A disappointed Sven Nys rolls in for second © Bart Hazen
by Kat Statman
As the Christmas cyclocross week craziness slowly winds down with the GvA Trofee Grote Prijs Sven Nys on New Year’s Day and the Fidea Cyclocross Tervurven on Sunday, we have some good New Year cheer and exciting rumors and rumblings to talk about. Sven Nys has been plagued by “mechanics” problems almost all season and it doesn’t even stop during the busiest time of year, Niels Albert is confident in his abilities before the Belgian National Championships next week, Albert will take the GP Sven Nys “easy” to focus on the National Championships in the coming weeks, with much ado Styby is back, Parbo’s bike has been returned to him, Sunweb-Revor has moved away from the distinctive yellow to a more toned down red and white, professional ’cross racing has a big jump in viewership, Jeremy Powers heads to the North Carolina Cyclocross Series and the Kingsport UCI weekend is moving forward with some good Elite men pre-registrations this week.
Sven Nys cannot escape little demon elves
For all intents and purposes everyone would say that Nys has been having a stellar season, re-taking over as the role as the dominant force in cyclocross during Stybar’s absence this mid-season. However, even though he has been the man to beat, there has consistently been minor mechanical issues that have plagued him when he could have put another notch in his palmares. This week was no different when a botched bike change during the last lap kept him from sprinting against Albert at the GvA Trophy Azencross race, and at the Superprestige in Diegem when a dropped chain left him relegated to second once again. Any American rider would be absolutely stoked to finish in second at one of these high profile events against the best in the world, but for Nys, who has been at the front of nearly every important race of the season, it is clearly a little bit frustrating. Yet, he continues to be professional about everything and has not made one bad comment about any of his mechanics, in fact he even worries that with all of the problems that have been happening they might leave. That is class. Check out how smoothly Nys goes from crash to remount and beginning his chase for Albert at Azencross at the 12 minute mark in this video.
Albert appears confident prior to the Belgian National Championships Next Week
With Christmas week slowly coming to an end, the next thing to look forward to is the National Championships week for almost everyone else in the world. The event that everyone will be look towards are the Belgian National Championships. Belgium obviously has the largest number of top elite cyclocrossers of any nation out there, meaning that the jersey is arguably the second-most prestigious after the World Championship jersey. Nys has taken the title countless times, but Albert, after several near misses, is confident that he can take the Belgian flag away from Nys following his recent wins in Diegem and Azencross. But was Albert really the stronger of the two or did he just profit from the misfortunes of Nys?
Albert won’t sit out the GP Sven Nys but will take it “easy”
Even though Albert intends to contest the GvA trophy event tomorrow in Baal he will not do so with 100 percent effort. Albert’s eyes are set on one prize prior the World Championships and the final two World Cups and that is the Belgian National Championship race. He has been unable to take home the Belgian flag jersey in the past and is looking to fix that next week. Albert has admitted that his fans might not be excited to see him not give everything on Saturday but they will be happier to see him in the Belgian National Champion jersey in the end.
Styby is Back!
The big question that has been on everyone’s lips this past week was whether or not Styby could pick up where he left off at the end of October. Clearly he has. Since his return to top competition in both Diegem and Loenhout Stybar was able to finish on the podium respectably behind Nys and Albert. Then at Sylvester race in Bredene he took a hard fought win against Nys in the final sprint for the line. Keep your eyes on this one boys and girls. With a long mid-season break and the opportunity to work hard over the next month, Stybar will be the one to watch at the World Championships and the final two rounds of the World Cup in France and the Netherlands.
Parbo’s Bikes have been Returned
Danish National Champ Joachim Parbo, a favorite here in America for his friendly and outgoing nature, has had his stolen bike returned to him after it was stolen at the World Cup round in Zolder. Parbo is well known for letting fans who ask take his bikes for a little spin. Until this past week it has not been a problem as the bikes have always been returned. But at Zolder they were not. Earlier this week the police were able to locate the bike and return it to Parbo. Will Parbo continue this outgoing and overly open nature with his fans or will he sequester himself a little bit more? More on this from Parbo himself shortly.
Sunweb-Revor Gives up the Distinctive Yellow
New Sunweb-Revor Kit © Luc Timmermans
For years it has been easy to spot Sven Vantourenhout and Klaas Vantornout in their distinctive yellow kits (see our interview with Vantornout in Issue 11). With often grainy live video streams that we deal with in the US we always knew where the Sunweb riders were, but now it looks like things will be a little bit more difficult as starting tomorrow in Baal they will be wearing a much more subdued red and white kit that is more similar to the other kits you see on teams like Telenet–Fidea, Revor–Baboco and BKCP–Powerplus.
Cyclocross breaks viewership records in Europe
This week during the Azencross in Loenhout event a new television viewership record has been set. The old record for television viewership of a cyclocross sporting event was 523,809 viewers. During Azencross viewership at its height reached 621,492. With a jump of nearly 100,000 viewers, cyclocross is truly catching on. I don’t know if these numbers also reflect the number of people that tune in but not through their television but through live streaming feeds. If it does not then we know the numbers are only higher and fans of ’cross just keep growing!
North Carolina Cyclocross Series will see Jeremy Powers come and play, while Tim Johnson hits California’s Surf
Next weekend, January eighth, Jeremy Powers will make an appearance at the North Carolina Cyclocross Series race in Salisbury, NC. The NCCX series is one of the few series in the US that stretches as long as the rest of the world in season length with races held all the way through the end of January. This makes it the perfect place for American racers not spending all of their time in Europe to head and get some race intensity in prior to the World Championships, or for other ’crossers to actually do a full ’cross season rather than the truncated season most Americans race. Powers’ teammate Tim Johnson is taking the same approach, albeit on the West Coast, and plans to make his annual return to the legendary Surf City cyclocross series and race at Harbor High during the same weekend in Santa Cruz.
Kingsport UCI Cup is looking good for January 15th!
This week we caught wind that there have been a few registrations for the Kingsport UCI race in January, but more importantly, one of those registrations is none other than American ’cross icon Adam Myerson! Myerson mentioned on Twitter that he has booked his tickets for Kingsport. Last week we were curious as to whether or not the US is ready for January racing one year before USA Cycling brings Nats into January. As we get closer to the January events and see riders like Jeremy Powers heading to NCCX races and Adam Myerson heading to the Kingsport UCI race, it is clear that January racing is exactly what we need for more American growth in cyclocross. Maybe if we continue racing in January, then the summer ’cross conditions we saw for most of this year will not characterize American ’cross, and our riders will be even better in that thick, slow and cold mud when racing across the pond.
Thanks for reading. Have a rumor or rumble we should know about? Drop us a line at procx [at] cxmagazine.com.