated to apply article 5.1.047, which concerns the procedures after a false start.

    “The officials didn’t dare to take a decision, and he suggested the back-row solution. One rider – who I will not name as it doesn’t matter – raised his hand. It’s sad they don’t have the guts themselves to apply the rules,” Van Aert said.

    Eventual winner Jens Adams (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) agreed with Van Aert. “Everybody was moving forward and Wout was the victim. He was the one who looked back after the start,...