We’ve got a blow-by-blow report of the men’s race at the 2009 Cyclocross World Cup Race in Roubaix, France. If you enjoy seeing the action lap-by-lap, be sure to tune into our live world championship coverage on January 31st and Febuary 1st, sponsored by Cyclocross World.
By Jake Sisson
7:51 Good morning and welcome to the UCI World Cup taking place this morning (afternoon) in Roubaix, France.
7:51 Hope you’ll tune in to our live coverage of the World Championships in 2 weeks time
8:58 Then are lined up…and away we go
8:59 The heavens opened up a bit and there’s a ton of mud out there and things are looking to get exciting. Roubaix rules because they incorporate the velodrome into the course
8:59 earlier, Katie Compton won the women’s event ahead of Hanka Kupfernagel and Daphny Van den Brand
8:59 Everyone’s all lined up and awaiting the start.
9:01 and away we go! Niels Albert almost jumped the start but all went well, Lars Boom is off to a flying start followed by Zdenek Stybar as they head off the velodrome
9:01 Wellens took to the outside on the first turn and shot to the front!
9:01 Thijs Al is fourth followed by Sven Vantornout
9:02 Pauwels, then Vervecken, Albert and Simunek then Nys
9:02 Trebon is towards the back of the pack, we just saw him pass by
9:02 Mourey is right behind Nys with Vanthourenhout
9:03 Wellens, Stybar and Boom are out in front a bit
9:03 Wellens has got the pedal down and has pulled away from Stybar and Boom
9:03 No sign of Jonathan Page just yet
9:04 Over some barriers for Wellens with a good gap working up to Boom and Stybar, then comes Al, Vantornout, Pauwels and Vervecken
9:04 Boom takes a bike change
9:05 Laps are only taking 4 minutes! 3 seconds up for Wellens
9:05 behind boom and Stybar is a big group of about 8 or 10
9:05 Boom and Stybar have gotten back to Wellens
9:05 Fidea is leading the chase group, no ID as yet
9:06 Kevin Pauwels hit the dirt from second wheel in the chase group!
9:06 Nope, change that it was Petr Dlask!
9:06 haha a pun
9:06 Czech that, it was Dlask!
9:06 Al leads Vervecken in the chase group, He’s headed up to the leaders!
9:07 the chase group is Al, Vervecken, Vantornout, Vanthourenhout, Albert, Nys, Mourey
9:07 Wellens is openeing up again, with Al and Vervecken almost up to Boom and Stybar
9:08 Still no Page and we’ve seen about 20 deep
9:08 Bike changes for all these days
9:08 Al has brought back Stybar
9:09 Its now Boom and Wellens at the head with Stybar in between the duo of Vervecken and Thijs Al
9:09 Boom is now up to the head
9:09 the chasers are now three, with Vervecken catching Stybar
9:09 Francis Mourey is the next chaser
9:10 Wellens is back on the front with a nice pass through the sand. Al just put a foot down and dropped from the chase a little bit
9:10 behind Al and Mourey is Albert, Vantornout and Nys
9:11 Remember that just a month ago we were signing off on Albert’s season. He’s now looking more and more like a favorite for worlds again!
9:11 2 laps in the books, and only 10 minutes and 40 seconds down!
9:12 Things aren’t changing much, Nys and co will have to pick up the pace if they want to bring back Boom
9:13 Jeremy Powers sighting! He’s riding with Nys I believe, I’ll try to confirm
9:13 There’s a TON of running in this race and they’re on and off with extremem regularity
9:14 No Powers, in fact its just the Sunweb boys who look a bit like the CNCXW types
9:14 Albert is off in pursuit of the leaders
9:14 Wellens has put it down!
9:14 There’s a lead group of 6
9:15 Feed is focused on what looks like either Aernouts or de Knegt who had an issue
9:15 Aernouts, who took a little digger into a haybale, but he’s off
9:16 Albert, Vantornout and Nys will be the next to the front of the race, they’re right there
9:16 Wellens wants to be on the front of this race, and refuses to let go of it!
9:16 Boom hasnt been too fast through the sand and he just lost about 3 spots through the sand
9:17 So we’ve got Wellens, Mourey, Vervecken, Boom, and Al in the front
9:17 Behind is a group led by Stybar, followed by Albert, Vantornout and Nys
9:17 Nys seems to be biding his time, or is deep in the pain cave
9:18 Next through seems to be the Czech duo of Simunek and Dlask
9:18 Thijs Al has gone to the front at the urging of his leader, Boom
9:19 Of alll these boys, Mourey would have to be the one who wants it most, being the home town favorite
9:19 Nys has been last wheel in his group for quite some time now, wonder what that’s all about
9:19 Stybar is falling steadily backwards, seems his quick start is catching up to him
9:20 Albert and Vantornout are up to the leaders now, Stybar is trying to get back and Nys is right behind him
9:20 Theres a stair set here which seems to be sucking a lot of energy out of these guys, with them reduced to almost walking
9:21 Nys looks uncharacteristically slow today, curious
9:21 Mourey is now on the front forcing the pace, much to the delight of the home crowd
9:21 Wellens skips his bike change this lap!
9:22 Mourey and Al have a good gap working right now
9:22 Vervecken is in charge of the chasing at the moment
9:22 Nys and Stybar aren’t exactly out of contention just yet
9:23 Nys is now past Stybar and can move up a bit
9:23 You wonder if Nys is in take it easy mode for worlds, since he’s never had the best of luck there
9:23 Mourey is extremely smooth through the sand pit and has put a gap on Al!
9:24 Then comes Vervecekn and Boom. Wellens may be paying for his efforts too
9:24 Wellens is next, then Albert, then Vantornout and Nys
9:24 Nys is past Vantornout
9:24 Six to go as they cross the line!
9:25 Al is back to Mourey and Boom comes back with Vervecken
9:25 Nys is 11 seconds adrift
9:25 Mourey is on the go again, and brings out Boom
9:25 Vervecken has dropped a bit
9:26 Albert is back on the lead group with Nys a couple seconds behind
9:26 Boom and Mourey are on the go, Boom should be in the position to pick his attack!
9:27 Al is probably blocking a bit for his national team captain, sitting on the front of the chase group. Verveceken goes around and starts his chase
9:27 Nys is still not up to the chase group!
9:27 There’s a hill so steep and sloppy that everyone is running down it!
9:28 Nys is up to Albert, and it looks like Vervecken is back to Boom and Mourey… well almost
9:28 theres Mourey, Boom and Vervecken, then Al, Wellens, Albert and Nys
9:28 Vervecken skips his pit!
9:29 Nys is past Al, he’s paying for it!
9:29 Just showed a big crash from Radomir Simunek, who crashed trying to ride down that slope
9:30 Wellens is chasing in the second group, which now contains Mourey who fell off the front really quick
9:30 Boom is now off on his own with only Vervecken right in contact
9:30 Boom looks like he could be riding away with this one!
9:31 There’s going to have to be some magic soon from Nys and Albert if they want the win
9:32 Boom is hittin git, he’s got 5 seconds to Vervecken and 10 seconds to the chase group behind
9:32 Boom has a huge lead, but the who’s who of cyclocross are chasing behind.
9:33 Mourey took a little hit on a slick hill and is now even farther back
9:34 Verveceken is almost back to Boom!
9:34 He sure is fighting the good fight! Wellens is next then Albert, Nys. Mourey a little bit behind them after his crash and Stybar is back in the mix!
9:35 Vervecken is past Boom and looks like Boom is having issues with his bike!
9:35 Looks like maybe a flat because he was slipping around a ton!
9:35 Now Vervecken has a good gap and the chase group has Boom back in its arms!
9:36 Wellens, Albert and Nys are now chasing Vervecken with Boom taking a look at his shoe and losing lots of time
9:36 Looks like some mud and crap got stuck in his shoes and he couldnt clip in!
9:36 He went from almost sure win to about 10th place!
9:37 So its Vervecken, then Wellens, Albert, Nys
9:37 Boom is still having issues!
9:37 Stybar is behind Albert
9:38 Wellens is now almost back to Vervecken with Nys leading the chasing group of four
9:38 Chasers are Nys, Albert, Stybar and Mourey
9:39 Not true in fact, Wellens is back in the group
9:39 Boom is now 30 seconds back after his shoe problems
9:39 There 5 seconds back to Nys, Albert, Stybar and Wellens
9:40 This is turning into a sweet fantasy day for me, thank you very much
9:40 Nys now has the win in his sights and he’s pouring it on!
9:41 This kind of answers who is going to be the hot favorites heading into the World Championships. Boom’s finish will not be indicative of his form, as he looked a sure winner today
9:41 Lars’ rough day continues with a trip heading up those tortorous steps
9:42 Nys is now towing arch rival Albert up to the front of the race, with each taking a bike change
9:42 Vervecken is now a handful of meters ahead of Nys and Albert
9:43 Stybar is on the wheel of Albert and they are leaving Wellens behind
9:43 Wellens is back but he’s yo-yoing
9:43 Al and Boom are still fighting their way back, and I wouldnt exactly count him out just yet
9:44 Stybar is now 3rd! where did he come from, he was losing real estate fast only a couple laps ago!
9:44 Al and Boom are now through the sand, but probably still 30 seconds shy of the front
9:45 Interestingly, despite the four Belgians at the head of the race, there are 4 trade teams representedat the front
9:46 7 laps in the books, and 3 to go, with Vervecken still off the front, with a group of 4 chasing behind, led by World Cup leader Sven Nys leading the way followed by Zdenek Stybar. Niels Albert and Bart Wellens
9:47 Vervecken will be a tough man to catch, as he’s as good a runner as anyone, even at his age, and will be very hard to bring back
9:47 Stybar is now chasing in the group behind and he gets himself a gap!
9:47 the gap is already 4 seconds from Stybar to Nys
9:48 Stybar looks like he’s bringing back Vervecken
9:48 Nys and Albert may be riding their own little race against each other, and not for the lead, but we’ll see.
9:48 Stybar has caught up to Vervecken!
9:49 Stybar is now at the head of the race, having passed Vervecken in the pits!
9:49 Nys leads Albert further back
9:49 Stybar and Vervecken rode together for a while at Fidea, with Vervecken having left Fidea at the beginning of this year. There may be some teamwork going on there against the likes of Nys and Albert
9:50 Stybar seems to be marching away a bit, and it could be Nys who is next to get on terms with Vervecken
9:51 Stybar is riding himself into a World Cup win as we speak!
9:51 Nys is slowly opening up a gap to Albert and Wellens
9:52 Stybar is back onto the velodrome and will get 2 to go, Vervecken is next then comes Nys
9:52 2 seconds to Vervecken, 9 to Nys, 11 to Albert, 12 to Wellens
9:53 Mourey is still fighting the good fight in sixth
9:54 Vervecken is a bit closer to Stybar now, they’re almost back together!
9:54 Nys is pretty close too! there’s still a long way to go!
9:55 Stybar has been riding a hill everyone has been running and gets a bit of a gap every time he does it!
9:55 Albert and Wellens look to be out of the picture
9:56 Nys is getting closer and closer every section, this could get very interesting!
9:56 Wellens looks to have split from Albert!
9:56 Nys is back at the front!
9:57 …almost, its about 20 meters
9:57 Yup, Wellens has shed Albert!
9:57 the leaders are now 3
9:57 Vervecken has attacked!
9:58 Vervecken saw his long time rival coming and wanted none of it! the little break he got when Stybar came back may have been enough!
9:58 Little cardiac moment for Vervecken as he has to put a foot down to steady himself through some mud
9:59 Vervecken has dropped down onto the Velodrome to get the bell lap and Stybar is still with hi, but there’s a bit of a gap to Nys
9:59 Not sure which of these fellas has the better sprint but there should be some fireworks coming on this last lap
9:59 There goes Vervecken, trying to get rid of Stybar
10:00 However, seeing as how these two were teammates for a while, and Vervecken is only just recently a new member of Revor, there could be some work to get rid of Nys before they start thinking of the win
10:01 Sven Nys is still there, and just wont go away, but he’s not entirely there, and its hard to tell if he’s going to stay there
10:02 Nys is pretty far back and looks like he wont be sprinting for victory, but Vervecken is still rolling on ahead
10:02 Vervecken has a pretty sizeable gap! This one could be his!
10:02 One last bike change for these boys and its only eye on the prize time left
10:03 If Vervecken can stay clean for the rest of the race this one is his
10:03 Stybar is suffereing really hard trying to get back to Vervecken
10:03 Nys looks like he’s out of contention and will take third, with Wellens fourth behind him
10:04 All eyes are on Zdenek Stybar and if he can take down Vervecken
10:05 What looks like the champs from Austria (Presslaur) and Luxembourg have just been lapped
10:05 Stybar’s fight almost looks like its over, as he’s stuck behind some lapped traffic and losing some ground
10:05 He’s still hammering
10:05 Thery’re on the velodrome and Stybar is close, but Vervecken opens it up, and is still coming and its close, but Vervecken takes it!
10:06 What a ride by Vervecken and equally so by Stybar!
10:06 Nys comes home for third, a great ride but not quite enough for teh win
10:06 Vervecken and Stybar look exhausted as they ride along arms across each other
10:06 Wellens slots home for fourth
10:06 fifth to Niels Albert
10:07 Big win for Vervecken as he takes home his first win for his new team and heads off to the rest of teh season with great confidence
10:07 Boom looks to have taken home sixth, with Mourey seventh
10:07 Thijs Al comes home eighth
10:07 Pauwels ninth