'Cross worlds round-up

Low countries fulfill expectations

By Brecht Decaluwé in Hooglede-Gits

Two races were scheduled on Saturday at the worlds in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium: the junior and U23 men were to battle for the world title. The low countries of the Netherlands and Belgium have been dominating the cyclo-cross worlds lately, and 15,000 spectators showed up to watch their young stars shine.

The junior race is always unpredictable at worlds because the young men don't compete with each other often during the season, but the Belgian World Cup winner fully met expectations when he became the new world champion. Six riders remained in contention going into the ultimate lap. Eventually, it came down to a sprint in which Joeri Adams clinched the biggest win of his young career.

Most spectators were surprised to see American rider Danny Summerhill finish second. By claiming a medal at the cyclo-cross worlds, Summerhill follows in the steps of Walker Ferguson (silver in 2000) and Matthew Kelly (gold in 1999). Ferguson and Kelly battled with Belgians Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) and Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb), guys who will both race Sunday in the elite men's category, unlike those two American heros themselves, who have disappeared from the scene. Summerhill has proven that he has talent, but the real work of his career is just beginning.

To read the full report and results for the junior race and see photos, click here.

The U23 race was dominated by Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank) who outclassed his competition. Leading up to the race, Boom and rival Niels Albert (Palmans) kept a media battle going in which they tried to make each other nervous. However, Albert finished nowhere near the wheels of Boom; in fact, he was over a minute down. The Dutch champion said he would compete in more cyclo-cross races from now on, while Albert promised to win the title next year. No American riders anywhere near the front on Saturday afternoon, with Jamey Mullet Driscoll first American in 36th position.

On Sunday, the elite riders will compete in Hooglede-Gits. German champion Hanka Kupfernagel is the favourite in the women's race, and Sven Nys (Rabobank) tops the favourites list in the men's race.

To read the full report and results for the U23 race and see photos, click here.

Mourey out for worlds after crash during training

One outsider for the victory in the men's race is out of contention. Francis Mourey (fdjeux.com) felt on his head during a training session on Friday afternoon as reported yesterday. The number three at the worlds in Zeddam (2006) was brought over to hospital where they determined Mourey suffered a minor concussion and a wound above his eye. He left the hospital, but will certainly not compete Sunday.

US riders more than ready for good performances

In the days leading up to worlds, Cyclingnews spoke with the two major American racers: Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Jonathan Page (Morgan Blue). Both are coming into the worlds with a top 10 result at the latest world cup race under their belt.

Page and Trebon were both eager to start tomorrow's race. Despite his troubled early season, Page felt extremely well. "Actually I'm coming into the worlds with the best preparation ever. I just hope that luck is on my side so I can compete to the best of my abilities," Page said. "On Friday I visited the course, and I like it a lot."

US-champion Trebon watched both races today and in between, he did a training session. "It was exiting to see Summerhill claim a second place," Trebon said. "I didn't do a reconnaissance on the course just yet, that's for tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to having a good result."

Vervecken not chanceless

Experienced Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) wore the jersey throughout the year with dignity but failed to impress with a string of victories as he was unable to overcome Nys' dominance throughout the season. The Fidea-rider always performs well at the championships. He has claimed an impressive row of podium finishes at the worlds, in part due to his strategic savvy and calm under pressure. Vervecken has a history of not caving into the stress and pressure that come with the Worlds.

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