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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 24, 2014

Date published:
March 24, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Telenet-Fidea makes offer to Mourey

    French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ)
    Article published:
    February 16, 2014, 18:15 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian 'cross team interested in Frenchman

    Telenet-Fidea manager Hans van Kasteren confirmed to Cyclingnews that he made an offer to Francis Mourey. The French cyclo-cross champion has spent his entire 11-year professional career on the FDJ team of Marc Madiot.

    "I made an offer to Francis Mourey. I want to get him to race more often in Belgium. I haven't heard back from him just yet," Van Kasteren told Cyclingnews.

    The Telenet-Fidea team had been built around Bart Wellens but the Belgian's best years are behind him. This year Tom Meeusen emerged as new team leader, winning five races including Saturday's final round of the Superprestige series.

    Mourey, a 33-year-old Frenchman, has combined the road with cyclo-cross. Last year on the road he won the Tro Bro Léon and finished 20th overall in the Giro d'Italia.

    Mourey also had one of his best cyclo-cross seasons ever, although he doesn't frequently race in Belgium. The Frenchman claims the organizers are not inviting him. He also skipped the World Cup round at Heusden-Zolder on Boxing Day as it would have forced him to travel from the east of France on Christmas Day.

    Despite his different approach Mourey managed to recapture the French title and win the World Cup round in Namur. He was also one of the favourites at the cyclo-cross world championships in Hoogerheide two weeks ago. For a long time he was able to keep up with defending champion Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) and eventual winner Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) but he faded back in the second part of the race, eventually...

  • Albert struggles with pressure

    Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) had a race to forget and would drop out of the Belgian 'cross championship
    Article published:
    February 24, 2014, 10:55 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Cyclo-cross star looks back on season

    After winning the last cyclo-cross race of the 2013-2014 season in Oostmalle a somewhat relieved Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) talked freely about the problems he has had over the last few months.

    Arguably one of the world's best cyclo-cross riders, Albert had a troubled season which lacked a big win at the championships and an overall win in one of the three major cyclo-cross series.

    Last weekend he entered the final round of the Superprestige series in Middelkerke with a four-point lead on Sven Nys but he failed to stay close enough to the 37 year-old Belgian champion and lost out on the overall win. His win in the final round of the Bpost Bank Trophy in Oostmalle was somewhat of a consolation.

    "I set my sights on winning the Superprestige in Middelkerke. When that didn't happen I received a mental blow. My approach to this race was to consider it as the first race of the 2014-2015 season. The result didn't matter, fifth place was good enough but I wanted to be in the mix and not struggle like in many previous races," Albert said.

    His arch rival Sven Nys, blamed Albert for not racing in Lebbeke on Saturday, conserving energy for the more important race in Oostmalle on Sunday.

    "I slept badly for two nights in a row, and had a fever. It's a pity for the organizers of Lebbeke that I had to pass on that one but it makes this win more special. Today I was certainly not physically the best of the pack but a race can also be won by what’s in your head. I can always perform better on the course of Oostmalle. This course has no secrets for me; I can locate every root on it."

    "There's a lot of sand and you have to ride alone here; that's when I excel. I also took a lot of risks in the sandy corners and that increased the cornering speed. Wednesday I trained on the course and crashed a couple of times but if you don't crash you can't improve. It's true that I let go of my emotions sometimes but that's what my fans...

  • Koppenbergcross becomes first Euro cyclo-cross to give equal prize money

    Helen Wyman (Great Britain) finished with a bronze medal
    Article published:
    February 24, 2014, 12:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Landmark move for equal prize money between men and women

    The Koppenbergcross and Twenty20 Cycling have teamed up in order to ensure that the race becomes the first European cyclo-cross race to provide equal prize money for both the men’s and women’s race field. The move closes a financial gap of 5,000 Euros. The race is set to take place on November 1, 2014.

    The winner of the GP Twenty20 Cycling - the new name of the women’s race – will see an increase in prize money from 350 euros.

    British cyclo-cross rider Helen Wyman welcomed the move, stating that it was a landmark move for women’s cycling.

    "In my eyes, this is a huge step. It is a very significant moment for women's cycling. This allows women to make one step up the ladder towards equality. I spend a lot of my free time trying to advance women’s cyclo-cross and I hope this will lead to a chain reaction of races who do the same, as I know the support is there from sponsors, supporters and riders. To be a part of this development for the sport is fantastic for me."

    “For the Koppenbergcross to be the first race in Europe to do this is very special. I love the Koppenbergcross, to me it is the biggest race outside of the World Championships. It is legendary. To have an American sponsor back the race shows how significant it is around the world. I can't thank Twenty20 Cycling enough on behalf of all of the racers that take part next season. I'm certainly already looking forward to the GP Twenty20 Cycling and hope to collect another cobble stone in 2014."

    Kristopher Auer, manager of Twenty20 Cycling, added his support for the move. "Twenty20 Cycling Co. is a small two-store bicycle shop located in Baltimore and Savage, Maryland in the United States. One of the things that makes our business unique is how it developed from a cyclo-cross background. Since before we opened our business I have been supporting the growth of cyclo-cross in America."

    "I was promoting UCI...

  • Nys wins 9th Bpost Bank Trophy title of career

    Sven Nys leads the pack
    Article published:
    February 25, 2014, 11:34 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian champion ends 'cross season with 17 victories

    There were surprises in the final weekend of cyclo-cross season as Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) grabbed his 17th win of the season in Lebbeke on Saturday and with a 10th place in Oostmalle on Sunday he racked up his ninth overall win in the Bpost Bank Trophy, one of the three major cyclo-cross series.

    This season Sven Nys captured 17 victories, won the Superprestige cyclo-cross series, won the Belgian national championship and was a strong runner-up to Zdenek Stybar at the world championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. At the age of 37 Nys managed to dominate the cyclo-cross season once again and he's keen to repeat that in the 2014-2015 season.

    "I don't have to care about what the people say as it's not always going to be a top notch year. Last year I managed 20 wins and people asked me if the next year wouldn't be the year-too-much. I have enough experience. It's a matter of recharging the batteries but not allowing the physical level to drop too much," Nys said after finishing 10th in Oostmalle and winning in Lebbeke on Saturday. "Today (Sunday) I realized that it was no longer possible to ride an hour on the limit, especially two days in a row. The last few weeks I had a lot of obligations. I lacked training. It's time to rest."

    On Sunday afternoon Nys briefly featured in the lead group with Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea), the duo that went on to finish first and second. Halfway into the second lap Nys also won the intermediate sprint, "I knew I was level with Thijs van Amerongen," and racked up an additional 2500 euros. That's when Nys considered the job done and a little...

  • Richmond announces courses for 2015 UCI Road World Championships

    Rui Costa (Portugal) resplendent in the rainbow jersey after winning the 2013 road race world championship
    Article published:
    February 25, 2014, 19:15 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Historic Tour DuPont elements included

    The organisation of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships today revealed the course designs which will be used for the road races, team time trials and individual time trials in the city of Richmond, Virginia next year.

    Although not a mountainous region, Richmond is famous for the sharp climbs that rise out of Shockoe Bottom and Historic Shockoe Slip - ascents which were used in the Tour DuPont and Tour de Trump in the 1980s and 1990s plus the US Open of Cycling in 2007 - and those ascents will feature prominently in the final kilometers of the road race.

    The course is not expected to be a pure climber's course, nor one for the sprinters, but will favor riders like Philippe Gilbert, Fabian Cancellara or Peter Sagan.

    Tim Miller, CEO for Richmond 2015, unveiled the courses, with the road race and time trial circuits to be used for the 2014 USA Cycling collegiate national championships on May 2-4, 2014, as a test event ahead of next year's Worlds, taking  place September 19-27, 2015.

    Miller stated the committee had to take three factors into account when designing the courses: competition, tourism, and impact to businesses and residents.

    "If all we had to worry about was the competition, it would be easy," Miller said. "[we had to consider] the areas of city, county and state that they want to show off, and how local residents and businesses will be impacted. We've worked hard to find that balance and meet courses that meet those objectives."

    The courses themselves show little evidence of compromise, and bisect the center of Richmond, criss-crossing the James River and taking in sweeping views of the city's skyline.

    The 16.5km, urban road race circuit for the elite men and women tackles the daunting cobbled climb of Libby Hill Park, rising up from the James River, the 110m-long 19% grade of 23rd Street, and the smoothly paved but still taxing ascent of Governor's Street. All three climbs will feature...

  • Van der Haar and Compton ranked first on final UCI 'cross standings

    World Cup leader Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) wins his third World Cup race of the season at Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.
    Article published:
    February 25, 2014, 20:12 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Peeters finishes season as top-ranked junior

    With the 2013-2014 cyclo-cross season complete, Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) and Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) finished as the top-ranked elite men's and elite women's riders respectively on the final UCI cyclo-cross standings. Belgium's Yannick Peeters topped the junior men's UCI rankings.

    Van der Haar had led the elite men's standings since the December 31, 2013 tabulation which followed the 22-year-old Dutchman's victory in the fifth round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. Van der Haar finished the season with 1,771 points, 133 more than runner-up Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) and 283 more than third-placed Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus).

    Throughout the season van der Haar won six races, including a repeat win in the Dutch national championship plus three World Cup rounds, and finished as the overall elite men's World Cup champion.

    Also of note in the final elite men's standings was Mathieu van der Poel's final position of eighth overall with 1,326 points. The 19-year-old Dutchman, in his first year in the U23 ranks, started the year with zero points but made very steady progress to rise through the standings and ultimately finish in the top 10. Van der Poel raced 28 times this season and only missed the podium on three separate occasions, with his worst race of the season an 8th place finish at the final Superprestige round. He won 12 races, including the Dutch U23 title and four World Cup rounds, and won two of the three major series: World Cup and Superprestige.

    Another 19-year-old who was frequently van der Poel's toughest competitor, Belgium's Wout Van Aert, finished 10th overall and captured the U23 world championship plus the Bpost Bank Trofee series title.

  • USA to host first Pan-American cyclo-cross championship

    Katerina Nash leads Compton
    Article published:
    March 24, 2014, 2:00 GMT
    Ted Burns

    Cincy3 Festival will turn Devou Park into continental championship race

    Last month the organizers of the Cincy3 Cyclo-cross Festival announced that they would be turning their Sunday November 2 race at Devou Park in Covington, KY, into a continental championship race. The first ever Pan-American Continental Cyclo-cross Championship will be held for Elite Women, U23 Men, and Junior 17-18 men. Organizers are also planning on including a women's U23 category, which was first run at last years European Cyclo-cross Championship.

    A championship race will not be offered for Elite Men in 2014, who will instead be eligible to compete in a UCI C2 event on Sunday's course. Cincy3 organizers expect to add an Elite Men's race to the event in 2015, which will be the first time the category is available for a continental championship title.

    Bringing a continental championship race to North America has been a long time goal for CrossVegas race director Brook Watts. Because Cincy3's event has grown rapidly in recent years, and the race fell within the time frame mandated for continental championships, Watts approached Cincy3 race director Mitch Graham, about putting the event on in the U.S. Watts was originally inspired to put on a continental championship after watching American cyclo-cross riders scramble for UCI points.

    "About a decade ago, when I saw this continental championship designation, and I was familiar with it from the road and mountain biking, my sense was ‘My gosh, I can't believe we are leaving all these points on the table,'" Watts recalled. "Our guys and gals go to Europe and they are already struggling to for UCI points to get that key start position. Why are we disadvantaging them even further? That's when my wheels started turning."

    For Elite Women, the race offers more points than a national championship race, and for U23 and Junior Men it is on par with a World Cup. The women's race...

  • Las Vegas likely to host UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in 2015

    Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) wins CrossVegas for the third time
    Article published:
    March 24, 2014, 18:15 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Official confirmation may be months away

    It is looking more and more likely that the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup 2015/2016 season will kick off with an event in Las Vegas, Gazet van Antwerpen reports. "It is now certain that Las Vegas will be part of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup," UCI coordinator Peter Van Den Abeele said.

    CrossVegas organiser Brook Watts told Cyclingnews, "I will only confirm that discussions about CrossVegas becoming a World Cup that began in 2008 are ongoing today albeit at a much faster pace and more serious tone."

    The UCI cyclo-cross commission and athlete representative Sven Nys have been working on ways to globalise 'cross, and it was long rumored that CrossVegas would make its World Cup debut this season. However, that will be postponed for another year. 

    Watts seemed optimistic that the race would be included in the 2015/2016 calendar, and is actively seeking sponsorship for this year's edition and the future.

    "CrossVegas has proved it is a world class race worthy of a spot among other events like the World Cup, Superprestige or BPost series races in Europe. We continue to work toward a goal of globalizing our sport and look forward to being a part of that for many years.

    "At this time our energies are concentrated toward staging a successful 2014 event including the introduction today of a new sponsorship webpage, and working with the team in Cincinnati to present the first Pan-American 'Cross Championships."

    CrossVegas is going to be the first World Cup race outside of Europe. The upcoming season will see the first UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup round outside of continental Europe in Milton Keynes, Great Britain.

    The 2014/2015 World Cup season starts in Valkenburg on October 19, followed by Koksijde on November 22, Milton...