Wondering what your favorite mudders have been up to? Doing your homework so you can win Cyclocross Magazine’s fantasy cyclocross league next season? We’ve got you covered with our new, weekly report on your favorite top ‘crossers. Each week Jake Sisson will bring you the latest news, gossip, and maybe even a tweet or two on the pro scene. This is installment #3. Installment #1 is here, and our special April 1st edition #2 is here. Got something worth reporting? Let us know.
Cyclocross Stars Shine in Fontana for Inaugural US pro XCT.
National Cyclocross Silver medalist Georgia Gould took home a dominating win in the first race cross country of the newly redesigned national Mountain Bike series, crossing the line 1:36 second ahead of her nearest challenger, and LUNA teammate, Catherine Pendrel. Gould is coming off of one of her best cyclocross seasons over, with a number of top finishes in the United States, and a great late season spent racing in Europe, culminating in a 13th place finish. Also taking part in the women’s cross country event was ‘cross regular Kelli Emmet, who finished 6th, and Sue Butler, who finished her day in 18th place.
The cyclocross set had a good day on the men’s side of the action as well, with Canadian Geoff Kabush notching the win, with 43 seconds to spare. Kabush, the Canadian National Champion, who rides for Maxxis – Rocky Mountains, led home the cyclocross men, which included Adam Craig (5th), Jeremiah Bishop (9th), Todd Wells (10th), Troy Wells (11th) and Barry Wicks (16th). Todd Wells’ day in Fontana was over before it started, as a mechanical in the first 50 meters of the race saw him lost a full seven minutes to the leaders in the first lap. Well fought back to finish only 5:35 behind the leaders, with Troy Wells finishing his first mountain bike race just behind his brother.
Kelli Emmet and Sue Butler went 1-2 in the weekend’s women’s Super D event, with Carl Decker over Adam Craig taking top honors in the Men’s Event. In the Super D, riders rode up a short climb to the top of the Downhill course, where they rode down to the bottom and sprinted back up to the start line. Decker’s winning time was a scant 10:05, winning in a sprint finish over Craig. Emmet put 29 seconds into Butler, with a winning time of 12:14.
Nys Not the Only One Racing in Averbode.
Sven Nys will not be the only cyclocross superstar toeing the line at the Benelux Mountain Bike Championships on May 10th of this year. Sunweb – Projob’s Sven Vanthourenhout, along with Fidea’s Zdenek Stybar, Kevin Pauwels and Tom Meeusen, Rabobank’s Gerben de Knegt and AA Drink’s Mountain Bike ace Thijs Al will join a host of prominent riders (including Olympic Champion Julien Albason, Bart Brentjens – fresh off his victory at the Cape Epic – and Roel Paulissen) who will take aim at the win in Averbode, Belgium. Much like Nys, Vanthourenhout is trying to focus more on his mountain biking in the “off-season,” and is targeting good performances in the Benelux Championships as well as the European Championships, rather than racing the majority of his off-season on the road. The Benelux Championships promises to be the best Cyclocross race this side of a Mountain Bike! Tune in May 10, when the stars square off for the first time since ‘cross season.
Gould Takes Silver at Pan American Mountain Bike Championships.
Before turning her sights to the US Pro Cross Country circuit, Georgia Gould was hard at work in Santiago, Chile, taking home second place in this year’s Pan American MTB Championships. While Gould would later get revenge for her runner-up finish inFontana, it was Catherine Pendrel who took home the gold. Gould lost 4:36 over the course of the race, but sounded confident that her form is where she wants it to be. According to her blog, this was “not my best race ever, but not my worst either. And I didn’t break any bones or need any stitches- always a good thing. I know my fitness is good right now, so I’m not too worried.” Her competition is who should be worried.
What Economic Downturn? Sunweb in the Game Until 2011.
Sunweb Holidays, one of the co-title sponsors of the Sunweb – Projob cycling team, has affirmed its commitment to elite cyclocross by extending their existing sponsorship contract with the team until 2011. With that, riders such as Klaas Vantornout, Sven Vanthourenhout and young gun Kenneth Van Compernole will not have to be worried about being paid, at least until 2011. Projob has already extended their contract with the team, so the team should not have much to worry about for the next coming years, except for their performance. Sunweb – Projob had a number of good finishes last year, with Vantornout fighting for the Superprestige title until the very last race, eventually losing out to only Sven Nys. Sunweb – Projob looks to remain a major player in international cyclocross for years to come.
Vanthourenhout, Vanderbeken win Nissan Mountain Bike Beach Challenge
Vanthourenhout has already opened up his Mountain Bike account this season, winning the Nissan Mountain Bike Beach Challenge in Knokke-Heist, Belgium. Vanthourenhout won the 48 kilometer race, held over large stretches of beaches in the coastal Belgian town, with a timely sprint finish. His time over the 48 kilometers was 1:28.52. Last year, the win went to another cyclocross superstar, Niels Albert.
Belgian elite women’s cyclocross champion Joyce Vanderbeken also took to the beaches in Knokke-Heist, taking home the win by almost three minutes over her nearest competitor, covering the 24 kilometer course in 49:27. Vanderbeken’s win comes after finishing second in the 2008 edition.
Cyclocross at the Redlands Cycling Classic
Former national cyclocross champion Tim Johnson took up his position as OUCH team captain this week at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California. Johnson rode a solid race in support of his team leaders, Rory Sutherland and Floyd Landis. While Landis was forced to retire from the event, Johnson guided Sutherland to sixth place overall, only 24 seconds behind winner Jeff Louder. Johnson rode particularly well for himself, finishing 13th on the race’s final stage and 19th in the overall classification. Amy Dombroski, the national women’s under 23 champion, was also at Redlands, riding for her Webcor Builders road team. Dombroski didn’t make it to the final stage, retiring in the race’s third day, but she’s clearly working towards form later in the season.
Mirjam Melchers in a Fitness Battle
Having already missed this year’s first World Cup race, Dutchwoman Mirjam Melchers will not be taking the start of the Women’s Tour of Flanders this weekend. Melchers has won the race twice, in 2005 and 2006, but will miss this year’s edition as she is still recovering from an illness and does not have the fitness required to be competitive. Melchers, the Dutch vice-champion on the road and runner up at this year’s Dutch Cyclocross championships, will return to racing on Easter Monday at the Tour of Drenthe.
Lars Boom Book Nominated For Awards.
The Book This is our Time, a Dutch language book about the next generation of Dutch cycling talent, has been nominated for the prestigeous Nico Scheepmaker Prize for best sports book of the year. The book, written by Thijs Zonneveld, follows the seasons of five of Dutch cycling’s cyclists on the rise: Cyclocross star Lars Boom, Robert Gessink, Thomas Dekker, Sebastian Langeveld, and Bauke Mollema. There are two awards given out for the Nico Scheepmaker Prize, with one award decided on by the public, and one award decided on by a panel of Dutch sports journalists. This is our Time has been nominated for both awards.