Sure, the UCI has their own cyclocross rankings. And with the Superprestige, GvA and World Cup series with UCI points up for grabs and Europeans hitting all of these series, it’s hard to figure out who’s the best in Europe. Enter Cyclocross Magazine’s European Cyclocross Rankings, the first of its sort, determined by complex mathematical equations calculated only in the head of resident Live Coverage and Fantasy Cyclocross League guru, Jake Sisson. Agree? Think he missed a number? Let us know.
European Men’s Power Rankings
1. Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago)
Neils Albert may have the UCI points lead, but Nys has been the fastest rider out there in the last couple of weeks. Nys easily dropped his competition on the slopes of the Koppenberg, and signaled that he is completely back to his feared best. He’s only just getting started too, and while he may live on the Koppenberg, he’s just as good everywhere else
2. Neils Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)
The best in the world until he was humbled by a Sven Nys attack on the Koppenberg, Albert will probably chalk last Sunday up to a bad day. When he’s on form, he’s unbeatable, and we should see a litany of great battles between Albert and Nys going forward. Albert is only just behind Nys in terms of power rankings, and if he takes a win this weekend, #1 is his.
3. Zdenek Stybar (Telnet-Fidea)
Stybar has to be patient, and his win will come. Unfortunately, he’ll have to be far more patient than he’d like, as Nys and Albert are just too good at the moment for Stybar to beat them, all else being equal. He’ll have to wait for both to have a bad day, or for the conditions to align perfectly for the Czech National Champion. That said, he’s a cut above everyone else not named Nys or Albert.
4. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Projob)
Vantornout still has his problem of being on fire one day, non-existant the next. He almost let Kevin Pauwels grab third place at the Koppenberg from him when he sat up too early, but he was racing for third, so that’s not exactly a black mark on his record. Vantornout looks more steady than he has in years past, and could pick up a win in the next couple of weeks.
5. Kevin Pauwels (Telnet-Fidea)
Speaking of Pauwels, the Belgian hasn’t exactly had the best start to his campaign, but he’s warming up. Pauwels is still only 25, so to be almost on the podium of the Koppenbergcross is nothing to sneeze at. He’ll break through at some point, but don’t expect it to be against a top-level field. He’s still just a workhorse for the Belgian team, too, but he’ll get his day in the sun.
6. Francis Mourey (Francaise des Jeux)
Mourey has quietly transferred much of his road form into the cross field, and he’s had some good results to show for it. Mourey may be a bit eager to chase people, and in doing so burns himself out – he was constantly at the front during the Koppenbergcross – but he’s got the raw deal of pretty much riding these races solo. No help means no wins, he’ll have to be herculean to beat the rest of the field.
7. Bart Aernouts (Rabobank)
Oh for the days when Rabobank would dominate the podium. Aernouts is Rabobank’s biggest threat these days, and while it’s a stretch to call him unworthy, a team of their stature is hurting for a true leader. Aernouts had a good go at the Koppenberg, but his attacks left him spent when it came time for the moves of Nys and Albert. He’s a top five player at best.
8. Erwin Vervecken (Revor-Bobaco)
It’s too early to write Vervecken off in his last year as a professional cyclocross star. He had a cagy win against a good American field in Wisconsin a few weeks back, and we all remember him coming out of nowhere for two World Cup wins last year, when everyone had said his ship had sailed. He’ll get a World Cup to ride into the sunset on.
9. Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas)
He’s there, then he isn’t. Franzoi has been getting consistently better as the weeks go on, moving from outside the top ten to just inside. He’s warming into his season, and he should be able to add some fire to the front of the field. He was an early protagonist at the Koppenberg, but couldn’t hold his pace. If he can stay healthy, he’ll have a good season.
10. Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)
Page was maybe the best rider in the United States when he took his last win at the first day of Gloucester. It’s very telling how much faster the European scene is when his best result so far is a 13th place. Still, the bravest American out there is worth of the final spot in the top ten, thanks to his results in America against great competition, and the fact that he’ll be up there in some big races as the season wears on.
European Women’s Power Rankings
1. Katie Compton (Planet Bike)Katie Compton has been unstoppable no matter where she goes. She’s got enough of a resume both in North America and in Europe that she grabs the top spot in both rankings. The argument is no longer when she’ll win next, but when her winning streak will end.
2. Daphny Van den Brand (ZZPR.nl – Destil – Merida)
Daphny took the last weekend off, but she’s been the best of the rest in Europe under the reign of Compton. Van den Brand has a few good results under her belt, and has been the closest to Compton so far, so she’s got to be second in any book.
3. Pavla Havlikova (AVB Cycling Team)
Havlikova took home a big win at the Koppenberg, and jumped way up the leaderboard. While she may have benefitted from some untimely bad luck from World Champion Marianne Vos, she held off a great field and was mixing it up with Vos before she bowed out. Havlikova is always highly ranked because she cleans up UCI points in the Czech Republic, but she’s only 26, so this could be a breakout season.
4. Helen Wyman (Kona)
Helen Wyman showed real grit in riding to second place at the Koppenbergcross. Wyman came over to the states at the beginning of the season and was a cut above when she was in conditions that suit her. Going forward in the season, the conditions will continue to suit her and she will continue to be at or near the front
5. Marianne Vos (DSB Bank)
Vos has some bad luck at the Koppenbergcross, but if it weren’t for her double flat, she’d probably have won. She ran a long way to try to stay in the race, but by the time she got to her new bike, she was lapped, and called it a day. She does already have a win to her name, which is more than she had last year, and she won the World Championships last year. It’s only going to get better
6. Saskia Elemans (Team Flexpoint)
Elemans has been climbing up the standings in recent weeks, and she was only just off the podium at the Koppenbergcross. She’s a consistent rider, and is capable of working for the Dutch team when they roll into world cups. She’s also the leader of Flexpoint at the moment, so expect bigger results to come
7. Sanne Cant (BKCP – Powerplus)
Based on recent results, Cant is really the best of the rest of the peloton. Cant scored a fifth place finish at the Koppenbergcross, which was one of her best finishes of the year. Cant is perennially in the top five, but she’ll have to pick up some victories now before the big guns really start to fire
8. Joyce Vanderbeken (Rendementhypo)
Vanderbeken, the Belgian champion, was one step lower than Cant on the Koppenberg ladder. Cant is the better of the two best riders in Belgium, but Vanderbeken is nipping at her heels. The two have a pretty good rivalry going, so getting beaten by Cant will give Vanderbeken increased motivation at this weekend’s European Championships
9. Sophie De Boer
De Boer jumps to 9th on the list because of a surprisingly strong ride at Koppenbergcross. De Boer went from a little-known rider to grabbing third place, ahead of Cant, Elemans, Vos, Vanderbeken and Wyman, all ahead of her on this list. Is that race going to be a fluke or will it be the start of something bigger for the young Dutchwoman who was third at last year’s Dutch Junior National Championships?
10. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Vision 1 Racing)
Ferrier-Bruneau is almost on the level of the top three in the sport, and is the best rider the French have at this point. Ferrier-Bruneau had a week off, and while she had a downward projection this week, she’s still too fast to fall off the list completely. She should be a good bet for a top five ride this weekend.