Katie Antonneau at the Namur World Cup © Bart Hazen

Katie Antonneau at the Namur World Cup © Bart Hazen

We’re back folks, for all of your pro ’cross rumors and rumblings that you’ve been missing the past few weeks. Not only are we back, but it’s just in time for the holidays and more importantly, the cyclocross fans “holy week.” So, let’s take a chance to look at the upcoming races, the Euros that are on form, the Americans in Europe and all sorts of other exciting pieces of news.

Stybar Must Make A Choice
It’s probably painfully obvious to all of us out there that Stybar’s road season really has taken a toll on his ability to race ’cross effectively, especially since he’s having trouble just staying in the top five nowadays. So, what do any of us good sidelines commentators have to say? Well, right along the lines with his very own manager at Quick-Step, he’s gotta make a choice to either continue with the road or come back to ’cross full force. As Colin Reuter, of fame, said: “He’s no Marianne Vos.”

Nys, The King of Old Man Power
The press has an on-again off-again relationship with Nys. At the beginning of the season, everyone is always constantly questioning whether this is really the end of his reign, and then as soon as the mud and true ’cross conditions arrive, everyone realizes that, in reality, Nys is not willing to relinquish his crown quite yet. In fact, this year he is very quickly approaching 10 major wins and has taken over the lead (though marginally) in the World Cup overall from Kevin Pauwels, clearly a sign of his firm grasp on one of his nicknames, the King. But, his crown not only covers his rule over the field in general, but also his rule over “old man power.” As one of the oldest riders in the field, far older than the two other big names, Albert and Pauwels, he’s using that strength from years of pedaling to his advantage and just throwing down whenever he wants to. Maybe the World Championships are an elusive goal (though he has taken home the rainbow stripes before) for this King, there is no doubt that when you are the winningest field driver of all time, it is difficult to let go, and with his slow move towards retirement and a relinquishing of his rule, the rest of the field will be hard pressed to wrest the crown from his head.

A Quick Look at the Boys and Girls of Euro Cross Camp
Just looking through the results briefly and seeing what has been happening over in Europe, it is good to see our EuroCrossCampers getting in some good time in the mud. Though they may not be grabbing too much glory, except for the juniors, getting out there and just being in a SuperPrestige is nothing to sneeze at, even grabbing 30th for Zach MacDonald. But, the real news is looking to the accomplishments of Logan Owen and Drew Dillman, likely two of the 17-18 year olds that will be gunning for each other this January in Madison. Well, at Namur, the both grabbed up top tens with a sixth place for Dillman and seventh place for Owen. Only a few more spots and one to two minutes and they would’ve been on the box, something clearly not out of reach for these two. A good sign for the future of American ’cross?

As Usual the Woman Are Undercovered, Far too Sadly
It’s a very sad state of affairs when it’s much harder to grab live Twitter updates (for those of us who can’t get away from working in the middle of the day) except for a few quick cursory reports of the results. So, let’s spend a good deal of time talking about the awesomeness of women’s racing right now. To get things started, if you haven’t seen it, you should watch this video:

4ème Manche de CDM cyclo-cross from Petitesreines.

Marianne Vos, Does what Stybar Cannot
Everyone out there should be absolutely astounded with Marianne Vos. She wins at everything. She wins on the track. She wins on the road. And she wins in the field. Stybar has been able to win on the road, but so far the field is becoming ever more elusive. A testament to the strength of Marianne? I think so. Hopefully, Katie can stop having mechanicals and the two of them can have it at, womano y womano, and give us some even more exciting racing.

Kaitlin Antonneau, the punch of Mighty Mouse
As a kid growing up one of my favorite cartoons was Mighty Mouse, the little guy that could really bring a wallop to anyone in his path. Kaitlin Antonneau reminds me of that. Small, demure, but when she starts pedaling, man, does she pack a punch, and not only at the US domestic level but when she steps up her game and heads over to Europe she grabs top 10’s at World Cups on absolutely insane race courses. Did you see the video of Namur?

Amy D. and Mo Bruno, New England Hard Women
There’s something about those hard-nosed New Englanders and ’cross that just goes hand in hand. When you think about hard-nosed American New England ’cross racers there are two that come to mind, Mo Bruno and Amy D. Well, Mo and Amy have been killing it in Europe this year fairly consistently, even with Amy’s knock on the head a few weeks ago, expect nothing less than awesome from her the rest of the season. Did anyone else catch Mo’s result at Diegem? Yeah, that’s right folks, ninth, just four minutes back from Marianne in her storming victory (she had a nearly two minute gap to second place).