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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, February 16, 2014

Date published:
February 16, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Nys leaves cyclo-cross Worlds feeling like a winner

    Sven Nys (Belgium) on the podium
    Article published:
    February 02, 2014, 21:03 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian says Stybar's victory shows cyclo-cross is on a high level

    Defending world champion Sven Nys lost his rainbow jersey on Sunday afternoon at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, but he lost it in style. In a great race-long duel with Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic), Nys seemed to have the upper hand for most of the race, but then made too many mistakes in the final laps. The 37-year-old Belgian rider said afterwards he didn't feel like a loser but like a winner.

    "We were equally strong, both on a really high level. We were both on our limit. I don't think I'm a loser today. I'm also a winner and that's what I take along for the remainder of the season," Nys said. "I think it was possible [to beat him in the last lap]. I don't think he still had a good sprint left in his legs. I accelerated in the closing laps and he had trouble following. I made small mistake after the tree. I waited half a lap and recovered a bit. It was not so easy to have a gap on Stybar."

    When asked what made the difference Nys came up with several reasons. "Mentally he's a little bit more fresh because he doesn't race the whole season. I'm happy with my second place. It wasn't easy to defend my jersey. I'm nearly 38, I never forget that. There's also the pressure. I was the guy of which everybody said would win the race. It's mentally hard.

    "My shape was on the highest level but [Stybar is] a big champion who found a course that suits him really well. If it would've rained all week long like in many European countries then maybe it would have been easier to have a gap on him. He had a really good day and even then I had a chance to win."

    Nys wasn't surprised it came down to a duel between him and Stybar. The only riders who followed early on were also the riders who Nys expected to perform well. He didn't expect any of his compatriots to battle for the victory and that turned out to be...

  • UCI checked for motors in bikes at cyclo-cross Worlds

    Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) in his third cyclo-cross rainbow jersey
    Article published:
    February 03, 2014, 13:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    First checks since Danilo di Luca's claim

    The UCI checked the bikes of the first three of the world championships in Hoogerheide for mechanical doping. UCI officials removed the saddles from the bikes and used a camera to check inside the seat posts for the presence of motors, Het Nieuwsblad reports. No motors were found.

    It was the first time the international cycling union checked for mechanical doping after the interview by Danilo di Luca on Italian television in January. Di Luca claimed that the use of motors inside the bike frame would be possible. 

    There was controversy in 2010 regarding Fabian Cancellara allegedly having used mechanical assistance to win both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The allegations were unproven and Cancellara denied them.

    "I know how I achieved my wins. I have an engine, but it's in my body. This is the strongest one you can imagine. Over the last decade I've shown that I don't need any other motor," Sporza reported Cancellara as saying at the time. "It's frustrating that these stories keep popping up about me, but that's life."


  • Lechner celebrates best result of her career at 'cross Worlds

    Silver is as good as a win for Eva Lechner (Italy)
    Article published:
    February 03, 2014, 19:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mountain biker and 'cross racer makes Italian history

    Italian Eva Lechner got the best result of her career and also the best result of any Italian at this year's UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands this weekend. The 'cross and mountain bike star earned a silver medal, making her the first Italian woman to earn a medal at 'cross Worlds.

    "We had a clear goal in mind, and all optimally managed the pressure," said Lechner's coach Edmund Telser. "Second place is like a victory because Marianne Vos is in a class of her own."

    Prior to the Worlds, Lechner had spent a few days training with some female Swiss mountain bike racers in Gran Canaria. But upon her return to the wintry, snowy South Tyrol region, she promptly caught a cold.

    Two days before she headed to Worlds, Lechner said, "I have no great expectations for Holland. Although I am in a good mood, I have to be realistic after my cold. Whether I'll be good enough at the World Cup for a top placing is questionable."

    Vos finished over a minute ahead of Lechner for the Dutch woman's sixth consecutive 'cross world title while Lechner was delighted to get the best-ever Italian women's finish at 'cross Worlds ahead of 'cross stars Helen Wyman and Sanne Cant.

    Enrico Franzoi was the most recent Italian to win an elite medal at 'cross Worlds. He earned bronze in 2007 in the elite men's race. Daniele Pontoni won gold in 1997 while Luca Bramati was third. In 1996, Pontoni and Bramati were second and third respectively. Italians have to go back to 1969 to find another elite Italian medallist - Renato Longo with bronze.

  • UCI pushing for cyclo-cross in Winter Olympic Games

    Jamey Driscoll pivots for some traction
    Article published:
    February 06, 2014, 20:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cookson makes an appeal to IOC president Bach

    UCI president Brian Cookson made an appeal to his counterpart at the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, asking for consideration for the inclusion of cyclo-cross in the Winter Olympic Games.

    Bach indicated ahead of this year's Winter Games in Sochi that he is open to changes to the rules surrounding the inclusion of sports in the Games, including eliminating the seven-year waiting period. Although it is sometimes raced on snow and ice, cyclo-cross has not been considered for the Winter Games because of the Olympic Charter, which states: "only those sports which are practised on snow or ice are considered as winter sports."

    "I believe that cyclo-cross - which takes place during the northern hemisphere winter – would be an exciting addition to the Winter Games," Cookson stated in a press release.

    "Cyclo-cross requires endurance, explosive power and incredible bike handling skills. Many youngsters wishing to take up cycling pass through the school of cyclo-cross, and the breathtaking performances of the Junior athletes at the recent UCI World Championships in Hoogerheide clearly demonstrated the depth of young talent around the globe."

    Previously dominated by central European countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France and the Czech Republic, the sport has begun a dramatic expansion, and is now hugely popular at the grassroots level in North America, in Japan, and is growing in the Southern Hemisphere. It has also expanded in Europe, with the United Kingdom being awarded the first World Cup round in history outside of Continental Europe.

    "Athletes representing 23 countries and five continents competed in the 2014 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships last weekend," Cookson said. "Two nations - Macedonia and Serbia - sent athletes to the Worlds for the first time. The Women and Junior...

  • Cyclo-cross Worlds gallery: New gear, mud and Nutella

    The SRAM CX1 group was installed on a few riders' bikes. Not yet released, the single-ring or "one-by" group has a long cage and roller bearing clutch mechanism
    Article published:
    February 14, 2014, 12:00 GMT
    Robin Wilmott

    SRAM's CX1, unusual Di2 configurations and more

    This article originally published on BikeRadar

    At the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships earlier this month, riders and mechanics hauled a smorgasbord of gear to Hoogerheide in the Netherlands. BikeRadar's Robin Wilmott was there with his camera to capture it all.

    Click through the photo gallery for close-up shots of SRAM's not-yet-released CX1 drivetrain parts, interesting ways to route Shimano Di2 cabling, the particular tool-and-Nutella arrangements of a mechanic in the pits, and much, much more.

  • Nys snatches Superprestige title away from Albert

    Elite men's final overall Superprestige podium (L-R): Niels Albert, 2nd; Sven Nys, 1st; Tom Meeusen, 3rd
    Article published:
    February 15, 2014, 20:00 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    I didn't know I won, said Belgian champion

    On a very windy Saturday afternoon in Middelkerke, Belgium, Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) and Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) battled for the overall win in the final round of the 2013-2014 Superprestige cyclo-cross series. Albert held the overall lead by four points over Nys entering the race, but when the dust settled on the Superprestige's eighth and final round Nys and Albert were tied overall on points with 101 each following a third place finish by Nys and a seventh place result from Albert.

    With Nys having more wins in the eight-race series than Albert (four for Nys, two for Albert), the Belgian champion won the Superprestige series overall title for the 13th time in his illustrious career.

    "It's unbelievable that this happened to me, that we're equal [on points] after eight rounds," Nys said. The ultra-experienced Belgian champion actually miscalculated the situation during the race and thought he had just missed out on the overall win. "I didn't know I had won. I thought Niels finished sixth," Nys said.

    Despite knowing he won Nys didn't look like a happy man when talking with the press in the small tent that was nearly blown away by the strong winds. "Make no mistake, I'm very happy. I'm just not happy about my race. I'll enjoy this overall win, for sure, but not just yet."

    Winning the Superprestige series for a 13th time shows how long Nys has been dominating the cyclo-cross scene. After winning this edition with such a small margin Nys thought back to previous years. "I've won the Superprestige in the past due to bad luck from others and one time I lost it due to bad luck in Diegem. This year I still wasn't leading despite four wins and two second places. After Gieten [Nys abandoned due to a mechanical] I gave up on it. Finishing equally on points shows how strong Niels was this season," Nys said.


  • Albert left empty-handed at Superprestige finale

    Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) finished 7th in Middelkerke and surrendered his overall Superprestige title to Sven Nys
    Article published:
    February 15, 2014, 22:21 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    BKCP-Powerplus Belgian loses overall title to Nys

    The final Superprestige cyclo-cross round in Middelkerke, Belgium, was supposed to salvage Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) his lackluster season. Albert had won two World Cup rounds but missed out on the overall win, finishing third behind Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) and teammate Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus). Albert won none of the Bpost Bank Trophy rounds and performed below par at the Belgian and the world championships.

    In the Superprestige series Albert had won two rounds, Hamme-Zogge and Gieten, and he led the series by four points over Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) when entering Sunday's final round in windy Middelkerke. His four-point lead meant he had to stay within three positions of Nys to claim the overall title.

    While Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) managed an impressive solo in Middelkerke both Albert and Nys were struggling. For a long time Nys rode in fourth place while Albert was riding in seventh position. During the penultimate lap Nys bridged up to Dutch champion Lars van der Haar and left him behind in the final lap. Nys placed third while Albert could do no better than seventh.

    The duo were now tied on overall points in the Superprestige series, both at 101, with Nys claiming the overall win as he won more Superprestige rounds (four to Albert's two).

    "I never thought this would happen to me," Albert said. "I saw that Nys wasn't having a super day and there was never too many riders amongst us. It was possible today. I didn't know in what position Sven was riding. I just tried to get as fast to the finish as possible....

  • Spa-Francorchamps circuit to host Superprestige cyclo-cross round

    Belgian champion Sven Nys takes the victory at the Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne in Dottignies, Belgium on October 11, 2008
    Article published:
    February 16, 2014, 13:38 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    2014-15 Superprestige schedule announced

    After Sven Nys wrapped up his 13th Superprestige title in Middelkerke, Belgium, yesterday, the series organisers announced the calendar for the 2014-15 season.

    The 33rd edition of the cyclo-cross series will receive a small face lift. After 10 years Hamme-Zogge will disappear from the Superprestige calendar and in its place will be the Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne, with the famous Spa-Francorchamps Formula One car circuit hosting the race. It marks the first time that the cyclo-cross series will venture into the Wallonne region of Belgium.

    "We are delighted that after 33 seasons, finally able to cross the language barrier to a mythical place in Wallonia," Superprestige president Etienne Gevaert said at the presentation of the new calendar.

    Race organizer Marc Duquesnoy explained to Cyclingnews that things started to fall together when Golazo Sports-organizer Christophe Impens stepped in to assist regarding finding a new venue for the Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne 'cross race, which no longer had a home after the city of Dottignies withdrew support. The former 1500 metre runner Impens knew people in Francorchamps and a deal was quickly signed.

    "I organized a race in Dottignies for more than twenty years," Duquesnoy said. "Dottignies no longer wants to invest in cyclo-cross so we had to stop. I'm part of the deal because I own the race license. We were a category 2 race but now we'll move up to category 1."

    Back in December it was Marcel Meisen (Kwadro-Stannah) who won the last edition of the GP Wallonie in Dottignies.

    "Spa-Francorchamps is the most beautiful circuit in the world," said Duquesnoy. "The future of the Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne is assured and that makes me very...