by Kat Statman
It may seem like the season is over, as many of us in the US are starting to log our long base miles or are taking advantage of all the snow in the mountains for a good physical and mental refresher, but fear not – there are still many pro cyclocross rumors and rumblings to be had. First, because this is such a huge monument for women’s cycling, we cannot help but talk about the big news with Katie Compton signing with the Rabobank–Giant Off Road Team. In other signing news, the rumors for where Sven Vanthourenhout will plant his feet in 2011-2012 are over; Landbouwkrediet to become the next Belgian Powerhouse team? Zdenek Stybar “trains” before Middlekerke this weekend; and finally a congratulations to the Kannibal van Baal for cementing his place in the record books.
Katie Compton Receives a HUGE Pro Contract with Rabobank
I’m assuming everyone who is reading this has already read, or at least heard from somewhere, that Katie Compton is officially going to race for the Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team starting in 2011. If you don’t know what I am talking about, please go read: Compton Signs with Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team. Now that you know what I am talking about you can follow along. Ever since the announcement was made Friday morning, there have been tweets and congratulations from all around the world for this huge moment where a HUGE Pro off-road racing team is creating a women’s team and placing Compton right at the front. This is a big move in the world of women’s sports and I have to admit it sort of makes me all tingly to think about things slowly becoming more equal; a very exciting day for not only ’cross fans but also fans of cycling in general. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty shall we?
With Compton taking a spot on a reasonably large and well-funded team, there are some questions that need to be asked, and I know people are asking them. Katie and her husband Mark Legg-Compton have been notoriously picky about the equipment they use and rightfully so – anyone at the top of the sport wants to use the best equipment that they can and will seek it out. However, Rabobank-Giant is a Shimano-sponsored team with the riders riding on the now-commonplace Di2. This shouldn’t pose a problem, nor should the switch from a Stevens full carbon ’cross bike to a Giant full carbon ’cross bike. Compton will also be swapping the Zipp 303s that she has been riding for the past two years in favor of the Shimano C35s and C50s. The final big change will be pedals. Compton has been a Crank Bros rider for years, at times even making special modifications with Colorado sand and super glue for a little extra traction, but now she will be on the tried and true Shimano XTRs. Will this be a problem? Well, clearly not, as they have agreed to a contract. Have to admit I can’t wait to see Katie’s new rigs for next year and to see her tearing around the fields of the US and Europe next season.
Sven Vanthourenhout Returns to Nys’ Side
After a few years on different teams, Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) will ride together again, just as they did with the Rabobank Continental team. This year has been one of trials and tribulations for Vanthourenhout, where his team director, Mettepenningen, has been been vocally unhappy with his performances throughout the year and let the 30 year-old field rider go at the end of the 2011 season. It is never fun to have to find a new team, especially when you are struggling with results, but Vanthourenhout has landed on his feet and will be riding for Sven Nys’ Landbouwkrediet-Colgano team in 2011. With one more Elite rider, things are looking up for the team and for Nys, where he will have a rider at his disposal to help out early on in the races. Maybe Nys will take more victories in 2011 with the added firepower? Then again, he’s clearly not lacking in that department this year with 13 wins to his name currently and the Superprestige Overall crown.
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago Looks to Become the Next Belgian Powerhouse
Not only has the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team signed Sven Vanthourenhout to it’s roster this year, but they have added the young Vincent Baestaens to the Elite team, and have brought KDL-Trans – Baestaens team – into the fold as a Junior feeder team as well. Nys has shown a particular interest, especially after the negative post-World Championships comments made by various Belgian team members, on the state of the future of Belgium as the cyclocross powerhouse country. With KDL-Trans and two more Elite riders all involved with Landbouwkrediet-Colgano, things are starting to look interesting for the future of Belgian riders as well as the future of the team. If Telenet-Fidea is slowly losing its strong firepower with both Pauwels and Stybar leaving this year, does this mean that the two powerhouse teams will now be BKCP-Powerplus and Landbouwkrediet? A changing of the guard might be in order.
Zdenek Stybar has been “Training” in Middelkerke
This weekend is another round of racing with the final event of the Superprestige series. Many riders are looking for that end-of-year result to show that they are worth whatever money they are getting paid. But one rider seems more concerned about finding the perfect amount of “slide” with go-karts in the rain. This morning Zdenek Stybar tweeted that he had been “training” at Middelkerke and included a photo of himself in a go-kart jumpsuit. Seems like an odd way to prep for the race, but hey, when you have a contract with a big Pro Tour team, I guess you have a few more liberties? Or will Lefevre give the young Czech rider a stern talking to in order to make sure his new acquisition is not injured and out for the road season?
The Kannibal van Baal is in the Record Books
Last weekend, after an amazing sprint finish at the GvA race on Saturday, Sven Nys took an even more impressive victory at the Superprestige race in Hoogstraten. With this victory he has secured a win in the overall of the Superprestige. This is his 10th overall Superprestige series win. What does that mean? Well, you would think that someone else would be close to that record based on how long the Superprestige has been running, but not even remotely so. Hennie Stamsnijder holds second with only four overall victories. We all know that Sven is one of the best. Regardless of his age he has consistently been at the front of every major race this season. But to secure another benchmark like this one, which will take a very long time for anyone to overcome (Stybar would have to win the next nine in a row just to match Sven’s record) it’s clear that Nys is in a class of his own. Hats off to you!