By Tim Maloney-European Editor in Treviso
As the late afternoon winter sun bathed Le Bandie sports center near Treviso, Italy, on a crisp Saturday afternoon, it shown brightest on diminutive 26-year-old Frenchman Francis Mourey (Francaise Des Jeux), who surprisingly out-sprinted World Cup leader Sven Nys (Rabobank) and World Champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) with a superb move at the end of a hotly contested fourth race in the 2006-07 UCI World Cup Cyclo-cross series. On the steep final ramp to the finish, petit powerhouse Mourey made the perfect move up the right side of the uphill gravel track in the final 20 meters to turn the tables on Nys, who had beaten the French rider in Round Two of the Cyclo-cross World Cup two weeks ago in Kalmthout, Belgium.
"It was a very hard race today, very fast", explained Mourey after the finish in Treviso. "I had a good position in the sprint, and I was able to come around Nys to win. I'm very happy with my result." Despite his second cyclo-cross defeat in two days, Sven Nys already has won two of four World Cup 'Crosses and maintains the lead in the 2006-07 UCI World Cup Cyclo-cross series. World Champ big guy Erwin Vervecken made the split and made the podium, but didn't have the legs to crack other front runners Mourey and Nys.
It seems that Dutch World Cyclo-cross (and Road Race) champion Mariannne Vos may be unbeatable. The 19-year-old Dutch phenom easily marked the other riders who made up the lead group in the Women's World Cup cross, with British rider Helen Wyman smoothly and solidly leading through most of the difficult sections. But in the end, it was the inexorable sprint of Vos that easily brought the Dutch woman the win ahead of Women's World Cup leader Hanka Kupfernagel and another German rider, Birgit Hollman.
See the full report, results and photos here.