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News Shorts: Americans grab four top-10 finishes at Namur World Cup

Americans grab four top-10 finishes at Namur World Cup

US riders earned four top-ten finishes Sunday during the fourth round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur, Belgium.

Spencer Petrov of Ohio put in a huge effort at the front of the Junior men's race, finishing in fourth just 38 seconds off the time of winner Jappe Jaspers of Belgium. Petrov was followed across the line by US rider Gage Hecht of Colorado, who grabbed sixth place just 1:37 down on the winner. Petrov now sits in ninth in the world cup overall standings, while Hecht is 15th.

The US elite women also scored two top-10 finishes, with US champion Katie Compton finishing fourth, 39 seconds behind winner Nikki Harris of Great Britain. Kaitlin Antonneau finished ninth, 1:43 behind Harris. Compton is now ranked fourth in the world cup standings, while Antonneau is eighth.

In other races, Logan Owen of Washington was was the top American in the U23 category, finishing 17th. In the elite men’s race, Stephen Hyde was the top US finisher in 24th.

The UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup continues with the fifth round on December 26 in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.

US champion Jeremy Powers tackles the run-up in the Namur World Cup on Sunday (Tim de Waele/TDWSport).

Lotto Soudal's Tiesj Benoot voted Belgian talent of the year

Tiesj Benoot has been award the Belgian talent of the year award, claiming the prize ahead of footballer Youri Tielemans (RSC Anderlecht) and taekwondoka Ketbi Si Mohamed. The 21-year-old impressed in the spring with third place at Handzame Classic, sixth place at Dwars door Vlaanderen and fifth at the Tour of Flanders in his first year as a neo-pro.

"For sure I'm very happy with this prize, but also a bit surprised. When you look at the performances of the other nominees, then I’'m honoured that I won with such a difference in votes," said Benoot. "Probably because cycling is a real Belgian sport that causes a certain emotion with lots of people and the fact that they can appreciate the development of a talent. It's a recognition by Belgian professional sports journalists, people who follow sports day in and day out. I was happy to be part of the fifteen nominees. That I was part of the three super nominees was a surprise itself and winning is obviously fantastic."

Benot also placed second overall at the Baloise Belgium Tour, enjoyed a stint in the white jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné, finished eight at Eneco Tour and fifth at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal and was awarded for his performances with selection for the Belgian Worlds team.

"I also want to thank the entire staff of Lotto Soudal and especially manager Marc Sergeant who gives young riders the opportunity and who guides us as good as possible to make sure we can develop into worthy professionals. Off course I also want to thank my co-riders of which several belong to the world top. Training and working together on a daily basis gives a young rider the opportunity to learn from the best and set small steps forward," he added.

Australian Madison titles for Callum Scotson and Dan Fitter, Danielle McKinnirey and Georgia Baker

Callum Scotson and Dan Fitter backed up their Bendigo Madison victory earlier in 2015 to claim their first Australian Madison title in Melbourne with a late move securing the win ahead of former champion Leigh Howard and Cam Meyer.

"This is probably one of the best wins I have had so far, especially to be able to win it with Callum," Fitter said. "We really wanted to take it to the field this year after we were so close last year and after the Bendigo Madison we knew we had the power to do it and really wanted to show that."

Mathew Ross and Kelland O'Brien were the first pair to attack during the 200-lap event before Meyer and Howard, Glenn O'Shea and Alex Edmondson, Scott and Jackson Law and Fitter and Scotson went on the front foot launching moves on their own. Meyer and Howard finished with 12 points with Ross and O'Brien on 11 points. stole a lap to move into pole position only for Fitter and Scotson to make a late winning move, finishing on 17 points and claiming the gold medal. 

In the women's event Annette Edmondson claimed a third gold medal in as many years as she teamed up with Danish national Julie Leth following the withdrawal of Jess Mundy with illness. However it was Danielle McKinnirey and Georgia Baker claiming victory as the best placed Australian team.

"It is a bit overwhelming at the moment", McKinnirey said. "I'm a little disappointed with how I rode and I thought I may have let my teammate Georgia down but it all worked out okay in the end."

 "There was a sprint every 15 laps so we just tried to take points there but when it got down to the last 15 we knew we had to try and take a lap to win," Baker added. "We tried for a lap but Nettie was always on to it but we gave it everything. It is the first time Dani and I have partnered up together so it was pretty awesome to get the win."

A surprised Edmondson said she didn't expect to feature in the race having seen her teammate struck down by illness but was glad to have added another medal to her Track CV.

"It is pretty cool," said Edmondson. "I think once I saw how ill Jess was I didn't think I would be standing on the podium. It was a shame not to ride with Jess Mundy as I really wanted to make it three in a row with her."

IAM Cycling's Michel Thétaz encourages UCI and ASO to 'gather around the peace pipe'

IAM Cycling team owner Michel Thétaz has called on the UCI and ASO to bury the hatched following Friday's announcement by the later that they plan to pull its races from the 2017 WorldTour.

"IAM Cycling does not want to engage in the dispute between the largest organizer of professional races, the international cycling federation, and the various stakeholders with respect to the reforms announced for 2017. For my part, I know very well that in the world of business, and in commerce in general, reforms are painful. It is important always to be mindful. Bringing out the hatchet does not solve anything. I therefore encourage our international cycling federation and our French friends to gather around the peace pipe."

The Swiss businessman added that all stakeholders of professional cycling need to be present at negotiations and the issue is bigger than either the UCI or ASO.

"Primarily it seems to me to be essential to invite everyone who will be affected by the reforms (teams, riders, sponsors, etc.), to the negotiating table, and not only the two adversaries," he added. "To reach our goals and for the good of cycling in general, I believe it is essential to compose and reach an agreement that will satisfy everyone involved. I regret the slow pace the negotiations have taken. It is true that we would have been able to implement these reforms for the 2016 season. Knowing personally all the main players in these negotiations, I am, as usual, very optimistic and confident that we can find a workable solution for the 2017 season that will only improve and stimulate professional cycling."

Michel Thétaz presents the IAM Cycling jersey for 2016 (IAM / Merot)

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