The steel, disc-brake equipped Furley brings steel, disc brakes and one gear to the Raleigh 2012 Cyclocross bike line-up. © Cyclocross Magazine

Will we be seeing disc brakes more as the season goes on? © Cyclocross Magazine

by Kat Statman

Every year, cyclocross and women get a little closer to equality and Rabobank has helped making that transition again. So I hear that disc brakes are the next thing in cross, but where are they? Niels Albert has taken the plunge as the first Euro to really think that disc braking performance is where it’s at, but still no discs on race day. Then again, there was a vague little comment from Stu Thorne (at least I’m assuming it’s him) on Twitter that the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com folks will have “special” forks this weekend at Gloucester … disc equipped on the front, methinks? Adam Myerson really does not get as much credit as he’s due, and he already gets a lot, but racing through the pain … let’s call him “hard man of the year!” Does Prince Albert really deserve De Vlaeminck’s words of criticism? Stybar is already sitting out races, I’m worried that we’ve lost another great. With Katie Compton focusing on the World Cup and the World Championships, is Katerina going to be the dominant “American” woman, or can Georgia Gould, Nicole Duke and Meredith Miller give her a run for her money?

Rabobank Ups Their Game With Women

Rabobank made a huge leap forward last year when they signed both Katie Compton and Rosara Joseph to the Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team. Well, they made another big leap this year and have essentially bought out the Nederland-Bloet team of Marianne Vos, creating a Rabobank Contintental women’s team. Wait, does that mean that Katie and Marianne are all of a sudden teammates? Yep, folks, that is true: the two biggest women in cross are teammates. Hmmm … I think we will be seeing some Blue and Orange domination at the World Cup cyclocross races this year.

Disc Brakes Taking Off?

Ever since the UCI announced that disc brakes would be legal, there have been rumors and tech spy shots (and not so spy shots) floating around about every company, except the big three shifter and derailleur companies, preparing for the revolution of disc brakes in cyclocross. So are we really that close? I’m not sure yet. But one thing is for sure, there is a Euro that has embraced the idea of braking performance over tradition, finally! Niels Albert has been spotted on TRP’s CX 9’s and CX 8.4’s this year. Niels embraced a slight move to improve braking performance by foregoing his traditional Euro X’s in favor of the TRP CR950’s. But the move to full on v-brakes by the young Belgian seems to indicate that a new wave is coming and it might not necessarily be disc brakes quite yet.

Gloucester Disc Brake Surprise?

But, maybe some American’s are taking the plunge at least a little bit. Stu Thorne tweeted today from the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com’s Twitter account that everyone should check out the front forks on the team bikes at Gloucester this weekend (that’s right, folks, don’t think I would miss mentioning Gloucester!) So, will they be disc forks with some prototype lightweight mechanical disc brakes? I hope so … Stay tuned!

Hard Man of the Year

Adam Myerson gets a lot of well deserved credit for everything he does and the six million different hats he wears. Well, I’m thinking he deserves to wear another hat: the “hard man of the year” hat. If you haven’t heard, Adam had a pretty serious crash at the end of some silly cyclocross race up in Vermont. Even though he was hurting the whole week in between he kept at it and then promoted the Nor’Easter Fest race in Burlington, raced the Nor’Easter, drove back to Boston and raced the final race of the USA Crits series, all with what he though were a few broken ribs and some serious pain. Hats off to you, my friend, hats off to you!

Flemmish Cyclocross Drama?

If you don’t read cycling websites in Flemmish this time of year, I’m not sure you’re a cyclocross fan, but this even made it out of the Flemmish fanaticism. De Vlaeminck made some pretty harsh comments towards Prince Albert saying he was not as deserving as a champion as the King Nys. Now, I’m a Sven Nys supporter as much as the next guy, but are you really going to knock a multiple time world champion and current Belgian champion as not having his heart in the sport or as much discipline as Nys? That was uncalled for. Albert deserves serious respect, my friends, and no one, whether or not you are a Nys fan, a Stybar fan or even a Wellens fan deserves hate like this. Yes, De Vlaeminck had a prestigious career, just check out his Wikipedia page, but his comments were off the mark, I’m afraid. Just because of that, I may just have to be more of an Albert supporter than I was before.

OK, so you’re the World Champion, you’ve won two UCI races and “banged” your knee at the podium ceremony so you’re going to sit out some races to let it heal. Well, I guess that’s ok? What do you people think? I’m of the mind Stybar is being cautious after losing almost all of his season last year to injury while having the rainbow stripes. Yet, sitting out a good chunk of the season allowed him to get the stripes again, so, maybe early season injuries are the way to go? Let’s hope Stybar at least respects that jersey of his and races a full schedule.

The Other Woman

So, with Katie Compton focusing on the World Cups, US Nationals and the World Championships, that leaves her out of the picture more often than not in the US. So, who will take over her title of ’cross destroyer in the US? Well, Katerina was the obvious choice: she has not only beaten Compton but was awfully close to her at last year’s World Championships. She’s off to a good start but there is a whole list of women coming up behind her. You can’t forget that until recently Georgia Gould was the second dominant woman in the US and she’s still there. Then there’s new up-and-comer and former Downhill racer Nicole Duke. Besides her, no one can deny that Meredith Miller has the engine. And now we have Chloe Forsman racing cyclocross for the Race Club 11 squad. Man, the women’s field is getting deep in the US!