Now, I may be a bit biased, well a bit really biased, but the most important race on my calendar is this weekend in Southampton, New York. Why is that? Well, for one, my club runs it. For two, its an epic race and has featured some of the best professional fields in America over the past few years, and for three, if you look at the staff list, I’m assistant director… (I swear I didn’t put myself in that position because I made the tech guide, swear!) So, this weekend plays host to the Whitmore’s Landscaping Supercross Cup in Southampton, New York. It’s the final stop on the North American Cyclocross Trophy series and, incidentally, 50 points are on the line for whatever rider wins that series. Yes, I am making up rules as I go, thank you very much. Also, in Europe, is the next stop on the Superprestige circuit, stopping in Hamme-Zogge, Belgium.
Whitmore’s Landscaping Supercross Cup Men
The top American men will face off this weekend for the final bragging rights in the NACT competition. Ryan Trebon (Kona) leads the men’s series ahead of Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) with only the weekend’s two races remaining. Trebon (270 points) and Johnson (260 points) are really the only two still in the hunt for the overall title (which awards 50 bonus points, mind you), as third place – Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) – a full 130 points behind the leader, with 140 points. Todd Wells (GT Bicycles), with good performances in Southampton, could grab some bonus points for third place, as he’s fourth with 114 points in the NACT standings. Wells has been riding very strong of late – as indicated by his win at day 2 of the Mercer Cup last weekend – and could easily ride his way into fourth place.
Another big factor going into this weekend will be the health of Tim Johnson. Johnson winged his knee during his victory at day 1 of the Mercer Cup and was forced to the sidelines for day 2′s proceedings. If that knee is still bothering him, his chances of taking home wins and the overall NACT title could go up in smoke. By all accounts, every measure is being taken to ensure Tim fights the good fight. Jesse Anthony (Jamis) will be looking for retribution this weekend after a somewhat subpar showing at the Mercer Cup. He’s been riding great form this season and would like nothing more than to win on a big stage. In the MIA list for this week is Trebon’s teammate, Barry Wicks, who is off soaking up Japanese culture.
Whitmore’s Landscaping Supercross Cup Women
The women’s race promises to be a slug fest among America’s elite riders. The women are coming from across the country (and even from out of the country) to take home some valuable UCI and NACT points that are at stake. Amy Dombroski (Velo Bella – Kona) hopes to defend her lead from a charging Georgia Gould (LUNA). Her lead is a mere 62 points (Dombroski – 182, Gould – 120), and with 60 series points for a win, Gould could take control of things by the end of the weekend. Gould’s performance last weekend showed that she is more than capable of taking home both victories this weekend, a feat that could see her take home another 50 fantasy points as a result. Rachel Lloyd (Cal Giant Berries/Specialized), Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team), Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles) and Sue Butler (Monaviecannondale.com) will all look to steer her off target and take home high finishes for themselves. Katerina Nash will also be on hand this weekend, and despite the fact that she won’t get anyone any points, she could factor in the podiums of each day, and further complicate the NACT overall picture.
Superprestige Hamme-Zogge Men
With Lars Boom (Rabobank) not taking to the line at this weekends stop in the Superprestige (apparently contracted a urinary tract infection… ouch), and with Niels Albert (Palmans – Cras) out with a bum spleen, you can more or less pencil in Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner) for victory on Sunday. Few can match the Belgian in the big races, and those who can, will not be present. The resurgent Bart Wellens (Fidea) will give Nys a run but I cannot see Bart getting over the hump and into the limelight. I’d say he’s a good bet for the top five but a win would be a bit of a stretch. Zdenek Stybar, Kevin Pauwels and Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) will both be by Wellens’ side for the race, should Wellens not be able to rise to the challenge. Vervecken has somewhat quieted critics who were saying he was washed up with a solid fourth place at last weekend’s Superprestige, but that may have been due to the sloppy conditions, something he and Wellens both excel at. Pauwels has been a force this season so far, most recently riding to fifth last weekend.
The Subweb – Projob duo of Klaas Vantornout and Sven Vanthourenhout will both be looking for good placings. Vantornout has been consistently challenging for top fives while Vanthourenhout will look to be back to his best after missing time with a wrist injury. Both have shown signs of their capabilities, with Vantornout notably taking home third place at last weekend’s Superprestige. Rabobank will be missing their superstar and World Champion but will bring Gerben de Knegt and Bart Aernouts to the race. Richard Groenendaal and Thijs Al will be riding for the AA Drink – BeOne team, with Radomir Simunek and Dieter Vanthourenhout trying to make up for the lack of Niels Albert for Palmans – Cras. Jonathan Page will be the lone American taking the start, riding for Planet Bike and wearing number 20.
Superprestige Hamme-Zogge U23 Men
Philipp Walsleben (Palmans – Cras) will hope to continue his hot streak of form and take home another win in the Superprestige Series. Walsleben has won two of the three previous Superprestige races, only pausing to win the European Championships on the weekend of the Superprestige’s second stop. Walsleben was almost beaten, however, last weekend by Tom Meeusen (Fidea), but the young Belgian celebrated too early, allowing Walsleben to get by for the victory. You can be assured that this weekend, Meeusen will be sprinting 10 meters past the line to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
No doubt an exciting weekend is on tap, and lots of points will be distributed when the dust settles. If you picked right at the beginning of the season, you could make a killing this weekend with series championship points on the line. That said, here’s the way I think things will shake out (so, obviously, pick the opposite)
Sven Nys, Sven Vanthourenhout, Klaas Vantornout, Ryan Trebon, Todd Wells, Tim Johnson, Georgia Gould, Rachel Lloyd (there’s nowhere for top women to get points this weekend, so sadly, they are omitted)