Happy St. Patrick’s Day one and all! It was a dark week for professional cyclocross, with the announcement of a pair of EPO positive tests from the World Championships, and the subsequent reports of a suicide attempt in its aftermath. Here at PCR&R, we’ll try to keep those parties out of the news as much as possible, and instead focus on some other breaking news. Mafia Racing’s Jake Wells moves to Hudz/Subaru – what could be one of the best teams of 2010 and Cyclocross stars get moving on the fat tires.
Jake Wells Moves to Hudz/Subaru
After a storied career with Colorado-based Mafia Racing, Jake Wells will move to the Hudz/Subaru squad for the 2010 season. Wells will continue to race for the Mafia Racing team through the mountain bike season, before turning to cyclocross with his new team. Rumor has it that the team will attract some high end new talent to complement their new signing, with names like Davide Frattini, Matt Pacocha and Jonathan Baker possibly signing on. With the potential of such a talented and diverse lineup in the Hudz/Subaru colors, the future looks promising for Wells and company. “It was a difficult decision for me to move away from Mafia Racing,” said Wells. “And I will continue to race mountain bikes for the Mafia this season. However, I am extremely excited about being able to race with such high caliber teammates.”
Marco Aurelio Fontana Wins Trofeo Giorgio Senini, Eva Lechner Second
Italian National Cyclocross and Mountain Bike Champion Marco Aurelio Fontana took home the win in the weekend’s Trofeo Giorgio Senini. Fontana finished his race in one hour, forty-two minutes and fifty-four seconds, with a winning margin of only four seconds. On the fourth lap of five, Fontana and and Italian Tony Longo pressed their advantage out of a leading group of three. Neither rider used their new found advantage to attack the other, however, and the two crossed the line for one to go as a duo. The final lap did nothing to separate Longo and Fontana, and the two left it to a sprint to decide victory. As Fontana opened up his sprint for victory, Longo’s chain found its way off, giving Fontana an easy path to victory. Despite running as high fifth throughout the day, Italian Espoir Cristian Cominelli faded in the race’s later stages to finish up the day in 11th, good enough for first place in the U23 race.
On the women’s side, Italian National Champion Eva Lechner was narrowly usurped by Switzerland’s Nathalie Schneitter, who took the win by a narrow four seconds. Lechner and Schneitter were in firm control of the race from the get go, attacking almost immediately, and quickly opening up the winning gap. Lechner looked to be in solid position for the win until a momentary lapse in control forced the Italian to put a foot down, a mistake that Schneitter quickly capitalized on. Lechner could never quite close down the resulting gap, and would have to settle for second place.
Cyclocross’ Mountain Bike Stars Open Up Their Seasons
It may be early in the season, but it isn’t early enough for cyclocross icons like Ryan Trebon, Todd Wells, Geoff Kabush, Barry Wicks and Kelli Emmett to get their Mountain Bike calendars underway. All five were present at California’s Bonelli Park for the first weekend of the H20 Overdrive Triple Crown All Mountain Series, which featured a cross country and short track event for riders to test how their off-season treated them.
Saturday’s cross country event was a success for the Giant Factory Team’s Kelli Emmett, who took her first win of the year, beating Norway’s Lyne Byberg by a scant two seconds. There was nothing to separate the two, the later of which won a silver medal at the World Championships in 2009, and it took a strong closing sprint from Emmett – who was one of cyclocross’ bright spots last season – to decide the final podium. When the dust settled, it was Emmett who would take home the spoils of victory.
On the men’s side, cyclocross could only muster a fourth place finish, out of Canadian National Cyclocross Champion Geoff Kabush, who finished just ahead of Todd Wells, fifty-six seconds and one minute eight seconds behind the win, respectively. Kabush had a better day, however, than the results would dictate, riding with the front group until a flat tire forced him to drop off the winning pace. Barry Wicks was the next best placed cyclocross rider, in ninth place, followed by Ryan Trebon in twelfth.
Kabush was the headliner on Saturday afternoon’s Super-D event, taking home a second place finish, only three seconds behind eventual winner, Max Plaxton. Todd Wells faded to seventh place overall, with Trebon in 14th and Barry Wicks picking up a DNF. Emmett proved that she has a good set of legs at this early stage of the season, riding home to a second place finish, five seconds off the winning pace.
Short Track was on tap for Sunday, and this time it was Todd Wells who had the best race, losing in a sprint for the win in the day’s fifteen minute plus one lap affair. Kabush fell off the blistering pace he had set on Saturday to finish the day in seventh, with Wicks again in ninth and Trebon in 23rd after he was brought down in a crash early in the race. Emmett faded one more position on Sunday, finishing up the day in third, but managed to defend her lead in the All-Mountain Series’ overall standings. On the men’s side, Kabush sits in third overall, followed by Wells in fourth, Wicks in ninth and Trebon in twelfth.
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 #38. Installment #37 is here. Got something worth reporting? Let us know!Get your free digital issue of Cyclocross Magazine here.