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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 30, 2012

Date published:
January 30, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • UCI awards 2015 'cross worlds to Tabor

    While the spectators had to deal with snow, the racers had mud and ice.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 18:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Track worlds to Belarus, Colombia

    The UCI announced today the locations of upcoming world championships for several disciplines after holding its first management committee meeting in Koksijde, Belgium. The Czech Republic city of Tabor was awarded the Cyclo-cross World Championships for 2015. It will be the third time the city has hosted the race.

    The last time Tabor hosted the 'cross championships was in 2009, when Czech Zdenek Stybar claimed his first rainbow jersey in front of his home crowd.

    The UCI also finalized the 2012-2013 Cyclo-cross calendar – naming the World Cup host venues for six cities: Koksijde, Roubaix, Namur, Heusden-Zolder, Rome and Hoogerheide as well as the UCI World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

    The mountain bike worlds will return to Pietermaritzburg in South Africa in 2013, and the track world championships will head to Minsk, Belarus in 2013 and Cali, Colombia in 2014.

    The town of Greenville, South Carolina, which also hosts the US Pro national championships, was awarded the Para-cycling world championship for 2014. The first world championships to be held in the Southeast.

    UCI President Pat McQuaid welcomed the first world championships to Latin America in 19 years. "It is with great pleasure that we note that the UCI World Championships will not only be hosted by venues that are well known in our sport such as Pietermaritzburg and Tabor, ... but also by new hosts. Greenville, Minsk and in particular Cali, which will welcome the first UCI World Championships in Latin America for 19 years, have all decided to share their enthusiasm for cycling with the UCI, which is indeed a very happy situation."

  • Video: Ride the Koksijde course with Jeremy Powers

    Newly crowned US champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) races in the stars-and-stries jersey for the first time.
    Article published:
    January 28, 2012, 0:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    US champion tackles the X-Dune on the world championship course

    Want a first-hand look at the entire UCI Cyclo-cross World Championship course in Koksijde, but can't afford a ticket to Belgium? Just watch this video taken from a camera on the bike of none other than US champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) for an insider's glimpse into every inch of the circuit.

    The race isn't all sand, but the dunes of Belgium's northern coast certainly create the toughest obstacles. Watch as Powers dances his way through the sandy dunes, glides up the flyover and hurtles across the muddy field.

    There's no sound, so put on your favorite seven minute song and watch J-Pow groove in Koksijde. Might we suggest this?

  • Louisville offers a glimpse of its 2013 'cross Worlds in Koksijde

    Elite women’s start with downtown Louisville in the background
    Article published:
    January 28, 2012, 22:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tábor will host the 2015 world championships

    On the eve of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium, the delegation of the 2013 edition in Louisville, Kentucky, organized a presentation in the casino of Koksijde. All sorts of representatives within the cyclo-cross world showed up to find out about the first world championships to be organized outside the old continent. Among them was a delegation of American riders from the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld team including Caitlin Antonneau, James Driscoll, Nicole Duke and Timothy Johnson.

    Koksijde Mayor Marc Vanden Bussche started a series of short speeches. He explained how happy the Belgian coastal town was that a prestigious big city like Louisville follows in its footsteps. A representative of the Louisville tourism office taught the attendees how to pronounce the city's name. A good thing he did so as the host of the evening had started talking about Lewisville.

    The Mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, wasn't onsite to say a word but in a video message, he showed off the possibilities of Louisville and then offered everybody a glass of Bourbon whiskey, a treat that was well received in Koksijde as soon as it was distributed by local bar tenders.

    Steve Johnson, USA Cycling CEO, explained how important the cyclo-cross discipline has become and how much the discipline has exploded in the US.

    UCI president Pat McQuaid was onsite as well. He emphasized the fact that the American organizers cannot expect to attract the same amount of spectators in Louisville that are expected in Koksijde. "This year, the world championships are held in the heart of the cyclo-cross world. This weekend there will be around 50,000 spectators onsite in Koksijde. If the organizers can get only half that amount of people together in Louisville, they will have already accomplished their mission," McQuaid said.

    Louisville race organizer...

  • Vos faces three challengers at 'cross Worlds

    World Champion Marianne Vos wins in Hoogerheide
    Article published:
    January 29, 2012, 8:39 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Women's battle set for Sunday morning

    On Sunday morning, the elite women will battle it out at their UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships race in Koksijde, a town at the North Sea coast in Belgium. The top favorite for the win is Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo Women). If she wins, it'll be the third gold medal for The Netherlands at these Worlds.

    Vos dominated the cyclo-cross races during the last two months, winning 15 races in a row out of 16 total in which she participated this season. Since the one race she didn't win was held on Sunday's world championship course, the gathered opposition is hoping Vos will again be beatable in the Koksijde dunes.

    The strongest challenger seems to be European champion Daphny van den Brand (AA who is riding the last race of her career. US champion Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) and Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) are outsiders for the gold on Sunday.

    According to Vos, there's little chance that someone other than her will grab the rainbow jersey and in her case, it would be her fourth succesive world title. "I'm ready for it. I've won 15 races except for Koksijde. I made a big step forward on the road this season, and then you hope that it reflects in my cyclo-cross season and I've succeeded woderfully. Fifteen wins in a row is really special, but these are the world championships. It's a different race and at the start, we're all equal," Vos told NOS radio.

    "The fact that I didn't win in Koksijde makes me sharp," Vos told Cyclingnews. When asked why she was unable to win that particular race, Vos knew the exact reasons. "Because the technical aspect of the course suits Daphny well. Also because riding your first cyclo-cross race of the season is always hard. I'm still happy with that second place because that morning I feared a much worse result. It's a very nice course but it's the uncertain factor for...

  • Massive crowds at 'cross Worlds make organizers cautious

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    January 29, 2012, 10:08 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Over 50,000 expected to turn up

    With the cyclo-cross world championships being organized in the heart of the cyclo-cross world, being the Flanders region in Belgium, massive crowds are expected to show up. Shortly before the actual races the organizers are taking steps which should avoid problems in the coastal town of Koksijde on Sunday afternoon.

    On Friday evening the organizers decided that they would no longer sell tickets on the day of the race. Earlier this week the Koksijde organizing committee announced that about 30,000 tickets were already sold but during the following days about 20,000 additional tickets were sold. Not all spectators are expected to show up on Sunday as a reasonable number of people solely bought a ticket for the racing action on Saturday, the first day of the ‘cross world championships.

    Then again many of those people bought a combi-ticket which allows them entrance for both racing days. About 13,000 people attended the races of the youth categories where Dutch riders Mathieu van der Poel and Lars van der Haar crowned themselves world champion. On Saturday evening the organizers said that 51000 tickets were sold for Sunday’s day of racing in the dunes of Koksijde. That number probably includes VIP’s but not the spectators who bought their tickets in combination with a railway ticket. The situation along the course in Koksijde will be incredible as one can expect that – somewhat drunk – Belgians will create an incredible atmosphere. Top favorite Sven Nys already described it as if a football player would score a goal in the Champions League in front of a 50000 crowd, but then for one hour. Nys also thought about using ear plugs as the noise of this crowd would be hard to stand.

    Despite the cancellation of tickets sales on Sunday it seems like the organizers still underestimated this high interest for their event. On...

  • Albert II crowned king of the Belgians

    Neils Albert (Belgium) with two laps to go
    Article published:
    January 29, 2012, 23:18 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    25-year old wins second world title

    With an irrefutable performance in the dunes of Koksijde 25-year-old Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) completed a race-long solo to capture his second win at the Cyclo-cross World Championships. No other rider combined his excellent technical skills through the sand stretches with the brutal power he had on the sections in between the two unforgiving dunes.

    The race in Koksijde, a coastal town at the North Sea in Belgium, was attended by a crowd of more than 60000 'cross crazy fans which included the Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and – he must be an Albert-fan - the King of Belgium, Albert II. After the first world championship race was held in Koksijde back in 1994 a dune was named after winner Paul Herygers. The organizers promised to name the now-called X-dune after the winner of Sunday's race.

    "I thought about that the last time I rode it, thinking that he was now mine. This feeling is unbeatable. It's the biggest win of my career. Now my season succeeded," Albert said.

    In mid-November the cyclo-cross season of Albert was brutally interrupted when he broke his trapezoid bone during a training ride. An overall win in one of the three major series was no longer possible since he missed rounds in all of them. Despite wins in Ruddervoorde and Zonhoven it was clear that Albert needed to come up with a big win to save his season. There were two options, the Belgian national championships and the world championships.

    "After the Belgian championships I gathered with my entourage and told them I would put all my money on the world championships," Albert said. Together with his BKCP-Powerplus manager and friend Christoph Roodhooft, he headed to Spain to prepare in the best possible conditions. "We created a bond there and the people close to me live along with that. If you can pull of a win after these sacrifices then...

  • Nys might pull the plug on worlds

    Sven Nys (Belgium) never really had a chance to reel in Albert
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 4:50 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian champion disappointed with his string of off-days at worlds

    After another lacklustre performance (7th) at the Cyclo-cross World Championships which were held this weekend in Koksijde, Belgium, Sven Nys(Landbouwkrediet) hinted out that he might skip the event in the final two years of his career.

    The 35-year-old Belgian didn't manage to keep his compatriot Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) from the title although he previously said that he would have a good chance on the win in the dunes of Koksijde. With another chance gone, Nys feels like he simply can't build-up his season towards the event. Nys dominated the cyclo-cross sport for more than a decade, being UCI-leader for most of the time and claiming wins in all major series. At the world championships he was only able to convert his dominance into a title once, at the championships in Sankt-Wendel in 2005.

    "It might have been the last one I rode. It's probably a bit too early to say something like this but if I look at it now I feel like saying that,"

    Nys said shortly after his race in the studio of Sporza. "It's the disappointment. I expected a lot from this race and felt like I was in the form of my life but it wasn't enough. Then you have to make your conclusions because this was a course where it could happen one more time," a clearly disappointed Nys said.

    "My priority is elsewhere than on that single day at the world championships. It's a fact that there are men on the podium of which I didn't expect that they would finish ahead of me. Then you have to admit that you simply can't keep up on a day like this. Maybe this is something that doesn't suit me, something that turned out to be a fact in recent years. Maybe I don't have to worry about it in the future and leave it to other boys," Nys said.

    When asked whether his busy program in the weeks ahead of the race might have ruined it for him Nys denied that...

  • Gallery: Japan at the Cross Worlds

    Yokoyama Kota
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 17:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Growth of cyclo-cross in Asia reflected in Japan's Worlds performances

    While Belgium may be the world's power in cyclo-cross, and the USA might be the biggest emerging market for the discipline, Japan is also a hotbed of 'cross and the top racers from that country took part in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Koksijde on Sunday.

    Yu Takenouchi, the Japanese national champion and runner-up Keiichi Tsujiura took part in the elite men's race, but with few UCI points and a poor starting position on the grid, they could not hold off being lapped by winner Niels Albert from Belgium.

    In the elite women's race, Ayako Toyooka and Sakiko Miyauchi put up a good fight, and were only overtaken by Marianne Vos on the final lap, finishing just behind 31st place.

    The future of Japan's 'cross team is bright, as junior racer Toki Sawada put in an extraordinary performance to take 19th place, while Kota Yokoyama and Michimasa Nakai finished in 41st and 42nd, respectively.

    Enjoy this gallery of the Japanese riders in Koksijde, courtesy of Sonoko Tanaka.