This weekend saw the majority of the European countries host their cyclo-cross national championships. For a full listing of all the races with links to results, click here.
Nys wins a thriller for fifth Belgian title
By Brecht Decaluwé in Hofstade
Billed as an unpredictable race where the form guide can be thrown out the window, this year's Belgian championship produced another thrilling spectacle, but in the end Sven Nys was simply too strong and captured his fifth national title. Unleashing an explosive attack in the final kilometre, Nys blasted away from defending champion Bart Wellens, youngster Niels Albert and a surprising Erwin Vervecken, who just missed out on the podium today.
"It was a thrilling race," Nys admitted, needing some time to catch his breath after digging deep to distance Wellens. "My start was disastrous as Klaas Vantornout left before I heard the start gun. I thought they would call back those who started but then it turned out that I was the fool who was still standing there," he said, lamenting the decision of the UCI officials.
Ten days ago Nys won the World Cup race on the same course, but felt today was a different race altogether. "The sand section was frozen last week and that was to my advantage," he explained. "This time we had to run more as it was not possible to ride there; that was a disadvantage for me."
Nevertheless the UCI-leader managed to drop everybody on the last lap, as if playing a game of cat and mouse with the opposition. "I played poker and rode away where I wanted," he agreed. "In the last lap I felt that I still had an attack in my legs. Vervecken was leading the group to bring down the tempo. There was a battle for good position in the first sand section, but then I knew I had to jump away in the next section, that was the tactic."
See the full report and results here.
Hammond takes High Road's first win
Roger Hammond took Team High Road's first ever victory when he won the British 'cross championship Sunday. He also debuted the team's new black kit when he beat mountain biker Liam Killeen. Hammond also beat Killeen in the championships on the same course in 2006.
Paul Oldham took the early lead, but Hammond moved up to the front by the middle of the second lap. Killeen stayed with him and by the fourth lap, the two were on their own. The mountain biker was counting on his expertise in the technical sections, and in fact took over the lead, threatening to drop Hammond. However, Hammond was never in serious danger of being dropped.
On the last lap, Hammond took over the lead again and was able to with the sprint for his record-breaking fourth title. Killen was second, and Oldham finished third, less than 20 seconds down.
Lucky seven for Kupfernagel
Hanka Kupfernagel continued to build up her collection of titles on Sunday, winning the title of German women's 'cross champion for the seventh time in her career. The World Time Trial champion has now won the German title every year since 2001, with the exception of 2003.
Hours of rain left the course in Herford deep in mud. "The conditions today were very questionable," the 33-year old told the dpa. "I was a little nervous in the first few laps and had to work my way up from fifth place. But then it went optimally. That was a good technical training today. I have seldom ridden such a muddy course."
Shortly after the start of the race, Kupfernagel, Birgit Hollman, Stephanie Pohl and Susanne Juranek were able to break away from the field. The defending champion was able to come from fifth place to the lead and escape from the others, a lead she held until the end. Second place went to the 20 year-old Pohl, 1'50 down, with Hollmann third, at 2'10.