Nys controlled the race, start to finish

On the cyclocross course, Nys is near unstoppable. But unfortunately for Nys, he DNFed at the MTB London test event. (File Photo) © Bart Hazen

by Kat Statman

The summer months really are winding away but the high temperatures of August are showing no signs of relenting anytime soon. With a little over a month before the season gets under way, the rumors and rumblings are starting to get juicy. And, how do we know that? Well on Twitter, Veldrijden_info is no longer silent. So, the big news of the week is Tom Vannoppen’s drug bust. But that really shouldn’t cloud other good ’cross news like Nicole Duke joining the Cannondale– team. Nys double flats at the London test event and would rather take an Olympic Medal over the ’cross World Championships. Tim Johnson heads to the high country for a week of epicness, how will the former “roadie” handle seven days of mountain bike racing? In this week’s Working Man’s Edition a new working man’s ’cross team comes to Colorado featuring Spencer Powlison, Grant Holicky and Scott Tietzel.

Tom Vannoppen, taking a page out of Tom Boonen’s playbook?
Molly did a great job going through Vannoppen’s “storied” career, so let’s just look at the amusing side of it. Vannoppen was busted, again, for cocaine use. Cocaine, a stimulant, probably has some sort of performance enhancing benefits or we wouldn’t know of the stories from riders using it in the Tour de France in the 1960’s and earlier to survive le Grand Boucle. But, cocaine is more commonly used as a party drug, a la Tom Boonen. So is Vannoppen just another party-hardy Belgian cyclist or was he looking for that extra edge in his off-season racing program?

In Happy News: Nicole Duke Lands a Spot with Cannondale–
Nicole Duke had a stellar season last year with Hudz-Subaru and showed that she could tussle with the best women in the country. A well-deserved move and a welcomed move in the right direction for women in the ’cross scene! We’ll be watching Nicole closely this year: with the fields getting stronger, the racing only gets better!

Sven Nys Glues Up the Big Tubulars!
It’s no secret that as Nys ages and retirement looms for the “old man,” he has some bigger goals on the mind than winning another rainbow striped jersey, something that has been oddly elusive for the winning-est ’crosser of all time. What are the goals? Nys wants an Olympic medal. So, to make that happen he’s been racing more world cups every year at the cost of his early ’cross form. This past weekend he skipped over to London to race the London test event and see how the London Olympic mountain bike course would go at speed. Well, there are apparently a bunch of rocks on the course that ripped open his Dugast mountain bike tubulars, resulting in two flats and an eventual DNF. So, not a course to use the traditional method? Or, is it a tubular-happy course, just not a Dugast tubular, maybe better suited to a vulcanized set like Geax or Vredestein? Well, Nys said he learned a lot and now knows what is needed to grab that medal. I guess we’ll just have to wait till next summer to see what happens.

Tim Johnson heads to the high country with some BIG wheels.
In the world of mountain bike racing there has been a debate raging over what size wheel is better for racing performance, enjoyment, efficiency and whatever else people can think of on the internet forums. Well, the average sized (i.e. not Ryan Trebon or Todd Wells) Johnson has opted to bring a Cannondale Scalpel 29er to the Breck Epic, a week-long mountain bike stage race in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. So, is the 29er the right tool for the job? I don’t know, nor is it really important. What is important is that Johnson’s new ’cross specific program seems to be taking shape and I have a funny feeling in my stomach that this will be an even better year for the winter veteran than last year.

Working Man’s Edition: Plains to Peaks Racing to Hit the Fields!
It’s always good news to hear about new ’cross racing teams, whether they are on the regional level or the national level. So, I have some good news for you, and even better because the Working Man racer always needs support. I want to welcome to the fields Plains to Peaks racing. So, who is on the team? All three racers are pretty good headliners, with Scott Tietzel, Grant Holicky and Spencer Powlison. The ringer for the team is definitely Powlison. Powlison has been focused on ’cross for a few years now and it has showed with top 20 performances at the Boulder Cup weekend last year and the Fort Collins USGP. Look out for him at those weekends again this year and each week pushing the pace at the local Colorado races.