There’s a lot going on in the world of cyclocross this week. We have the Euro racers getting ready for the next World Cup, or in the case of Tom Meeusen, just getting ready for the next chance he has to race. Jonathan Page is rumored to be moving to a new team for 2011; what would this mean for his early season American campaigns? Coryn Rivera makes her debut in southern California. Katie Compton takes a weekend off, even though she is leading both the World Cup and the USGP series overalls. The 2012 Masters Worlds and 2013 Elite World Championship course in Louisville, KY, gets mainstream press coverage. And we have an interesting look at Euro ’cross culture (on the skids?).
Another Week, Another World Cup. Can We Have One Every Week, Please?
Some of the big news of the week has to do with the World Cup in Plzen, Czech Republic, this weekend. Now that the World Cup season has started, it’s the time when riders are looking to have their best rides of the year, or try their hardest, considering the length and intensity of the season. Some riders to look out for this weekend from the US, Canada and our language cousins (Great Britain) are Jonathan Page (USA), Ian Field (GBR), Sue Butler (USA), Christine Vardaros (USA), Amy Dombroski (USA), Gabby Day (GBR), Helen Wyman (GBR), Nikki Harris (GBR), Vicki Thomas (CAN) and Katerina Nash (CZE). I know, Katerina Nash is not an American, but she lives, trains and races in the US, therefore she gets thrown into that list. Nash is also the one to watch this weekend – being a “home” country race and her father’s 60th birthday all in one, she’ll be motivated, especially after her third place finish in Aigle last week. For a full start list at this weekends round of the World Cup click here.
Who will be at the World Cup and who will not is interesting and all, but we want to look at what were the racers up to in between last week and this week. We have gathered that Sven Nys, after a disappointing performance where he lacked the snap and power to stay with Stybar, headed to Mallorca with training partner and friend Sven Vanthorenhout according to Sport.Be. Hopefully the warm weather and optimum training conditions will allow him to regain the ferocity we associate with Nys.
But the rider we are all concerned about is Zdenek Stybar. Stybar has been dominating Euro ’cross since the beginning of the season, taking the win in every race he has entered. First there is the all important question of how long he can hold out. Stybar is a brilliant racer that has all of the bike handling skills of Nys and the power of Albert, sort of a Super-cross racer. But maybe his training this week will be too much. Yesterday he said on his Twitter page, “Training til sunset today here in Czech Rep. :)” Will a full day of training between World Cups kill the strength he has been able to show thus far? For ’cross fans, I hope not, because he’s starting to look like Nys in his early years, unstoppable!
The last bit of straightforward World Cup news, Katie Compton. It’s undeniable that Compton is a dominant force in Women’s cyclocross. Her strength is enviable by both women and men; I’m humbled just watching her ride. But she isn’t on the World Cup or the USGP start lists this weekend, despite leading both series. This year Compton has one goal in mind, the World Championships. She has never won the rainbow stripes, and she’s focusing in on that this year, which means that any unnecessary racing that could ruin her shot isn’t on the schedule. Good luck Katie, we are rooting for you.
With Tom Meeusen being left off of the eight-man Belgian World Cup team, what is he up to to keep the form we saw him display at the early season GvA and Superprestige races? Tom is keeping the rhythm and hard riding in his training with two hard days in the Ardennes with Jim Aernouts. “Together with Jim Aernouts. We had rented a room at the Hotel Edelweiss in Botrange. From there we did a long endurance training Sunday and on Monday a thorough interval session on the slopes nearby. We cycled both the Upper Levee Stockeu and up. We dug very deep on a few intervals. I suppose it’ll succeed, because I’m getting better.” Meeusen will continue this type of hard training with Rob Peeters in Luxembourg this weekend as he also was once again left off the Belgian team (source: telenet-fidea cycling team).
A Little bit of Page, Rivera and Louisville
Now for some news in the USA. First big rumor is that Jonathan Page will no longer ride for Planet Bike after the end of this season and will be joining the Blue-Cyclocrossracing.com team that has seen big results from Tristan Schouten already. Why is this important? Well, Cyclocrossracing.com is a direct competitor to Cyclocrossworld.com. We all know the little feud that exists between Jonathon Page and the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com boys. If Page rides for Blue-Cyclocrossracing.com does that mean he will have some extra fire power at the early season US races with Tristan Schouten to help fight back? The signs of a domestic team battle are looming, however it’s unlikely Page will be ending his European campaigns. Look for fireworks in the early season.
Coryn Rivera will finally be making her debut back on the dirt this weekend in Southern California. From her Twitter account, “CALLING ALL LOCALS! Come out for some cyclocross racing Saturday! My first CX race of the season: http://socalcross.org/events/scps-race-5/“. Kaitie Antonneau has been dominating the young up and comer news recently, but don’t forget that Coryn Rivera is not to be washed aside; look for her to be coming into form for ’cross by the time Nationals roll around in December.
TheEva Bandman Park and Cyclocross venue has received some mainstream press coverage this week. Go here to see the Business Journal article. This is great news for such an important step in US cyclocross. Not only are we seeing mainstream press coverage, but cities are taking cyclocross as a serious investment for the betterment of the community. This is not only happening in Louisville, but Boulder, CO, will have a permanent course as well at the Valmont Bike Park. As ’cross continues to grow, so should mainstream coverage and interest.
We all know that they have a different style in Europe, but man, I never realized the depth of that, um, “difference.” Having lived in Budapest for a year in High School, I’m pretty accepting of “Euro trash techno.” In fact I’ve been to a fair number of clubs where that’s what they were spinning; I even went to a reggae concert (please don’t ask) where 90 percent of it was techno and not reggae, probably more fun that way. But the new Superprestige video takes “Euro trash” to a new level by giving us “Euro trash country.” Belgian country(?) star TatYana Storm brings us the first ever Superprestige theme song, and conducted a photo shoot complete with plenty of mud to hype the new tune, “De Cross Gaat Door” (rough translation: The Cross Goes On). Apparently cyclocross and mud are popular enough in Belgium that a bikini-clad, mud-spattered singer belting out tunes to accompany be-spandexed dudes does the trick.
That’s right ladies and gentleman “Euro trash country.” Rather than trying to describe it further, just watch TatYana Storm do her thing:
Compared to the unbearable shit they play at race venues and on Belgian TV, this is only as painful as a root canal. Worse race venue music in the world, Hasselt Indoor race. Lip-syn'd music piped in directly from game-show hell.