With road nationals done across the U.S. and Europe, the new venue of choice for many cyclocross stars is the singletrack of cross country mountain bike nationals. Several European countries held their nationals over the weekend, and U.S. ’cross stars will be lining up against the best mountain bikers in the country in Snowshoe, West Virginia this week for U.S. Mountain Bike Nationals.

Rumors & Rumblings is here each week leading up to Rochester to keep you up to date on what cyclocross riders are doing to prepare for cyclocross season. In today’s edition, we rip the singletrack through the woods and then continue on for a more casual stroll down the aisle. 

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot Wins Sixth-Straight French MTB Nationals

Cycling fans never want to see a rider have to shut their season down mid-summer due to stress or injury, but when that rider is Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, it can certainly lead to questions of “what if?” come cyclocross season. Fortunately for fans, Ferrand-Prevot is back after her abbreviated 2016 campaign and over the weekend she punctuated her return in a big way.

Ferrand-Prevot won her sixth-straight French mountain bike national championship in impressive fashion, taking the crown by 4:39 over her nearest competitor. PFP, as Ferrand-Prevot is known to fans, won French U23 Nationals from 2012-2014 before moving to the Elite ranks where she has continued her winning ways for three years running now.

On Twitter, Ferrand-Prevot said her sixth national championship was as good as the first:

Ferrand-Prevot made cycling history when she held the world championships in cyclocross, road and cross country mountain biking in 2013-2014, so it is no surprise that she is quickly following her mountain bike national championship with this week’s La Course by Le Tour road race that finishes atop the famed Col d’Izoard.

We have talked about multi-disciplinarity a lot this summer, and with Ferrand-Prevot back, it may be time to organize a Cycling Champion of the Universe cyclocross-road-mountain omnium weekend to settle this discussion once and for all.

Annemarie Worst is Third-Best at Dutch XCO Nationals

The last we saw Annemarie Worst, she was busy winning the Women’s U23 Cyclocross World Championship in a barnburner against the best young women riders in the world. After the race, Worst said the mountain biking skills she hones during #crossiscoming season helped her succeed on the technical Bieles course. The young Dutch rider has returned to the singletrack this summer to continue to develop those skills to aid in her cyclocross world title defense.

Over the weekend, Worst finished third at the Dutch mountain bike national championships behind Anne Tauber and Anne Terpstra.

Worst has been racing the U23 UCI Mountain Bike World Cups this summer, so we will continue to watch her build the pre-cyclocross season hype in her mountain bike races against English star Evie Richards.

Wells, Hyde Podium at US Cup Eastern Grind at Catamount

With the US Cup-CX on the cyclocross horizon this fall, Todd Wells, Stephen Hyde, Cooper Willsey and Elle Anderson got an early start on training for the new cyclocross series by competing in the third stop of the mountain bike US Cup, the Eastern Grind at Catamount race in Williston, Vermont. The USCup is a four-race mountain bike series that is the model for the new seven-race USCup-CX series coming this fall.

All four cyclocross stars had good outings in Vermont, with Wells taking second, Hyde third and Willsey eighth in the Men’s race and Anderson nabbing seventh in the Women’s tilt.

The winner of the Men’s race, Christopher Blevins, also has some cyclocross experience under his belt. Blevins finished fourth at the 2015 Junior Men’s National Championships in Austin, TX behind Gage Hecht, Gavin Haley and Cameron Beard.

After the race, Wells and Hyde were both excited to make their way onto the podium.

For Anderson, it was a chance for the Vermont native to head back east from her adopted San Francisco home and race in some familiar confines.

Ch-Ch-Changes Coming from the UCI

In last week’s Friday news dump, Cyclocross Magazine covered some of the coming UCI cyclocross rule changes. The biggest changes include increases in payouts for Women’s C1 and C2 races and the UCI World Cup overall series. Payouts for Men’s and Women’s winners have been equalized at €1,400 for C1 races and €350 for C2 races.

For the World Cups, the payout for overall Women’s winner has been increased from €12,000 to €23,500. However, minimum required payouts for individual races are still not equal.

The minimum payout for the Women’s World Cup overall has been increased to 23,500 Euros. photo: UCI

After two smashing Women’s U23 world championship races, the UCI is adding another installment of top-level Women’s racing to the Worlds schedule by adding a Women’s Junior 17-18 race in 2020.

The third set of changes are ones that will affect the Masters world championships. The number of UCI points Masters riders can have and still be eligible for Masters Worlds has been increased to 100. Previously, any Masters rider with any UCI points was not eligible for Masters Worlds.

However, lest we expect to see riders in their prime Baby Masters years such as Zdenek Stybar (1 UCI point) and Dan Chabanov (26 UCI points) racing at Masters Worlds, the new rules also eliminate the Masters 30-34 age group category. Stay tuned to see how this affects professional riders’ perspectives on the Masters world championships and if we will need to learn the Belgian word for “sandbagger.”

Please see our Friday news dump for a full analysis of the UCI rules changes.

Wout Van Aert Pops the Big Question

After two straight cyclocross world championships, one could argue that Wout Van Aert has mastered performing in high-pressure situations. However, last week, the cyclocross phenom faced perhaps his toughest challenge to date: a marriage proposal.

Van Aert popped the question to his longtime girlfriend last Sarah De Bie last week and she agreed to take that bunny-hop of faith by saying “Ja.”

According to an article by Gazet Van Antwerpen, the two grew up in Lille, Belgium and started dating in high school. Google Translate provided this excellent description of their relationship:

“Sarah is the strong woman behind the cross god. She is loyal to the side line and is ready to sweep his snout after the game.”

Adam Myerson, Jack of All Trades

Keeping in the spirit of wedded bliss, Adam Myerson has shown his many talents this year – ’cross star, road star, #flynnstadad – and over the weekend, he added “wedding officiant” to his list of diverse palmares. Myerson brought his style to the altar as Master of ceremonies for the wedding of Spencer Haugh and Alex Carlson.

Haugh is a long-time cyclocross rider and one of the talents on the Slow Ride Podcast, which is a personal guilty pleasure, and Carlson is an avid ’cross racer in the New England region. We are hoping to get an interview with Myerson later this summer, so stay tuned for his report on the nuptials and the Myerson line on whether he will be presiding over Wout Van Aert’s upcoming wedding.

Check out Rumors & Rumblings each week during #crossiscoming season to keep tabs on what cyclocross stars are doing to get ready for ’cross. Did we miss something? Leave a message in the comments or e-mail us at [email protected]