by Kat Statman
Yes, February 4th has come and gone, but there is always something exciting going on in the world of pro cyclocross. Zdenek Stybar shows us how to party and still finish on the podium; Nys hits the deck in the GvA Trophy at Lille this morning; Kevin Pauwels closes the gap in the GvA Trophy overall series; the US UCI calendar has been released for 2011-2012; and a huge congrats to Jonathan Page on the birth of his daugther Pearl Wendel!
Zdenek Stybar Shows the world how the Pro’s Party
When you think of professional cyclists, especially after Bjarne Riis sent Andy Schleck home at last year’s Vuelta for having a beer before 10 pm, there is the idea that they do everything for the sport in order to be the best, especially in Europe. No alcohol, no parties, just eating, sleeping and training. Clearly winning the World Championship is an exception to that and Stybar showed us that not only can you party hard after taking home a fourth rainbow striped jersey (twice as an Under 23 and twice as an Elite) with tweets at 3 am , but you can keep your form at least respectable. This Thursday Stybar finished solidly in 5th place at the C2 race in Maldegem. Then just this morning we saw him barely lose a sprint to his teammate Kevin Pauwels in what looked like a Tour de France freight train coming down the line.
Nys Hits the Deck Hard
Lille was an exciting race to watch this morning. The course was fast, flowy, covered in sand and wound its way around a park with a big lake. Sort of picturesque and reminiscent of the Boulder Rez courses from the Boulder Cup. The course was just fast enough that no one could get away today, regardless of how hard they tried. Wellens put in an attack but no one let him go. Nys went to the front and even though he could gain a few seconds here or there on the tight technical sections, the group always came back. Stybar gave it a go and couldn’t make it stick. Eventually a group of five came rolling into the narrow finishing straight at warp speed. Unfortunately for the group there was such a short distance from the finish line to the fencing at the end of the straight that Nys had to purposefully hit the deck in order to not slam head first into the photographers and the spectators. Next thing we saw was the venerable king of ’cross holding his knee ala Peter Griffin. He had this to say after the crash, “I had to jump off my bike, otherwise I would have been in the VIP tent. Instead I slammed full on into Pauwels.”
Pauwels Takes Another Sprint Victory and Closes the Gap for the GvA Series Overall
For all intents and purposes Kevin Pauwels has been having his best season to date and now with another victory to add to his palmares. I can imagine Mettepennigen is extremely thrilled to have a rider on his squad that brought home a few wins for the year. Pauwels’ most recent victory once again came in a sprint finish. I know that riding bikes fast is all about power-to-weight ratios and what not, but regardless those that can sprint are generally bigger guys that can produce ridiculous wattages for very short periods of time, for example Mark Cavendish. Kevin Pauwels is no Mark Cavendish and he looks like a twig compared to the rest of his racing compatriots, so to watch him come out of the wheels of Stybar and Nys battling it out take the win was, dare I say, phenomenal. Thanks for giving us another exciting showdown and it will definitely be more interesting next season when you, Styby and Wellens are no longer on the same team!
Not only did Pauwels best Styby and Nys in the sprint today, but he just made the GvA series overall a hotly contested event. After finishing first today he is now only two points behind Nys going into the final race in Oostmalle on February 20th. Everyone tune in that day and watch as one of them has to finish in front of the other in order to take the series.
It will also be interesting to see if Pauwels can put together another good ride tomorrow at the Superprestige in Hoogstraten, bringing that race for the overall closer. As Nys said this week on Sporza.be the general classifications (referring to the Supreprestige and the GvA series) is just as important as the World Cup. The World Championships might be over but Cyclocross season sure isn’t – keep an eye and an ear out, things are still good!
For Your Viewing Pleasure, a Blip Snipped Video of the GvA in Lille: Last Lap
2011-2012 US UCI Calendear Is Here!
This week the UCI released the UCI calendar for the 2011-12 season, which of course included all of the US events we can expect to have. Many of the events we have come to love and know over the years are still there. The venerable east coast classics: Gloucester, Providence and Cycle-Smart are all ready to go. The USGP’s have changed their schedule for 2011. Louisville, which has traditionally been in October, took over the November date held by Fort Collins. Fort Collins, moved forward to the beginning of October and Portland has moved later into January to resolve a World Cup scheduling conflict. The real standouts are the few new events that we have not seen before. There is a new Wednesday night race in St. Louis, Missouri before the first USGP in Wisconsin. There will also be a Chicago Cross Cup on New Years Eve and New Years day, so bring your snow boots and start acclimating to the cold before Madison. It is looking to be a good year with plenty of opportunities for the elite men and women of the US to grab some UCI points and for everyone else to benefit from well run professional and fun events.
Huge Congratulations to Jonathan Page and his wife Cori on their baby daughter Pearl Wendel Page
Two days after Page’s once again impressive ride at the World Championships in Saint Wendel, Page’s wife Cori gave birth to a baby girl named Pearl Wendel Page. Congratulations Jonathan and Cori, we here at Cyclocross Magazine wish you all the best!
Not only is congratulations in order for such a joyous event, everyone out there should know that even though Page’s daughter is only a few days old he lined up this morning in Lille to do battle again, finishing with a solid 14th place ahead of the likes of Gerben de Knegt.