It’s been a relatively slow week for professional cyclocross, but an “old” champion returns to the Czech Republic, while the Mountain Bike World Cup kicked off, with some of America’s favorites leading the way.

Marianne Vos Wins Stage One of Gracia-Orlova, Rivera 12th

World Cyclocross Champion and Dutch Road Race National Champion Marianne Vos returned to the Gracia-Orlova stage race on Thursday, kicking things off with a victory in the 105.5 kilometer stage one from Dětmarovice to Štramberk. Vos, who in 2008 won the overall classification and was third in 2009, outsprinted Olympic Road Race gold medalist and British Road Race National Champion Nicole Cooke and Annemie Van Vleuten over a difficult cobbled finish. Vos, who is the current Women’s World Cup overall leader, bested Cooke by no more than a few bike lengths while Van Vleuten was six seconds behind. American Junior Women’s Cyclocross Champion Coryn Rivera crossed the line in 12th, 27 seconds behind Vos, while American Junior Women’s Vice Champion Kaitlin Antonneau was not far behind, finishing her day in 17th.

Nash Fourth, Gould Fifth in Year’s First World Cup

The 2010 Mountain  Bike World Cup season got underway over the weekend in Dalby Forest, Great Britain with the year’s first cross country event. America’s cyclocross stars got their season off in a good way, netting a podium appearance and a number of other good results. Czech Cyclocross Champion Katerina Nash brought home a silver medal for her efforts, finishing 28 seconds behind World Champion Irina Kalentieva. Georgia Gould finished up a strong fourth, just one second behind her teammate, and showed that skipping the late cyclocross season last December is paying dividends. America’s Mary McConneloug finished her day well within the top twenty, finishing up in 14th, 3:18 behind Kalentieva.

International cyclocross racers were also out in force, with Switzerland’s Katrin Leumann leading the way home in seventh place. Italian Cyclocross Champion Eva Lechner was not far behind, finishing her day in 12th place.

Of the cyclocross regulars on the men’s side, Italian National Champion Marco Aurelio Fontana finished up an even tenth, 1:45 behind winner and World Champion Nino Schurter, while Todd Wells led the way for North Americans with a 19th place finish, 3:49 behind Schurter. Marek Konwa, who came agonizingly close to the podium in the Cyclocross World Championships in January, was the second best espoir in the field, finishing his day in 22nd, while Canadian Cyclocross Champion Geoff Kabush was 28th overall.

Wondering what your favorite mudders have been up to? Doing your homework so you can win Cyclocross Magazine’s fantasy cyclocross league next season? We’ve got you covered with our new, weekly report on your favorite top ‘crossers. Each week Jake Sisson will bring you the latest news, gossip and maybe even a tweet or two on the Pro scene. This is installment #41. Installment #40 is here. Got something worth reporting? Let us know!