Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) has steadily narrowed the gap to Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet), the leader of the UCI cyclo-cross standings through the first four tabulations, and in the latest rankings released on Tuesday Pauwels has finally surpassed Nys and moved into the lead.
Only one week has passed since the previous rankings were released and for the elite men the most important race was the fourth round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, held in Igorre, Spain on Sunday. Pauwels soloed to victory ahead of Nys and compatriot Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and the points earned for the victory were enough for Pauwels to take over the UCI 'cross rankings lead with 2,290 points. Nys dropped one position to second, at 2,220 points while world champion Zdenek Stybar moved from fourth to third with 1,680 points.
Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), still sidelined with a wrist injury from being hit by a car, did not compete and dropped from third to fourth. French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) held steady in fifth overall with 1,372 points.
Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) remains as the top-ranked North American rider and maintained his 11th place position in the standings with 874 points.
With five riders in the top-seven of the elite men's standings, Belgium continues its complete domination of the nations rankings with 6,034 points. France remains in second overall with 2,953 points while the Czech Republic holds third place at 2,730 points.
US champion Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team) has led the elite women's rankings all season and continues her reign with 1,900 points. The Igorre, Spain World Cup round was for elite men only, so only a handful of C2-ranked 'cross races for women took place since the previous week's rankings were released. As a results, the changes in the women's rankings were slight.
With five races left to determine the United States International Cyclo-cross Calendar (USICX) overall standings, Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper) took over the lead in the elite men's rankings. The 36-year-old Belgian won Sunday's Cyclocross LA in Los Angeles, California and finished second the previous day to take over the top position from Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus), who did not compete this past weekend.
Berden now tops the standings with 709 points, followed by Powers with 687 and Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) in third with 675.
Laura Van Gilder (C3 p/b Mellow Mushroom) continues to lead the elite women's standings with 712 points, buoyed by her podium finishes in last weekend's NEPCX-NBX GP events in Warwick, Rhode Island on Saturday and Sunday. Meredith Miller (California Giant-Specialized) jumped from fifth to second overall after winning bothdays of Cyclocross LA and trails Van Gilder by 115 points. Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) did not compete this past weekend and dropped from second to third overall with 590 points.
The top of the Junior men's standings remained unchanged with Andrew Dillman (Bob's Red Mill) in the lead with 340 points. Clif Bar Development Cyclo-cross Team members Curtis White and Zane Godby hold second and third with 215 and 205 points respectively.
Rapha-Focus rider Jeremy Powers is heading into the final weekend of the Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross in Bend, Oregon with a slim six point lead over the hometown favorite Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt), but fans won't get to see the pair go head to head for the overall series win since Trebon is out with a leg injury.
Last year, Powers went into the finale in Portland with a 26 point deficit to teammate Tim Johnson, and after claiming the win on the first day and narrowing the margin by 16, he had to win the last race to take the series. In a thrilling final battle, Johnson and Powers traded attacks throughout the race, with Powers only gaining enough of an advantage in the final turn to seal the sprint and win the series.
Trebon has been Powers' main opponent all season. The winner of the first Exergy USGP race in Sun Prairie and a round in Fort Collins led the series until a disastrous second race in Louisville where he injured his leg in a pre-race crash and then suffered his way to 10th place, losing the jersey to Powers. The lingering damage means he won't be fighting Powers for the series title in his home town.
"It will be great if I win the USGP again, but not having Ryan there kind of stinks," Powers told Cyclingnews. "He is only six points behind, and it would have been like last year with Tim - there would have been pressure, the race would have been more fun for the fans."
With Canadian Geoff Kabush 71 points behind, Powers would have to finish fifth or worse both days and Kabush win both days in order to lose the series. It's an unlikely scenario...
At 36 years of age, Ben Berden isn't quite ready to hang up his cyclo-cross bike. A former contender against the likes of Sven Nys and Bart Wellens, he was so frequently the last man on the podium that he was dubbed Ben 'Derden' (derde is third in Dutch). Now, he has to watch from across the Atlantic Ocean as his compatriots rack up UCI points in World Cups in which he will probably never be chosen to compete.
Berden's love of racing brought him to the USA for the majority of the season, where he was able to claim four victories – one in Boulder, bothdays of racing at the Hendersonville Gran Prix, and last weekend's Cyclocross LA in Los Angeles. His results put him amongst the top five riders in the USA, but unfortunately for him, he comes from a country with a depth of cyclo-cross talent that is unparalleled across the globe.
"In Belgium we have 15 really professional cyclo-cross riders, it makes it difficult to get good results," Berden said. "If you have a bad day in Belgium you'll get lapped or something. If you have a bad day or a bad week in the US you'll still get seventh or eighth. It makes a difference."
When he returns to his home following today's Exergy USGP finale in Bend, Oregon, Berden knows he will have his work cut out for him to gain more UCI points. He's currently the 13th best Belgian on the UCI rankings, and he has only very dim prospects of being selected for the World Cups, which hold far more points than the C1 and C2 races he's done in the USA. Being selected for the world championships is only a...
American heads to Europe after US national championships
American Ryan Trebon has been out of the cyclo-cross action for four weeks after a pre-race crash in Louisville, but he still intends to compete in the US national and the world championships.
Trebon was warming up for the second day of the Exergy USGP Derby City Cup in Louisville when he crashed on his knee. In obvious pain, Trebon, wearing the series leader's jersey, finished out the race, but afterward when his knee was twice its normal size, it was clear that he had done some serious damage.
A torn quadriceps muscle and fascia left him with deep bruising down his leg, swelling and pain and even a month later he is still unable to run.
"I am feeling better now, I'm able to train, I just can't operate fully," Trebon said. "I have to sit out a couple of weeks and I'll be back and raring to go for nationals."
While he can't compete in 'cross races because of the running, he has been keeping up his fitness with long rides and some intensity. "I can ride as much as I want, as hard as I want, but I don't have the same mobility as before, so that's what's limiting my racing."
With four weeks to go before the national championships and seven weeks before the World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium, Trebon is still optimistic about the remainder of his season.
"I leave the day after nats and go to Europe and do the last two World Cups, the Worlds and hopefully a few races after that," he said.
"There are seven weeks before Koksijde so I'm not too worried. As long as I don't re-injure before that. It'd be nice to do some running training before that, but it is what it is."
Movistar sprinter says he “loves the atmosphere at races and everything about it”
While it’s not all that rare to find leading pros tuning up for a new season by racing in cyclo-cross events, it’s not all that common in Spain where riders can usually train in decent conditions right through the winter, especially close to the southern coast. However, Movistar sprinter Francisco Ventoso is one Spaniard who’s gone against that trend having had his first taste of cyclo-cross just two years.
Currently taking part in his team’s first pre-season training camp in the Mediterranean resort of Benidorm, Ventoso turned up at the cross event in Villanueva de Castellón last Sunday and took third place. “That’s really no more than an anecdote because I’m not really looking for results from cyclo-cross,” said Ventoso. “This month I’ve been training in Benidorm and I wanted to find an event at the weekend where I could get a really good competitive work-out.”
Far from that race being a one-off, Ventoso is aiming to combine further road training with more cyclo-cross events over the coming weeks, feeling that they boost his motivation going into a new season. “I tried it for the first time two years when I came back from the Tour of Hainan at the end of the year and then had a month without any racing. I decided to do some cyclo-cross events to get some motivation and the truth is that I loved from the very first moment. I love the atmosphere at the races and everything that surrounds it.”
Ventoso admits that he’s got an awful lot to learn about racing off-road, confessing that initially he was “a disaster” and adding: “I’m not an expert because I’m lacking in any number of technical aspects, but you do find that every time you race you improve. But when I see the real...
Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com rider, Tim Johnson, has had a trying year following up his phenomenal 2010 season. He and his teammates split wins at almost every major domestic race in the US last season, but this year he has only won twice. Interestingly, both of those wins came on his new Cannondale Super X disc prototype.
The courses Johnson won on couldn't have been more different. His first win came at Jingle Cross on day 3, which was a UCI Category 1 event, making Johnson the first rider win on disc brakes at such a high UCI ranked level. "Every lap or race I can do on these things is going to teach me more about how they work, how they can be used, and also what Cannondale and SRAM can do to make their products better," said Johnson. "That's not bull, it's really not - they're awesome."
The race was muddy, and featured the feared ascents and descents of Mount Krumpet; in short, the conditions were perfectly tailored to reward a rider with high performance brakes and mud clearances, the two main attributes touted by disc brakes.
Johnson's second win, however, is likely more interesting for those following the development and acceptance of discs for ‘cross, it came at Cyclocross LA, a UCI Category 2 event in Los Angeles, CA. "We're taking the opportunity to pin a number onto something that's still in testing," said Johnson.
Tim Johnson's discs offer better braking performance and...
Asheville, Austin and Boulder compete for hosting rights
Three cities have been selected as finalists to host the 2014 and 2015 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships according to USA Cycling on Wednesday. The three potential host cities are Asheville, North Carolina (Biltmore Estate), Austin, Texas (Zilker Park) and Boulder, Colorado (Valmont Bike Park).
With six bids under consideration, USA Cycling evaluated potential host cities using various criteria, including: accessibility, community support, course options, technical expertise and the organization's commitment to volunteer recruitment, marketing and lodging.
USA Cycling will conduct site visits before making the final determination. The strength of each bid will be re-examined after reviewing the proposed course, venue location and available facilities. Additionally, USA Cycling will meet with the local convention and visitors bureau and sports commission staff.
"We are extremely excited about the quality and depth of the bids we received for this event," National Events Director Kelli Lusk said. "All of the cities offered spectacular presentations. We're confident that any of these three cities would make a great host for this event in 2014 and 2015."
The next USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championship on the slate is set for Madison, Wisconsin on January 4-8, 2012.