Pro Cyclocross Rumors and Rumblings – November 11, 2009
A couple important health updates came forward this week, as Sunweb-Projob loses another rider for next weekend and the swine flu hits the cyclocross peloton. Over in the states, a bit of a sponsorship mix up turns some heads, and Neils Albert gets into a bit of spat with fans in Niel.
Neils Albert Draws Out the Boo Birds, Threatens Cyclocross Quit
Neils Albert made no friends today in Neil, despite the assumption that residents of the Belgian town should consider him one of their own. The crowd that showed up to the Neil Jamarktcross were left less than pleased with Albert’s tactics in the closing stages of the race, as Albert stalled on a pivotal climb, forcing local hero Sven Nys into the course barriers. Albert compounded his perceived mistake by attacking away from his stall, using Nys’ loss of momentum to build himself a gap. The crowd let him know that they were unhappy with Albert’s actions, causing Albert to gesticulate in their direction. Albert later stated that he regretted his decision to respond, but it looks like the local cyclocross scene may be turning on the young Belgian World Champion.
Albert showed his frustration after the race, and threatened to pull a page out of Lars Boom’s book and quit cyclocross to focus only on the road. The treatment he’s been getting from supporters of his rivals seems to really be getting at the young Belgian, who has been met with significantly more angry receptions since donning the World Championship stripes. Albert’s manager, Christophe Roodhoft, was quick to temper Albert’s reaction as an angry and frustrated outburst after losing a narrow sprint to Nys, and hopefully, if given time, cooler heads will prevail.
Sunweb-Projob Loses Vantornout to Shoulder Injury
Just days after Sunweb-Projob lost top rider Sven Vanthourenhout for two weeks due to “overtraining,” the team was dealt another big blow, as Klaas Vantornout, who has been the team’s best performer so far this season, announced that he’d be skipping the next week’s races due to a torn shoulder tendon. Vantornout crashed hard on his right shoulder in Hoosgstraten last weekend, and while the shoulder had been relatively pain free, further tests showed that there was a 40% tear. Vantornout will skip a week of racing to let the shoulder heal. Vantornout should be back for the Superprestige stop in Gavere if he feels his shoulder is no longer in danger of a full tear that will keep him out for months
Ben Berden Gets Swine Flu
Belgian Elite Without Contract Champion Ben Berden, riding for Revor-Baboco, has been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as the swine flu. Berden is the first major player in the cyclocross peloton that has gotten the flu. Berden first checked into the hospital on Monday and once he knew that it was in fact swine flu, he skipped his start in Niel this morning. Berden hopes to be back in action this Sunday.
Rebecca Wellons Switches Bike Sponsors
Friend to Pro Cyclocross Rumors and Rumblings Steve Hopengarten sent word on Sunday that Rebecca Wellons, who has been riding on Ridley bicycles for the last few years, was seen in Northampton, Massachusetts riding on a pair of Stevens cyclocross frames. Hopengarten was informed that the switch came because Wellons’ team, Team Plan C, was sponsored not by Ridley, but by Sinclair Imports, who had previously been a Ridley distributor. Ridley has since switched distributors, forcing Wellons to switch from Ridleys to Stevens. Wellons and Team Plan C plan to have new kits ready for next weekend, hopefully avoiding humorous sponsor mismatches.
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