It was an uncharacteristically busy week in the world of cyclocross considering the time of year, so sit back and soak up a lot of interesting off-season movement. The Sczcepaniaks are back in the news, for less dastardly reasons. Lots of contract talk was flying about despite the calendars saying March, and a French Woman snags her first season win, plus more!

Szczepaniaks Declined B-Test, Kacper Denies Suicide Attempt

The recently disgraced duo of Pawel and Kacper Szczepaniak have declined to have their B samples from the World Championships in Tabor analyzed for EPO, as would have been their right should they have chosen to do so. Both riders have admitted their guilt in the matter, and as the testing of the B samples would have cost the family a significant sum of money, they elected to decline the test and accept their fate.

Further, Kacper Szczepaniak has denied that he tried to take his own life following the revelation of his positive doping control. According to, the younger Szczepaniak brother sent a letter to the local press denying the attempt.

Two Cyclocross Stars Extend Their Contracts

While many professional cyclists have already settled into their road seasons and have long forgotten the time of contract negotiations, Dieter Vanthourenhout and Thijs Van Amerongen have just recently put pen to paper on contract extensions that will keep them with their current employers for the near future. Vanthourenhout will stay with BKCP-Powerplus – the team of former World Champion Neils Albert and soon-to-be Espoir World Champion Arnaud Jouffroy – for two more years, while Amerongen will add another year under the colors of the AA Drink Cycling Team, alongside Dutch cyclocross and mountain bike sensation Thijs Al.

Lars Van der Haar Moves to Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team

Dutch Espoir rider Lars Van der Haar, who rode last season with the Dutch AA Drinks Cycling Team, has moved across the aisle to the Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team. Van der Haar will join Bart Aernouts and Gerben de Knegt on the squad, which also includes American Adam Craig, and will add some depth to a team that many felt underperformed last season.

Christel Ferrier-Bruneau Wins Cholet-Pay de Loire

French cyclocross star and national championship silver medalist Christel Ferrier-Bruneau took home her first victory of the young season, winning France’s Cholet-Pay de Loire race on Sunday. Ferrier-Bruneau was the fastest out of a five woman leading group which withstood the chasing peloton to the tune of eight seconds. Ferrier-Bruneau bested a host of French talent, including cyclocross rider Nadia Triquet-Claude, in what she no doubt hopes will be the first of many victories this season.

Wellens Under the Knife

Bart Wellens had an uncharacteristically slow season in 2009-2010 after he was brought down by a bout of cytomegalovirus early on, and only just rounded into form enough by the end of the season to take a single victory. Now that he has shaken the illness, Wellens checked back into the doctors office to fix a misaligned septum in his nose. With an unobstructed respiratory tract, the cyclocross world can expect a marked improvement in Wellens’ performances.

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 #39. Installment #38 is here. Got something worth reporting? Let us know!