Pro Cyclocross Rumors & Rumblings: Week of January 14th, 2011

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Kevin Pauwels finished eighth in Koksijde. File Photo © Bart Hazen

Kevin Pauwels finished eighth in Koksijde. File Photo © Bart Hazen

by Kat Statman

The Northeast is frozen over, the Southeast is experiencing ice storms and the biggest ’cross race of the year is on the horizon. On top of everything, there is team transfer news, new sponsor news and just general good times with this week’s edition of Pro Cyclocross Rumors and Rumblings. Lars Boom has been reported to have committed to the 2012 World championships in Koksijde; Stybar is to sit out the Pont-Chateau World Cup round this Sunday, drawing anger from the cross community; Sven Vanthourenhout has lost his job at Sunweb-Revor but is chosen over Meeusen for the Belgian World Cup team this weekend; The Green Machine heads to Europe; Katie Compton is named the United States Olympic Committee Female Athlete of the Month; Ryan Trebon starts a feud with Cannondale presented by Cyclocrossworld.com team, a sign of things to come for next year; and this weekend the North will do battle with the South.

Lars Boom to Race 2012 World Championships!

According to Velonation.com and Sporza.be we learned this week that Lars Boom has agreed to participate in the 2012 World Championship race in Koksijde, Belgium. It is clear that Boom is only interested in racing the courses he likes and when asked if he would race the 2012 World Championships and was told that it was to be held on the infamous dunes of Koksijde, Boom immediately agreed. What is it about the dunes of Koksijde that make someone want to keep the knobbies on? I can’t speculate too much on that, but it seems as if there is an innate draw for us ’crossers to want to go play in the sandbox with our bikes. Maybe it is our inner child coming out?

Stybar Makes a Controversial Decision

Earlier this week Zdenek Stybar announced that he would not be making the trip to Pont-Chateau, France for this weekend’s round of the World Cup in order to stay in Mallorca and train “properly” for the World Championships at the end of the month. Huge Bummer. Stybar is finally back on the mend and he decides to sit out a World Cup in favor of training with some silly roadies from Omega-Pharma in Mallorca. We’re not the only ones to think that this isn’t cool. Both Peter Van Den Abeele and Sven Nys have made public comments about how this is not worthy of a World Champion and that for the sport to grow beyond the confines of Belgium the World Champion must travel to the top events, like the World Cup. Nys has even gone as far as to say that if the World Champion does not race in the World Cup that it weakens the sport and the meaning of winning a World Cup. I have to agree – come on Stybar get on a train and go to France! You even admitted that you were being selfish and that not racing Pont-Chateau is only for you and is not in interest of the sport.

Vanthourenhout Without a Home

Over the past few months we’ve been ruminating on what will happen with Sven Vanthourenhout at the end of this season with his current team at Sunweb-Revor. It was announced earlier this season that Kevin Pauwels will be leavng Telenet-Fidea for Mettepenningen’s squad, a big bolster in the strength of his squad and the possibility for more wins with the Sunweb-Revor sponsors. But what was to happen with Sven Vanthourenhout? It was finally announced that his lackluster season this year, in the eyes of Mettepenningen, will leave him without a team for next year. Will Vanthourenhout find a home with Sven Nys at Landbouw-Krediet like we have speculated? This announcement was made on the eve of de Bie’s announcement that he will be taking Vanthourenhout to the World Cup in Pont-Chateau instead of Tom Meeusen, the young standout of the 2010/2011 season. Is de Bie doing Vanthourenhout a favor and trying to help him get a job for next year by giving him another shot at the World Cup or is Vanthourenhout really back on the rise and ready to ride at the front? We’ll just have to wait and see.

The Green Machine Heads Back to Europe one Final Time

The beast of American Cyclocross, Cannondale presented by Cyclocrossworld.com, has made a return trip to Europe for the big three races of January. Jeremy Powers has been down south training with some Pro-Tour roadies (Hincapie, King, etc.) and winning a local race in North Carolina. Tim Johnson made a trip out to California for some warm weather and good miles in the sunshine state. Jamey Driscoll has been staying warm up in Vermont. Kaitlin Antonneau was chosen her first year as an Under 23 to represent the US Worlds team. This will send the American Juggernaut over to Europe ready to do battle. Will each of their respective methods work for solid finishes in the final races of the year or will we be embarrassed by some guys with Belgian names again? I’m rooting for the Americans and hope that we can have another great day like when Jonathon Page stepped on the World Championship podium in Hoogerheide.

Americans Continue Their Feuding Ways

Here in America feuding is part of our nature, whether it is a family feud or a feud between friends or even enemies over anything. With the dying down of the Page-Johnson dispute over the season and kind words being said between them multiple times over the season we’ve been clamoring for something and I think we have it! Just the other day when the boys in green arrived in Belgium they discovered that none other than Ryan Trebon stole their coffee grinder. What kind of feud is this? Well it turns out, as our sources have told us, that it is looking likely that Ryan Trebon will be riding on Trek bikes next year with the new Fisher Collection full carbon cross rig. With Trebon on Trek and Johnson and Powers on Cannondale we are looking at two of the three big American bike manufacturers ready to do battle and Trebon has just won round one. Now don’t take our word for it on the complete veracity of Trebon signing with Trek as our sources are often suspect (think dancing unicorns from gluing up new tubulars in a non-ventilated basement). But it would be exciting, no?

Cyclocross Star Katie Compton Gets USOC Recognition!

This week much of the cycling world has been watching with impatience for the end of voting for the US Olympic Committee Athlete of the Month elections. Katie Compton was nominated and was in the running from the beginning but a speed skater and wrestler got in her way until the eleventh hour when the cycling community rallied and brought it home for our hero in women’s cyclocross. Congrats Katie on taking home the USOC Female Athlete of the Month, now maybe USA Cycling will give us a little more support?

North Versus South, who will take the prize?

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! This weekend the two sides of California come to do battle against each other in Bakersfield, the North versus the South. There is some good money on the line, but in reality we know the real prize will be whether or not the North beats the South or vice-versa. Will some of the California roadies come out and play and make this interesting, maybe give Sid Taberlay a run for his money as he has dominated much of Southern California Cross this year?

This is not the only North versus South event of the weekend. Kingsport, TN is hosting the final UCI race of the American season this Saturday at Domtar Park. Looking over the registration page for the Elite Men it is looking like a North versus South battle with Adam Myerson and a host of other New Englanders heading south to gobble up some January UCI points from the southerners of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas. Look for Myerson, Jonny Sundt and Travis Livermon to be steeped in epic battle on the frozen course.

 

 

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20 comments
Lughugger
Lughugger

Have to say that my comments were vindicated today. Fantastic news for Jonathan Page both in terms of his ride today and his deal for next year. I'm glad to hear that the best North American riders will now try and prove themselves on the European circuit.

My major beef is with the UCI. Will they now disavow this ridiculous misconception that US Series points equate to GvA or SuperPrestige series points?

@frenchb7
@frenchb7

Just took 5 minutes to read the comments...People have no idea what's going on in each of these guys life.
Stop bitching and go for a ride.

Booksy
Booksy

lots of armchair riding going on here at CXM, I think maybe some of us need to spend a little less time worrying about and judging the pros (who are faster than every damn one of us) and a little more time worrying about our own fitness. this fascination with judging the pro's is a little like Americas obsession with US Weekly.

saying that JPow needs to "get a life" after tweeting about the holeshot is pretty weak, get your own life, stop following racers on twitter and go outside. I'd be pretty psyched if I got the holeshot at at freakin' WORLD CUP, and you would be too.

and this Wells bashing is totally uncalled for. a man has a right to race whatever race he qualifies for whenever he wants. if you don't like it, go out-ride him, until you can do that, applaud the man for winnng.

JP fan
JP fan

I agree. Page is a class act and also rides totally clean in a group of Euros that all have "medical books" (read legalized doping). I witnessed him giving his Team USA World Championship warm up jacket to a young 11 year old Belgian fan after the Hoogerheide Worlds race. The young boy was standing around the perimeter of JP's mobilehome (which is not taped off like the Euros vans are) with an autograph pad in his hand too shy to approach him, when Jonathan noticed him, walked over and not only signed his pad, but went back into his mobilehome and got his Team USA jacket and gave it to the beaming boy. His father snapped a picture of the two together and came over and thanked JP profusely and told Jonathan what a selfless act that was. Jonathan shrugged and thanked them for being fans of his. Perhaps JP has a different persona in Europe because they truly appreciate his talent and ability over there whereas when he comes to the states, people bash him and heckle him like when he was on the podium at Nats a few years ago. He is a man amongst boys in the US cross scene. As for his penchant for crashing, look at the video replays of the races and you'll see that they are mostly unavoidable following closely to the best riders in the world as they scream around the course fighting for position. Last year he raced most of the season with 4 broken ribs and still placed high (try breathing deep with broken ribs let alone racing with them). Did you hear about it? Likely not as he did not use it as an excuse as many of you say he does. This year as a result of unavoidable race crashes, he has had a bad back, ruptured tendon, swollen calf, bruised hip and several other physical issues that have prevented him from training hard to achieve his peak form. And yet you minimize his results and question him for not showing at the World Cup as he heals and trains to give team USA a chance for a good result at Worlds. Not once did he use any of this as an excuse and you armchair cross fans who look at his results and say he is capable of 20-30th place at Worlds don't have a clue about what he has gone through this year. Oh and all through this, he has been holding down the fort at home as his wife Cori is expecting their third child the week of Worlds. Give the guy a break and appreciate him for what he truly is, the best cross racer ever to come out of the USA, with the Worlds Elite Silver medal to prove it.

Zac Daab
Zac Daab

Of all years, the US team for 2011 looks to be SO STRONG. Everyone on the team deserves to be on the squad, with no one person qualifying on a random 1-time result.

I'm not sure why there are so many Page-haters. Page is probably the most professional of all the US top racers. He takes his job seriously. He has dedicated his entire life to racing cross. I don't see anyone else in the US doing this.

TJ and Powers are very strong, and Trebon, too. I wish all the US racers the best, and really don't understand the snarky Page comments from Euroshater.

ktl241
ktl241

Pont-Chateau is a very fast course, but calling it a criterium is ridiculous. Most of the course is slightly to moderately off-camber, which in the dry is less of a concern but there was still the big crash near the end, and the climb--which is the major obstacle of the course--is brutally steep in the beginning and very long. The race was, and has been in the past, a good indicator of fitness: Pauwels, Albert, and Nys top three are probably who most people think the top racers of the moment are. Also since Page seems to crash every single race, calling out the other US riders for their techincal skills seems silly. Last year at Worlds Page was 30th, the year before that 23rd, so yeah 20th-30th seems about right.

PB Lover
PB Lover

By the way, the Green Machine results today were on a course that was the equivalent of a criterium course where drafting is a big part of it. How often do you see large groups of riders together like today in a Euro cross event? A more discriminating course will show their true colors.... JP did not race as he is healing up from some nasty injuries that he has raced with for the past month. So the prediction is for him to finish 20th at Worlds?? You got a silver from Worlds hanging on your wall at home??

PB Lover
PB Lover

Hey, chill on Planet Bike. Do you know they have given over 1 million dollars to non-profit bike advocacy groups and THAT is their main ambition and company mission as they donate 25% of profits to that cause. Their bike racing support of JP and KFC is simply a passion of company owner Bob Downs and primarily because if he didn't do it, the two best crossers in American history would financially struggle to even suit up for the events in the "Big Leagues" of Euro cross, as no other American companies seem interested. If you want to crack on someone, ask the big American bike companies why they don't help the US Cross effort in Europe by supporting the top US Cross riders who choose to do battle there? At least they sell product there and could benefit from the marketing.

Ben Dover
Ben Dover

when the USA's best homeboys get on Euro soil.........um....TJ chases up to 3rd-12th group finishes 12th ...Jpow takes holeshot rides at the front and still finishes top 20...even Driscoll beat Pages nemesis Thijs Al

agreed about Wells but his priority's are different than the others

eruosrhaters
eruosrhaters

Hey where did Page finish in todays world cup, oh that's right no result there for him, but look a cannondale cyclocrossworld rider in the top fifteen, oh and another in the top twenty, hey who was that guy who took the holeshot? Oh what was his name again????

Veldrijdenrenner
Veldrijdenrenner

Page deserves a better sponsor deal than the Green Machine. What's the deal? That machine can't run on Euro fuel anyway. Rumor has it the cyclocrossracing.com may be new sponsor????? Dude kill it!!!!

COCXracer
COCXracer

Agreed. Everyone bags on Page but when Powers, Trebon,and Johnson get over there its all over. Some say Page always has an excuse and usually he does, but the others have worst excuses, especially considering their UCI ranking. Page kicks there collective @ss and somehow he's the bad guy? Page is the man in US cross either way. Love him or hate him, he is without question the best US cross racer. USA cross is a joke as all cats race the same course from pros to juniors, when the USA's best homeboys get on Euro soil, they just soil their kits. And Wells squirreling his nats jersey in the closet is.....despicable. If you win it, represent, or just don;t race. And for the rest, beat that deadbeat mtb racer for gods sake...

Lughugger
Lughugger

It's difficult to get even mildly interested in the 'Green Machine' coming over for St Wendel. I predict that Page will hand the Green Machine boys their a**es and that he finishes highest place US male rider in about 20th place. How the hell those two are UCI ranked higher than him is a joke to us Euro's. Oh, and well done to Todd Wells for turning down his place on the squad. UCI ranking equivalency? Don't make us laugh!!!!
PS Good luck to Katie. Hope you get the rainbow that you deserve!

Lughugger
Lughugger

Good advice. What do we do when we get back? ;-)

Lughugger
Lughugger

The point that I was trying to make was JPow arrives in Europe after a 3 week training period, makes it into the first corner in the lead and then, by his own admission, sits up and cruises to the line in 19th place. If I made the first corner in the lead and did not race for my highest finish I could achieve, I'd be pretty hard on myself for riding like a rookie and not being the best I could be. Especially in a World Cup race.

Duh!
Duh!

Ok, I don't mean to be confrontational but did you actually watch the race? Nys was nowhere near third place until the crash happened and his fitness is supposedly low due to illness at the moment. That course WAS a grass crit compared to most Belgian courses. Powers was stupid for trying tactics that work in the states, you see what it got him. TJ was 12th only because of the pile up and only because he was drafting at the back of the chase train. Albert and Pauwels looked bored on the last lap. Page is hands down the most talented cross racer to leave the states and compete in Belgium. TJ perharps is the only guy that can come close to JP in Europe.

Lughugger
Lughugger

Hey! I will always defend JP and his performances. I'm not calling him out by predicting 20th, that's where he's finished against the top guys in Europe all season. It's not really prescient on my part, just applying the law of 2010/11 averages. If he can repeat 2007's performance then I'll be jumping up and down on my couch in delight. I have massive respect for JP riding on his own as an American in Europe.
Maybe I've been harsh on Planet Bike but to see JP cut adrift when the 'Green Machine' are getting props for results against distinctly average fields at home must rankle a little. I guess that's a sign of the times.
For those bigging up the GM performance - WTF? Why be impressed with making the holeshot? What does that achieve? Gain any points? Or time? Or cash? Especially when you fade to 19th. Way to go - and then to brag about it on Twitter? Get a life! A good ride from TJ for sure. Congrats for missing the pile up in front of him on the last lap which promoted him several more places.

Lughugger
Lughugger

Are you really that clueless? Are you seriously giving a guy props for making the holeshot and then finishing 19th? We're laughing at you over here.

Lughugger
Lughugger

Absolutely right! I can not believe that the new owners of Planet Bike do not think that they get vfm from Page. He's the only American male who can get a reasonable result in the hardest events. Maybe they should waste tens of thousands of dollars with a marketing consultancy instead and rebrand as Domestic Bike. Seems like a better reflection of their ambitions.
If he is signed up by cyclocrossracing.com let's hope that they continue to support the USA's most credible cx racer by enabling him to continue to race in Europe.

DStudley
DStudley

I think it is great that Planet Bike has allowed Page to continue his Euro Cross racing career but to insinuate that they are getting their VFM out of it is questionable at best. Yes I would hope everyone reading a CX specific site would know Euro cross is a whole level above US cross (technical courses, racer intensity from 1st to 50th...), but they C-dale boys on the podium every week in the US provides alot better sponsor publicity over Page started fast and faded to 20th each week despite the tougher field.

The second part of being a sponsored racer other than being super human fast is the image you carry. I have met both Powers and Page and while Page may have a bad rap for being Mr. Excuse he just lacks the charisma and the approachable attitude others have. Easier for him to stay in Euro where he doesn't get face time with the fans...

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