It’s a double dose of Euro Rumors and Rumblings this week, as cyclocross stars are staying in the news with some impressive results both on the road and mountain bikes.
Evie Richards Shoots the Moon at Albstadt
In our Friday edition of Rumors and Rumblings, we saw Evie Richards ascend to her first mountain bike World Cup podium by taking second place at Nove Mesto. On Sunday she followed up her silver in the Czech Republic with a gold medal at the World Cup race in Albstadt, Germany. Richards took control of the race early on and held on to finish 52 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kate Courtney (Specialized Racing) of California.
Richards was “over the moon” with her performance:
And her friends from British Cycling were ecstatic as well:
— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) May 28, 2017
Meet the New Vos, Same as the Old Vos
To borrow a hackneyed internet meme:
Mathieu van der Poel: I won a road race and took second in a mountain bike World Cup. I am a multi-discipline star.”
Marianne Vos: “Hold my Heineken.”
After quickly re-establishing her cyclocross dominance last December, Marianne Vos (WM3 Energe) is back to her winning ways on the road again. Vos was first to the line in a four-up sprint at the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik (say that five times fast) one-day classic in Belgium on Sunday.
— WM3 Pro Cycling (@WM3ProCycling) May 28, 2017
The win was Vos’ third-straight road race win, and third win in the month of May. Her countrywoman and former teammate Lucina Brand (Team Sunweb) finished sixth at Gooik.
— Marianne Vos (@marianne_vos) May 28, 2017
Van der Poel Goes Toe-to-Toe with a Legend
The cycling world was abuzz on Sunday after Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank – Coredon) took advantage of his first-row start at the mountain bike World Cup in Albstadt, Germany to take home a second place finish on the fatter knobbier tires he has used to make a name for himself.
Last weekend at Nove Mesto, Van der Poel had to live like a cyclocross racer with a bad call-up and rode from the 90th start position to an 8th place finish. On Sunday at Albstadt, he quickly got off the front and joined a three-man lead selection with Swiss riders Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) and Matthias Fluckiger (Radon Factory).
For readers not familiar with cross country mountain biking, Nino Schurter is more or less the Albert Zweifel of the discipline. Schurter has won five world championships, took the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics at Rio, and won the Cape Epic that Sven and Sven raced in early this year.
During the third lap, and unfortunate crash dropped Van der Poel about 30 seconds back from the leaders, but a costly crash by Fluckiger after his own frustrating mistake allowed Van der Poel to jump back into second position. The cyclocross standout stayed within 20-30 seconds of the mountain biking legend for the remainder of the race for a head-turning second place finish, and in the process, beat another mountain bike legend, Julien Absalon.
After the race, Schurter said he was feeling the pressure from the Dutch phenom:
“I got a bit nervous when he was at the front. I’ve never raced versus him really, so it was the first time I saw him during a race. It’s always a bit of a strange feeling when you have someone with you who you don’t know. Where his strengths are, or his weaknesses. I was glad when I was able to drop [Van der Poel].”
And will we be seeing Van der Poel at more mountain bike races? He was a bit cagey, but he did say that he really enjoyed getting the opportunity to race on his mountain bike on Sunday:
“I don’t know yet, maybe. I am really starting to like mountain biking, especially when you can get it from the front row, it’s a lot different. I enjoyed it a lot today.”
Check out the highlights of the Men’s and Women’s Elite races at Albstadt:
Stay tuned to Rumors & Rumblings during the rest of the summer as we keep our eyes on what cyclocross stars are up when they are not racing in the dirt and mud.