Quite a bit has been going on in the world of professional cyclocross. Marianne Vos continued to leave the burning rubble of the European women’s peloton in her wake, while Jonathan Page tentatively announced that Americans may be seeing more of him this season. Also, Sven Nys has outlined his goals for the summer – and cyclocross fans should be excited.
Marianne Vos Wins Big in Czech Republic
Last week, we let you know that Cyclocross World Champion, Dutch Road Race Champion and current Women’s World Cup road overall leader Marianne Vos had taken stage one of the Gracia Tour in the Czech Republic in a sprint over British Road Race Champion and Olympic gold medalist Nicole Cooke to take the first leader’s jersey in the tour’s 2010 edition. Not content to just win by that narrow margin, Vos set about laying waste to the rest of the riders in the five-day stage race, thoroughly dismantling all of her competition to her second overall victory in the race in the last three years.
Normal racing tactics would dictate that you should not let the overall leader of a stage race escape up the road under any circumstances, less so when the only companion she has is on her own team, and even less so when she is able to muscle out an advantage of over twelve minutes. This, however, is exactly what happened in the race’s 125.8 kilometer second stage in Lichnov. Vos and teammate Annemie Van Vleuten managed to outpace the peloton by 12:18 to consolidate Vos’ overall lead in dramatic fashion. Van Vleuten was given the stage victory by her teammate, as Vos extended her overall lead to 12:27 over Nicole Cooke in third place (Van Vleuten stood second on GC, 9 seconds behind).
The only rider who could unseat Vos in the 18 kilometer individual time trial in Kuznia Raciborska that was stage three was Van Vleuten, and despite not taking the win, Vos finished the day in third place, even on time with Van Vleuten, and virtually assured herself of an overall victory. Vos was a mere 15 seconds behind Great Britain’s Emma Trott who took the time trial win. In a fashion more befitting of Vos’ riding style, the Dutch rider was quickest to the line in a mass pack sprint in stage four, a 62.1 kilometer ride around Leginow. Vos again was a spot faster than Cooke, whose frustrating run continued. Also making a strong appearance in the race’s fourth stage was junior sensation Coryn Rivera, who grabbed her first top ten of the race with a tenth place sprint finish.
It was deja vu all over again for Vos and Van Vleuten on the final stage of the Gracia Tour, as the duo again were easily able to get to the line ahead of the chasing pack and take the top two spots on the podium for their Nederland Bloeit team. This time, the script was flipped and it was Vos, wearing the overall leader’s jersey, who hit the line first in a two up sprint with Van Vleuten. Cooke was again on the podium, this time in third, six seconds behind. The peloton finished the day 8:54 behind the Dutch duo. When the dust cleared, Vos had won the overall classification by 18 seconds over Van Vleuten in second and 13:41 over Cooke in third. Vos had also taken home the race’s sprint classification jersey and mountain classification to complete an overall jersey sweep. Rivera finished up her week in 19th place overall, 28:09 behind Vos, while Kaitlin Antonneau, another American junior sensation, finished up 24th, 29:02 down.
Jonathan Page Considers Extended Domestic Season
Former American cyclocross champion Jonathan Page graced the United States with his presence for an extended period last season, sticking in the western hemisphere long enough to compete in the first weekend of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross and the first two weekends of the North American Cyclocross Trophy, including Star Crossed, Rad Racing, the USGP Planet Bike Cup, Cross Vegas and the Gran Prix of Gloucester. According to his Facebook page, Page may be sticking around the United States for even longer this coming season. “Just got the world-wide ‘cross schedule from my agent here, and I am seriously considering spending my first season (until Nationals) in a LONG time back in the USA!” said Page. “There are many (if not more) UCI races, both C1 and C2 and often multiple choices on the same day! Big decision coming up … what to do? what to do???”
Telenet-Fidea Extends With Van Kessel
Telenet – Fidea’s young talent, Corne Van Kessel, 18, has extended his contract with the Belgian team for another two years. His previous contract was set to expire in 2011, but Telenet – Fidea moved to secure his services until 2013. Van Kessel and Telenet – Fidea will now be able to mature together as the young Dutchman will progress to the Espoir level.
Sven Nys Alters Off-Season Plans
Last season, Belgian Cyclocross superstar Sven Nys based his summer racing plans around a strong mountain bike season before an equally strong cyclocross season. Nys’ motivation is set to change this season, as he will reserve more of his energy for the cyclocross season, and focus less on his fat tire trade. Nys will initially try to peak for the Belgian Belgacom Mountain Grand Prix. The Grand Prix, which will be in its first season for 2010, will be made up of seven UCI sanctioned races. The best five races will be counted towards an overall classification, the winner of which will pocket 10,000 euros. Nys has been tapped as one of the main faces of the new series, which will attempt to raise the profile of mountain biking in Belgium.
Nys will also use the seven-round series as a platform to collect valuable UCI points and evaluate his participation in Mountain Bike World Cups and the eventual Mountain Bike World Championships. Should Nys have a successful season at the Belgian level, you can expect to see the Belgian Cyclocross Champion at World Cups later this year.
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 #42. Installment #41 is here. Got something worth reporting? Let us know!