Sometimes it’s really hard to remember that we live and die for cyclocross, especially during the spring classics season, but Greg Keller and Molly Cameron do a pretty good job of reminding us on twitter. As we all start buying up our tubulars and thinking about what bikes and wheelsets we are going to use next year, let’s take a step away and see what those ’crossers who actually get paid (well almost all of them) to ride expensive bikes in the mud are up to. Will there be any cross pollination at Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaandern? ’Cross racers all over the place and press at last weekend’s Fontana Pro XCT; Zdenek Stybar is back to training; Katie Compton makes her way down south to kick off her mountain bike campaign; for only three tweets Niels Albert is sure winning the followers to tweet ratio; Amy Dombroski makes a return to racing this weekend at Redlands; and almost a month late but Sven Nys takes the King of Winter award AGAIN.
The Cycling Press Looks to Flanders
It seems like most of the cycling press out there is looking to the Ronde van Vlaandern this weekend in the heartland of Belgium. As ’crossers we know that Belgium is, in the words of Greg Keller, “Za Motherland” but for those road racing fans that have a soft spot in their hearts for the spring classics it is the same. So which ’crossers are going to be lining up for the gruelling 200-plus kilometer epic over the infamous cobbled climbs like the Koppenberg? First and foremost on the list is none other than Lars Boom. Boom has not been listed as an outright favorite, but I’ll be rooting for him this weekend if he is in the right move on the day. Not only will Lars Boom be pinning a number on to race through the heartland but so will Steve Chainel. Chainel has been racing with a lot of heart this whole spring (not to mention this winter too) and to see him have another day like Milan-San Remo, well I would certainly be on the edge of my seat for that kind of day. Hopefully he can keep the rubber side down this time.
Fontana Pro XCT was Invaded!
Last weekend (March 26th and 27th) was the second round of the US Pro XCT series in the US, a six round UCI cross country mountain bike series. There is always some ’cross pollination with these level of events, especially in the US. However, a couple of extra notables were zip tie-ing numbers to their flat or riser bar bikes with funny looking forks and fat tires this past weekend. The usuals were there of course with Geoff Kabush, Todd Wells and Adam Craig all holding their own and keeping things in check for the more important World Cup XCO races later in the spring. But to many a surprised face Jesse Anthony was there and not just there to have some fun. He was clearly there on a business trip, taking 19th place right behind another crosser, Troy Wells, in the XC. These weren’t the only ’crossers mixing it up in the Pro Men’s field – after perusing the results sheet other notables are: Brady Kappius, Nicholas Weighall, Cody Kaiser and Barry Wicks. Guess there are those out there that want to keep their handling skills in check during the off-season.
Styby is Back to Training
We’ve assumed that Stybar has been in the midst of some serious preparation for his May debut ever since the end of ’cross season in February. However, it sounds like things are really starting to heat up training wise for the young Czech. Over the past week or so the only tweets we’ve received of note are that training has been hurting and he is tired. Well good for you Styby. If you have any say in which May race you debut at I bet there are a whole slew of American ’cross fans that would love to see you in California! Just think, you’ll have a good chance to see how the time zone change may affect you for the 2013 Louisville World Championships.
Katie Compton Heads South
Katie is pretty good about staying in the news, whether she is winning mountain bike races in her home state of Colorado or dominating the European women’s cyclocross fields. This week she has not disappointed with her team presentation in the Netherlands and now we hear that she is heading to the Pan American Mountain Bike Championships in Bogota, Columbia this weekend. Good luck Katie, we know that you’ll rip it. I hear it’s supposed to rain, so maybe a little extra pre-season ’cross training, right?
Niels Albert is the Winner
We all know that Albert is a true champion, with the various titles and jerseys that he has hanging up in his trophy room there is no doubt that he deserves every ounce of respect he has. One thing that he is truly taking hold of with a no holds barred attitude is his number of followers to tweets ratio on his twitter account. Albert’s current numbers are three tweets to 1,089 followers. For those of you that worry about power to weight or any other ratio of that sort we are looking at a ratio of 363. How would you like to have that kind of power to weight ratio at threshold? To make the comparison not as ridiculous, Zdenek Stybar is currently sitting at 1,228 tweets to 5,994 followers, which results in a lowly 4.88. There you have it, Niels is definitely taking over in one competition already for the 2011 season.
Amy Dombroski Returns to Racing
Dombroski has branched out on her own after her one-year stint with the Luna Chix Mountain Bike Team and has returned to racing for 2011 at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. We know that this is only in preparation for next year’s ’cross season, so keep it upright Amy and stay safe and then we know you’ll be racing Katie for that stars and stripes.
Sven Nys has Won the King of Winter Competition
I know that not everything that happens in the world of Pro ’Cross ends up in this column; we try hard to stick with the juicy tidbits if we can. Much to my surprise I have missed an important little piece of news out there. Every winter there is a King of Winter competition to judge who had the best overall ’cross season. The competition focuses on the Euros, which is not unjustified at this point. Once again the King of ’Cross, Sven Nys, has taken home the title with a commanding victory over Stybar. So how is this competition judged? There are a panel of judges that give a score. This year’s panel included: Paul Herygers, Roland Liboton, Danny and Rudy De Bie, Richard Groenendaal, Christoph Roodhooft, Paul Van Den Bosch, Mario De Clercq, Erwin Vervecken, Adri van der Poel, Peter Van Den Abeele, journalists Philippe Maertens and Michel Wuyts. In addition to the panel of judges there is a public voting score. Nys took home a total of 99 points to Stybar’s lowly 67 points, an accumulation of judge’s points and public points. Nys clearly took this season by storm with the most wins and podium finishes of any other ’crosser and this is just another metric to show the same thing. Maybe next year the others can knock him down a peg or two, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.