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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Date published:
October 30, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Todd Wells aiming for Worlds in brief cyclo-cross season

    US 'cross champion Todd Wells (Specialized) has just returned from winning the La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain bike race in Costa Rica
    Article published:
    October 09, 2012, 21:14 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Squeezing 'cross in between mountain bike races

    Despite getting a late start compared with the rest of his US cyclo-cross rivals, three-time US national champion Todd Wells said this week he'll be jumping on his 'cross bike and into some races soon enough.

    "It used to be that I would start gluing up tubulars in my garage once the leaves started blowing in," Wells told Cyclingnews while en route to Malaysia for the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge Oct. 15-20. "But as CrossVegas and all these other races started popping up, the US has really started earlier now. If you want to get to the races you're gluing up those tires when it's full-on summer outside. So there are some leaves starting to come into my garage now and I'm feeling the itch to get out there and do some 'cross races."

    Wells said he should return from Malaysia in time to race the Boulder weekend at the end of October before heading to Costa Rica to defend his 2011 title at La Ruta de los Conquistadores. Wells will take a break after the cross country race and then most likely race the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross (USGP) finale in Bend and the UCI races in North Carolina and Chicago, then he'll wind things up for January's national championships in Wisconsin.

    "My goal is national champs, to have a good race there, and then hopefully, if I do that I would get selected for the Worlds team," Wells said. "I'm not going to make it based on the criteria of who has the most UCI points."

    Wells, 36, has had a long and fruitful season on the mountain bike for Specialized this year. Coming off his seventh-place finish at the 2011 UCI cross country world championships, he won the Pan American championship for the second time this season and took fourth in a

  • Video: Van der Haar aiming at elite 'cross success

    U23 world champion Lars van der Haar (Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team)
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 15:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Twice U23 world champion skips ahead

    Although he had another year in the U23 ranks, two-time cyclo-cross world champion Lars van der Haar has chosen to move up to the elite ranks this season, and has high hopes for his performances there.

    In this video provided by Giant, the Dutch rider explains his decision. "When I won my first Worlds, it was a really big thing for me. I thought I would never do it again. Then a year after I did it all over again."

    Not content with the possibility of finishing lower than first at the U23 worlds, van der Haar said, "I spoke about it with the team and we decided to just go to the pros, and climb up the ladder again. So every year you can go stronger and stronger."

    A punchy and powerful but small rider, van der Haar said he chose 'cross because he can use his strengths to an advantage, rather than battle against bigger, stronger riders on the road. "I think my secret weapon is still my sprint. My goal is to be top 10 in all the races and be national champion as well. I think I will be able to do that."

    So far his record is right on track: his lowest finish in three races was the Superprestige in Ruddervoorde, where he stayed with the leaders for much of the race until fading back to seventh. In Las Vegas and Kalmthout, he finished just off the podium in fourth.

  • GvA Trofee becomes bpost Bank Trofee

    As ever, the crowds gathered in Belgium for the GVA Trophy.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 18:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    New name and rules for Belgian cyclo-cross series

    The second oldest series of Belgian cyclo-cross has a new sponsor, a new name and a novel way to determine the overall classification. The former GvA Trofee, named after newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen, has become the bpost Bank Trofee, and the overall winner will be the one not with the most points, but with the lowest cumulative time for each of the eight races in the series.

    The new sponsor was announced on Wednesday for the series which begins on Sunday, with the GP Mario De Clercq in Ronse, where the time classification will have its first test for the elite men. The women and under 23 men will still contest the series on points.

    The riders can lose a maximum of five minutes per race, and if they drop out or do not start a race, they will receive a five minute penalty.

    The intermediate sprint prize will remain in place but riders will be awarded 15, 10 and 5 seconds for first through third places in the sprint

    Erwin Vervecken, the now-retired former world cyclo-cross champion, helped to design the time classification, and believes it will give new names an opportunity to succeed, rather than Sven Nys or Niels Albert.

    "We have compared our new way to the times of last season and would see the same top five," said Vervecken. "I don't see it happening that way. In the first two hard 'crosses, all the minutes will be juggled.

    The prize for the elite men has gone up as well. "We have a total of 35,000 euros more prize money this year. The winner of the bpost trofee in the pro's this year will receive 30,000 euros. The second 20,000, third 15,000 euros. The women also get a hefty raise," said organiser Christophe Impens.

    bpost Bank Trofee 2012-2013:

    October 14: GP Mario De Clercq in Ronse-Kluisbergen
    November 1: Koppenbergcross in Oudenaarde
    November 17: GP Hasselt
    December 22: GP Rouwmoer Essen
    December 28: Azencross Loenhout
    January 1: GP Sven Nys in Baal
    ...

  • Compton focused on 'cross World Cup and world championship titles

    Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) winning in Trek's back yard
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 20:36 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    American 'crosser seeks dividends from extended European campaign

    While Katie Compton's domestic and international cyclo-cross palmares are better than any other American in history, both man or woman, this season she intends to cement her place in the sport's pantheon with two titles which have thus eluded her: the overall World Cup plus the world championship. Added to the mix is the special opportunity to earn the rainbow jersey on US soil as Louisville, Kentucky will host the world championships on February 2-3, the first time that they've been contested outside of Europe since their inception in 1950.

    Over the summer Compton parted ways with the Dutch Rabobank squad and signed as the marquee member of the new, US-based Trek Cyclocross Collective, providing the 33-year-old American with the means to focus solely on cyclo-cross for a season very special for any American.

    "I was just tired of doing mountain biking and 'cross, it was getting to be too much," Compton told Cyclingnews. "The mountain bike season is long, there's tons of travel and I didn't really have an off-season. I decided I needed to focus my energies on 'cross because I'm better at that. I'm ok on the mountain bike but I'm never going to be a top-level mountain biker.

    "It was a happy parting as Rabobank wasn't getting what they wanted, they wanted more of a mountain biker, and I wasn't getting the support I wanted on the 'cross bike. I signed with Trek in August and it's been really good. I can focus on 'cross, train at what I'm good at and work at that."

    As usual, Compton has come out swinging domestically at the beginning of her 'cross season, convincingly winning both days...

  • Powers: Season's goal is front row start at 'cross Worlds

    Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) takes day one in Gloucester
    Article published:
    October 20, 2012, 21:35 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    American champ hopes for a US round of 'cross World Cup

    Reigning U.S. cyclo-cross champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) has fired on all cylinders thus far this 'cross season, racking up seven victories including a clean sweep of all five UCI C1-ranked races held on U.S. soil. The current season is a special one for all U.S. 'cross racers as the world championships will be hosted in Louisville, Kentucky on February 2-3, 2013, the first time the event has been held outside of Europe since its inception in 1950, and Powers is quite satisfied with how he's performed to date.

    "The beginning of my season has been successful and I'm really happy with how things have gone," Powers told Cyclingnews. "I haven't had any issues, knock on wood, and I'm happy with how things are going currently.

    "It was my goal to do well in the category 1 races and to try to win as many of them as I can, and it still is. Those hold the points that I need. Due to the amount of the C1s at the beginning of the season for us it (UCI points and ranking) rests very heavily on those. You have to have a nice early season. The next big test now is the World Cup races."

    The first two rounds of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup take place in the Czech Republic, with Tabor hosting the opening event on October 21 followed one week later by the race in Plzen. The World Cup kicked off in the Czech Republic last year as well, with the order reversed - first Plzen, then Tabor.

    Last year Powers had his best-ever performance at a World Cup in the Plzen round, where he finished 10th, and the points-rich World Cup events once again beckon and provide ample motivation...

  • Gallery: Cyclo-cross riders preview muddy Plzen course

    Helen Wyman seems to enjoy the conditions
    Article published:
    October 27, 2012, 20:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mud and snow for Plzen cyclo-cross World Cup

    The second round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup takes place tomorrow in Plzen, Czech Republic and as snow falls on an already muddy course, the technical skills of the riders and their mechanics will be put to the test.

    The riders took to the course on Saturday to preview the route, which was made a bit more compact this year to help spectators view the race, but still includes the massive 23-step staircase as the main obstacle.

    In start contrast to last year's warm, sunny weather in which Sven Nys and Katie Compton prevailed, Sunday will favor the mudders.

    World Cup leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) has shown his skill in wet conditions, as has his teammate Klaas Vantornout, who won a messy race in Ardooie last week before heading to the Czech Republic for the opening World Cup in Tabor.

    World Champion Niels Albert will hope to distance his rivals early, rather than fall victim to the team tactics which hurt his chances in Tabor, while Belgian champion Nys will look for a mechanically flawless race, putting the broken chain of last week behind him.

    Compton will also hope to separate herself from her tenacious rivals, including Sanne Van Paassen, who out-sprinted the American champion last week to claim the World Cup lead.

    British champion Helen Wyman honed her mud skills in Providence, Rhode Island earlier this season, and gave the course a good testing today.

    Racing begins at 10AM local time with the junior men, followed by the U23 riders at 11:10, elite women at 1:30PM and elite men at 3:00PM.

  • Peeters rues disqualification from Plzen World Cup

    Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) went head-to-head with Nys for six laps, but ultimately finished the day in second place.
    Article published:
    October 28, 2012, 18:33 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Powers' luck runs out in Czech Republic

    Telenet-Fidea rider Rob Peeters was en route to one of the best World Cup performances of his career in Plzen, Czech Republic, when he crossed the line in third place behind race winner Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor). But the 27-year-old learned he'd been disqualified for a botched exchange in the pit.

    "There was an error of communication between me and my mechanics," Peeters said. "I was told that they had changed places, so I stopped where I thought they were. I did not see them there. After I had put foot on the ground, I again resumed riding on my dirty bike."

    But the pit referee ruled that Peeters had ridden through the pit lane without stopping, and was disqualified.

    "We don't want anyone wrongly disqualified, so we asked three times for confirmation from our Czech colleagues and they confirmed that Rob Peeters did not put his foot down. We have also warned the rider during the race that he was disqualified," the UCI official said.

    Peeters maintained he did nothing illegal. "I definitely did a stop-and-go. I was very good today. I was going to stand on the podium," the dejected rider said.

    While Peeters was able to show his strength in the race in Plzen, American Jeremy Powers never had that opportunity as he was taken down in the first bend only 10m after the start.

    Despite having a front-row position thanks to his seventh place last week in Tabor, Powers wound up tangled at the bottom of a mass pile-up after being pushed into the barriers by an overly aggressive maneuver from Italian Elia Silvestri.

    The Rapha-Focus rider was then hit with a mechanical that forced him to drop out of the race.

    "I got something in my cogs...which snapped my hanger off with two laps to go right at the start/finish," Powers said on his...

  • Wyman enjoying career-best 'cross season

    Helen Wyman seems to enjoy the conditions
    Article published:
    October 30, 2012, 5:08 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    British champion seeks first World Cup win

    Helen Wyman (Kona) has started the 2012-2013 cyclo-cross season with a string of exemplary results, winning nine races in the United States to begin her campaign and more recently notching podium finishes in each of the first two World Cups: 3rd in Tabor, Czech Republic on October 21 followed by a 2nd place result on October 28 in Plzen.

    Wyman, the reigning and seven-time British 'cross champion, was in her element on Sunday in Plzen as she excels on muddy circuits and recorded her best-ever World Cup result, finishing just 15 seconds off the pace of race winner and new World Cup leader Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective).

    "It's no secret I like these kinds of conditions, the muddier the better," said Wyman. "I had an OK start, nothing special, and as soon as I was away safely, I could just focus on my own race. There were some good lines out there and the course was changing a lot during the event so you had to keep thinking all the time."

    On the third of four laps, after overcoming a slow start, Compton made her way to the front and the two waged a fierce campaign over the remainder of the race.

    "She was the fastest on the course by a long way on that 3rd lap," said Wyman. "I could see her pulling back but all I could do was focus on myself and try to make as few errors as possible. It worked out in my favour in the end to a certain degree as I was able to pull away from the others further when Katie caught me.

    "I tried to keep the pressure on but it wasn't to be and I had to spend the last half a lap ensuring I secured 2nd."

    Wyman's back-to-back podium finishes in the opening World Cup rounds are her best results to date in the series for her career, but the 31-year-old Briton hopes to do better.

    "I...