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.