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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 11, 2013

Date published:
November 11, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Harris extends for two years with Telenet-Fidea

    British champion Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) leads teammate Pavla Havlikova in their pursuit of race leader Katie Compton
    Article published:
    November 02, 2013, 10:29 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    British cross rider: "I want to become world champion"

    British cyclo-cross champion Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team) extended her contract with the Belgian cyclo-cross team for two years until December 31, 2015, her team announced on Friday. Harris has set herself the goal becoming cyclo-cross world champion.

    "I had to other options including one from Specialized," the 26-year-old said. "I thought about both options because I wanted to try racing on the road for 100 per cent. After a few weeks I realized that I'm cross rider first and I will remain a cyclo-cross racer. I made a lot of progress and have gotten better over the whole line. This deal gives me the ambition to get even better results."

    "I want and hope to become world champion, that's my main goal. That's why I will stay at Telenet-Fidea because that's the best place to be for that perspective. This is by far the best cyclo-cross team. Also importantly, I was able to improve my contract. Hans [Van Kasteren, team manager] was in a good mood when I signed," Harris joked.

    In order to become cyclo-cross world champion, Harris will have to beat Marianne Vos (Rabo Women). The latter is currently taking a break to undergo minor surgery on her back but she'll be back for the Christmas races and the rest of the cross season.

    Two weeks ago Harris won the first round of the Bpost Bank cyclo-cross series in Ronse. On Friday afternoon, she finished third in the second round at the Koppenbergcross. She remains the overall leader of the series.

    "I'm not happy with my race. I felt tired and couldn't fight up against Helen [Wyman] and Sanne [Cant]. I didn't start well too. Hopefully it'll be different at the European championships on Sunday."

    The European championships will be held in Mlada Boreslav, Czech...

  • Succesful surgery for Marianne Vos

    A victory wave from Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
    Article published:
    November 04, 2013, 21:13 GMT
    José Been

    World champion to return to racing in December

    Road and cyclo-cross world champion Marianne Vos is recovering well from surgery last Thursday to remove a benign cyst in her abdomen. “It’s only a small wound and I am recovering well. The wound isn’t as painful as I had expected,” she said.

    Vos has had back problems dating back from before the world championships in Florence, where she won her third world road race title by beating Emma Johansson of Sweden and Rosella Ratto from Italy. After the world championships she had an additional MRI scan where the cyst was discovered. “It’s not a dangerous cyst,” she told NOS in October. “But it can grow and cause problems so therefore I decided to have it removed.“

    The surgery was planned for last Thursday to fit in her busy schedule. “It’s after the first three 'crosses of the season [GP Brabant, the World Cup in Valkenburg and Woerden, all of which she won - ed.] Then I have time have to recover and focus on the cyclo-cross and road season again.”

    The surgery was succesful and Vos was able to return home soon afterwards. “It was keyhole surgery so it’s only a minor wound.” she told Cyclingonline on Monday. “The recovery is going well and the wound isn’t too painful. I am really happy I had it done.”

    The reason for the back problems that kept her off the bike for some time during the season is still unknown. “I am taking some rest now and feel confident that will end the back trouble too.”

    Vos will have a training camp in South Africa beginning November 26 and will return to racing at the UCI Cyclo-cross World...

  • Sven Nys: I have never felt stronger

    While Sven Nys wasn't able to win Koppenbergcross for a 10th time today, he still leads the bpost bank trofee series
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 14:40 GMT
    José Been

    World Champion to ride with disc brakes this weekend

    Last Sunday, Sven Nys took his third victory of the season in Zonhoven, and the 37-year old has never felt stronger. “In the pre-season my power tests came out higher than ever before,” Nys said in the Belgian talk show Reyers Laat. “If I keep feeling like this, there are still nice races to be won.”

    Speculation has been going around when the now 37-year-old Nys will call it quits, but he has a contract with Crelan untill March 2015 with the option for another season. “I have the option to quit after those two years. If I feel I can’t win anymore, I’ll stop. I want to say goodbye in a worthy manner. But if I don’t have any injuries I will fulfill my contract until March 2016.”

    “I have already been thinking of the time after my career. Together with cyclo-cross organizer Golazo I have bought the land in my village of Baal where the GP Sven Nys takes place on the first of January. We plan on founding a training center for young riders but also for cyclotourists to experience cyclo-cross.”

    Nys has won three races this year with the victory in Zonhoven against Niels Albert the most memorable one. The Belgian is still feeling strong. “This year my tests came out better than ever. I am stronger than I ever was before,” Nys said. “The endurance has not gone. I have been lucky that I didn’t have a lot of injuries, that I haven’t been ill a lot. “

    Nys joined the elite cyclo-cross ranks in 1998 with Rabobank. This year will be his 16th season. “It’s all about taking care of your body. Furthermore I never lost my drive. I have always been motivated to be the best. I try to do a serious job from early morning to late in the evening, every day of the year. And I...

  • Video: How the race was won, Harbin Park edition

    Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) takes the sprint against Compton to win at Harbin Park
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 17:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Break down of women's race

    Cyclingnews teamed up with Behind the Barriers TV to bring you the weekly How the Race Was Won series, where analyst Cosmo Catalano breaks down the women's Harbin Park race.

    The race won by Katerina Nash over Katie Compton, but a series of clever moves and minor mistakes cost Cyclocrossworld's Kaitlin Antonneau a spot on the podium.

    For more episodes of How the Race Was Won, visit the Behind the Barriers TV website.


  • Wellens out for another week with bad back

    Bart Wellens (Telenet - Fidea) after his 9th place finish at the Valkenburg World Cup round
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 19:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    Heavy courses in Hamme-Zogge, Niel too much strain

    Telenet-Fidea's Bart Wellens will sit out another weekend of racing in order to speed the healing of his injured back, but hopes to return next week at the GP Hasselt. The 35-year-old was diagnosed with a herniated disc, and has been told by his doctors to continue to train cautiously while the injections take effect.

    "Bart's condition is satisfactory," his team doctor Peter T'Seyen told "But more time is needed for the injections to do their work. Therefore it is medically better that Bart remain away from competition this week."

    Wellens has been allowed to continue riding, but at a lower effort level, in order to maintain his endurance in hopes that the rest of the season can go off unhindered by the injury.

    After doing his second long training ride since his treatment, Wellens said he is not bad, but not great. "It's pretty much in between. Yesterday I did the full three-hour group ride as I really wanted to ride." He took care to detour around the steep climbs to avoid putting pressure on his back, and will take his doctor's advice to avoid the races this weekend.

    "If I raced it would be only at half speed," he said. "Moreover, this weekend's courses are very heavy. I won't force it. I might start again in Hasselt."

  • Albert overcomes mental struggles in Hamme-Zogge

    Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus) wins in Hamme-Zogge
    Article published:
    November 10, 2013, 20:12 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian nets first major win of the season in Superprestige

    The win from Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the Superprestige cyclo-cross race of Hamme-Zogge was the first major win for the Belgian this season. After two early season C2 wins, the 27 year-old faded away and no longer managed to fight for the victories when it mattered. The tide turned at the Superprestige round in Zonhoven when Albert showed the guts to challenge Nys in the final lap.

    "After the race in Laarne, I made the mistake to keep training while my body needed a break," Albert said after his win on Sunday. "It's not because you train more that you ride faster; instead of going faster I went slower. One tries to tweak his body like a motorbike, but that's not how it works. It probably was a youth mistake."

    Being over-trained was combined with another factor. Albert explained that he was struggling mentally, for example at the Koppenbergcross. "There was fear. I rode in front with Vantornout but instead of adding another notch for half a lap to keep the rest at a distance, I feared that I would blow up. That didn't make sense. I was like a football player who's an OK player but can't find his way to the goal. Ones he scores there's the confidence for much more. That's how I was riding. I wasn't finding the right rhythm.

    "I worked a lot with mental coach Paul Heylen. He told me to keep smiling. After a race I had three seconds to be mad or to be happy. The past few weeks I haven't trained a lot. In Zonhoven I showed guts and it nearly delivered me the victory."

    While Zonhoven turned out to be a turning point, the result of Albert's work came in Hamme-Zogge. "I came here hoping not to lose too many points on the others. It turned out the opposite way. I'm gaining points back. It's a sort...

  • Nys and Vantornout clash in Hamme-Zogge

    Klaas Vantornout had his rear wheel ruined in a clash with Sven Nys
    Article published:
    November 10, 2013, 22:23 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Pair engages in physical battle for Superprestige lead

    The third round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series in Hamme-Zogge offered more than the first major win of the season for Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus). Half a minute behind him Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) literally clashed with each other while battling for second place and the overall lead in the Superprestige.

    During the second Superprestige round in Zonhoven, world champion Nys already showed Belgian champion Vantornout that he's not afraid to use his shoulders. There was no crash, but it was a move that was on the edge of what is seemingly allowed or not. Afterwards Vantornout stated that it boosted him, that it was part of the sport and that spectators love these actions.

    In Hamme-Zogge, Vantornout led Nys on a steep uphill section during the penultimate lap. Vantornout didn't make it up the climb thus forcing Nys to hop off the bike and lose some ground. Nys was spotted shouting some words around. A few corners later he was back on Vantornout's wheel.

    "Vantornout went into a corner but he must've hooked around something. He came to a standstill and I crashed into his rear wheel. We both looked stupid searching for our bikes. It's too bad for Klaas. That rear wheel must've been broken which forced Klaas to run on to the pit which was quite a distance away," Nys said.

    While there had been enough firework during the race there was more after the race. As organizers loudly fired away real fireworks, Vantornout vented his visible disappointment.

    Vantornout realized the mechanical troubles were his own fault. "I made a mistake and Nys rode over my rear wheel. That's what happens in 'cross I guess," Vantornout said right after the race. He clearly didn't like the fact that Nys rode his wheel to pieces. The duo seems to be respecting each other's racing style though new incidents might change that...

  • Tech news: Nys tests disc brakes in Hamme-Zogge

    Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) used 140mm rotors front and rear at the Superprestige in Hamme-Zogge
    Article published:
    November 11, 2013, 3:53 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé and James Huang

    Discs already invading the pro cyclo-cross, but still need to lose weight

    Disc brakes have already begun permeating the amateur cyclo-cross ranks but up until now, detractors of the technology have always been able to use the argument that top pros were still running on cantilevers. That landscape has now been forever altered.

    Dutch champion Lars van der Haar (Rabo Development Team) claimed that his disc brakes helped him to his win in the first World Cup round of the season in Valkenburg. Several weeks later, none other than current world champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) has now made the move to discs at the third Superprestige round in Hamme-Zogge – albeit carefully.

    Nys started and finished today on his usual cantilever-equipped bike but switched to discs periodically through the race. Nys says the test went well but even so, it's unlikely at this point that he'll make the switch full-time – yet. He went on to finish as runner-up behind Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) who is also riding with a Colnago. Albert tested his disc brakes at the Koppenbergcross last week.

    "The difference is massive. With disc brakes you are braking, instead of slowing down," Nys said, adding that there are some disadvantages, too – namely weight. While 'cross doesn't incorporate the massive climbs of road racing, the frequent accelerations and run-ups mean that riders arguably feel any extra mass even more.

    "The difference [in weight] is about two bottles of water, and it's not all in the brakes," Nys said. "It's an adapted frame which is strengthened. It's too much. Too much to run up a climb with that bike on your back."

    While the race in Hamme-Zogge wasn't decisive in terms of braking power despite the muddy conditions, next...