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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, November 2, 2013

Date published:
November 02, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Denuwelaere calls quits on 'cross career

    Belgian elite rider Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) will make his first World Cup start of the season in Rome.
    Article published:
    October 26, 2013, 14:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian frustrated by politics

    Belgian cyclo-cross racer Jan Denuwelaere has decided to put an end to his professional racing career at the young age of 25.

    "I can not do it anymore," Denuwelaere said in a press release. "I could continue to muddle through, but nobody would be well served. So I took a fair decision to put an end to my ambitions."

    The Style & Concept rider is best known for being awarded the victory in last year's race in Essen at the Bpost Bank Trofee - GP Rouwmoer, when former world champion Zdenek Stybar put him into the barriers in the two-man sprint for the win and was relegated.

    Yet that extreme bit of argy-bargy paled in comparison to the struggles Denuwelaere and his fellow outsiders face when attempting to earn selection for the Belgian national team in the World Cups and World Championships. In a country with a huge depth of talent, Denuwelaere fought to gain the attention of the national team coach. After five seasons of racing at the elite level, he made the World Cup selection only twice: for the Rome and Hoogerheide rounds at the end of last season. This season has been so far passed over by U23 graduate Wietse Bosmans, and didn't even make the reserve list.

    "I have to start the third or fourth row, and that's not where the coach is watching. He only looks at the results of his World Cup squad. This situation strangled me," he said.

    It's a catch-22 for riders like the former motocrosser, where places on the team are earned from results, but results are nearly impossible to get when you are new and lack the UCI points to earn a place in the front rows. While his compatriot Ben Berden opted to give up and race in the USA, where the fields are not as deep, Denuwelaere made the decision to call his career quits.

    Denuwelaere's final race...

  • Van der Poel quickly transitions to top of U23 cyclo-cross

    Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) has made a quick transition to the U23 ranks with a victory at only his second World Cup in his new category.
    Article published:
    October 27, 2013, 20:34 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Not since 2004 has a first year U23 'crosser won a World Cup round

    After winning his second straight junior men's cyclo-cross world championship on an icy course in Louisville, Kentucky, this past February, and capping off an undefeated season, Mathieu van der Poel was asked about his expectations as he transitioned to the U23 ranks for the winter of 2013-2014. With typical modesty and aplomb Van der Poel stated he hoped to crack the top-10 but what the 'cross world has seen thus far in only a handful of U23 events has been continued confirmation of his seemingly bottomless trough of talent.

    For good measure, two weeks prior to his first U23 'cross race of the season, Van der Poel put a fitting punctuation mark on his junior road racing career with a world championship in Florence, Italy on September 28. The 18-year-old Dutchman then quickly transitioned to cyclo-cross as he proceeded to win the U23 event at the opening round of the bpost Bank Trophy in Ronse, Belgium, on October 13.

    One week later Van der Poel lined up for his World Cup debut on home turf in Valkenburg. On a course designed by his father Adri, himself a 'cross world champion and winner of Monuments such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Flanders on the road, Mathieu proceeded to advance through the field from a start several rows back to finish on the podium in third in his first U23 World Cup. Van der Poel was just one second shy of runner-up Wout Van Aert and 21 seconds in arrears of Belgian winner Michael Vanthourenhout.

    Six days later, Van der Poel proved a quick study and

  • Nys, Compton continue to lead UCI 'cross rankings

    World champion Sven Nys (Crelan KDL) rebounded from a subpar World Cup performance the day before to place second at Superprestige Ruddervoorde
    Article published:
    October 29, 2013, 20:50 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Lucas Dubau narrowly retains lead among juniors

    Following the second UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup event of the season, this past Saturday in Tabor, Czech Republic, the UCI has today released the latest cyclo-cross rankings. There are no changes at the top as Sven Nys (Crelan KDL), Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) and France's Lucas Dubau lead the elite men's, elite women's and junior men's respective rankings.

    The elite categories feature a rolling, 12-month tabulation for the rankings and while Nys only notched a sub-par 22nd place in the points-rich World Cup race in Tabor he still remains the highest-ranked rider with 2,088 points. And despite finishing 2nd the following day at the C1-ranked Superprestige opener in Ruddervoorde, that doesn't even count for Nys. For ranking purposes a rider's six best C1 results are utilised and Nys has six victories still in the bank.

    Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) remain in second and third overall with 1,918 and 1,714 points respectively while Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team), who followed up his World Cup victory in Valkenburg with a repeat performance in Tabor, moves from 5th to 4th with 1,685 points. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), fifth in Tabor then victorious on Sunday at Ruddervoorde, drops from 4th to 5th with 1,670 points.

    Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) remains the top North American rider in 22nd place at 577 points.

    Belgium continues to reign supreme in the elite men's nation standings with 5,720 points as the top-11 countries remain unchanged. The Netherlands remains in 2nd with 3,222 points followed by the Czech Republic in 3rd at 2,279 points.

    Katie Compton

  • Wellens out of Koppenbergcross with back pain

    Bart Wellens (Telenet - Fidea) after his 9th place finish at the Valkenburg World Cup round
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 4:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian diagnosed with herniated disc

    Former cyclo-cross world champion Bart Wellens finally has the answer to lingering back pain which has hampered his ability to perform to his previous level. The 35-year-old was diagnosed today with a herniated disc in his lower back.

    Wellens will take a ten-day long break from competition, missing Friday's Koppenbergcross as well as Sunday's Superprestige round in Zonhoven. He hopes to be able to return for the next round in Hamme-Zogge on November 10.

    An MRI and bone scan revealed the herniated disc in the L4-L5 vertebrae which has put pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord, causing pain and weakness in the legs, likely stemming from a 2006 injury.

    "I am glad that I finally know what's going on," Wellens said according to "I could say I was in pain, I could say that I totally felt no strength in the legs, but many began to see it as something mental. I have now confirmed to myself that it was not and that there was indeed a serious problem. The positive is that it can be solved."

    Wellens may be able to pedal on his rollers without resistance or on the road if there is no wind, but only rest and patience will allow the treatments to work. "I will take complete rest until Friday. Eventually I can return to training, but we'll see that day by day. If all goes to plan I expect to be back in the pack in Hamme-Zogge, but we'll see."

  • Video: How the race was won, Halloween edition

    Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) follows up her CrossVegas victory with a win in Providence
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 18:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    An analysis of Cross Vegas women's race by Behind the Barriers

    Cyclingnews has joined up with Behind the Barriers TV to bring our readers a weekly analysis of the season's North American cyclo-cross races. Commentator Cosmo Catalano breaks down the action with a razor sharp eye for the tiny details that can make a race, or shatter a rider's hopes.

    This week's race analysis goes back to the women's race at Cross Vegas, where we learn we learn just what made the mountain bikers so successful in what should have been a roadie-friendly course, and what winner Katerina Nash, Lea Davison and Catharine Pendrel did better than the rest.

    Visit Behind the Barriers TV for more editions of How the Race Was Won.

  • Meeusen takes biggest win of career at Koppenbergcross

    Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) celebrates victory at Koppenbergcross
    Article published:
    November 01, 2013, 18:00 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Telenet-Fidea Belgian prevails in tactical race

    The win by Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) at the Koppenbergcross on Friday came as quite a surprise. The 24-year-old Belgian prevented world champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) from taking a much anticipated 10th Koppenbergcross victory and the cobble trophy that comes along with that win. His victory at Koppenbergcross was Meeusen's third win of the season and it is by far the biggest.

    "Early in the season I grabbed two wins but they were quickly played down as easy wins because they're not part of any series," said Meeusen. "I rated them highly. Afterwards I had stomach problems and finished off the pace in Ronse and abandoned the World Cup in Tabor. People quickly talked about an unsuccessful trainer switch and poor start of the season for Telenet-Fidea. With this win we set things straight."

    The victory in the Koppenbergcross is his fifth in one of the major cyclo-cross series but it's by far the biggest win of Meeusen's career. "Finally it's a big one. Sven Nys calls this the second most important race of the season so to win this race is quite an honour. I'm not as consistent as Sven Nys but it's clear I can play my role in some races now and then."

    The health issues that kept him from riding well last month were treated by an osteopath and a food specialist. "My guts tend to block due to the big efforts. I was advised to eat more often and in smaller quantities. It's less fun but it helps."

    In contrast to previous editions of the Koppenbergcross, this year's race was not a mud-fest. In a tactical race all the big guns eyed one another in anticipation of a big move. It became clear that the final lap would decide the race from a nine-man...

  • Nys misses historic 10th Koppenbergcross title

    World champion Sven Nys (Crelan KDL) was trying for the 10th Koppenbergcross win of his career
    Article published:
    November 01, 2013, 19:02 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Second biography for Nys but no tenth cobble

    Coming into the 2013 edition of the Koppenbergcross, world champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) was expected to grab an unprecedented tenth victory and the cobble that comes along with it. The circumstances weren't extremely selective as the course was rather dry, and he finished a disappointing fifth behind winner Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea).

    Nys kept his guns quiet for most of the race, only responding to one attack from German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) halfway through the race. His poker game didn't pay off as Nys was left behind by four other riders after the final descent from the Koppenberg.

    "I was good but not good enough. I was able to keep up but it wasn't possible to ride away. I could not make the difference. Last year I was better. Nevertheless it should have been possible to win in these circumstances too. I wanted to be in the mix for the sprint but I made a mistake at the bottom of the climb," Nys said.

    Making mistakes isn't a common thing to do for Nys so he described what happened. "After the descent I hopped off the bike at the corner before the meadow. It went very fast and when I hopped back up the bike I was in too big of a gear."

    During the race it seemed like Nys wasn't enjoying a good day. He was often spotted leaving some gaps, riding at the back of the group. "The pace often dropped so it was clear that the final lap would decide the race. Every attacker would be blown back again. Only if the course is muddy does an attacker stand a chance. Riding in the top four costs a lot of energy, so I opted not to do so here. I left some gaps to ride at my own pace. On the tough sections I made up any lost ground," Nys said. "Everybody matched each other in terms of form and power. Meeusen is very punchy at the finish."

    After the race Nys presented his book 'Mijn leven' [My life] to the...

  • Ferrier-Bruneau and Denuwelaere retire at Koppenbergcross

    Koppenbergcross was the final race of 25-year-old Belgian Jan Denuwelaere's (Style & Concept Cycling Team) career
    Article published:
    November 02, 2013, 7:28 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Two riders bring curtain down on 'cross careers

    The Koppenbergcross was the last race at the highest level for two riders. Both Christel Ferrier-Brunea (Faren-Kuota) and Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) concluded their career at the famous Flemish cobbled climb.

    For 34-year-old French rider Christel Ferrier-Bruneau, the Koppenbergcross concluded a cycling career of nine years. Despite showing great form in the last couple of cyclo-cross races, she decided the Koppenbergcross would be her last race. “First I wanted to end with the road world championships in Firenze but I left the race ill in an ambulance. So I decided to add some ‘cross racing to conclude my career,” Ferrier-Bruneau said.

    “I wanted to retire at the European championships next weekend but the French coach decided to send only one rider. After this weekend it’s a long time before there’s another big race and the sand of Koksijde isn’t my thing. That’s why I chose the Koppenbergcross. I’ve never done it in the past.”

    “It’s too bad that I wasn’t able to get on the podium. I realized that three others were stronger than me. It was hard to deal with that but I went to the limit. That’s also why I crashed at the end of the second lap. I wasn’t lucid enough,” Ferrier-Bruneau continued. The Béziers-located rider will now happily stay home as she had enough of all the travelling: “It’s time for my family, and time to start a family.”

    Ferrier-Bruneau refers to her two French titles on the road in 2009 and 2011 as career highlights. “Riding in Beijing was a highlight too, finishing thirteenth. In cyclo-cross the...