Each week leading up to Rochester, Rumors & Rumblings brings you updates on what cyclocross stars are up to during the offseason. After a crazy two weeks of U.S. Road Nationals, U.S. fans got some time to settle down a bit and maybe even watch some of that somewhat famous bike race going on in France right now.
Katerina Nash and Maghalie Rochette Battle Up North, Eh?
Before there was the budding Hyde-Lindine mountain bike rivalry, there was the friendly competition between Team Clif Bar teammates Katerina Nash and Maghalie Rochette. We caught a glimpse of the the Nash-Rochette rivalry earlier this summer when Nash was able to top her rival via her beer-quaffing skills.
The two Clif Bar riders are engaged in a bit of a different competition right now, battling it out in the seven-day BC Bike Race that covers trails ranging from North Vancouver to the famed Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Each of the seven stages features 20-30 miles of singletrack and since the race takes place along the coast of British Columbia, a decent amount of climbing.
After the completion of Day 3 on Sunday, Nash had a four-minute lead over Rochette in the cumulative time-based standings. Nash has won all three stages thus far, with the most competitive coming on Day 2 when the duo finished one right after the other. Four days of racing remain, including the Day 7 race at the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
— BC Bike Race (@BCBikeRace) July 7, 2017
On the Men’s side, Geoff Kabush is currently leading the GC pursuit with a 35-second lead on Stephen Ettinger. Kabush took the wins on Days 1 and 2 and appears headed for a tight 7-day battle with Ettinger. In sixth place is a familiar name we have not heard in a while: Tim Johnson. Yep, that Tim Johnson.
— BC Bike Race (@BCBikeRace) July 9, 2017
Troy Wells is also racing the event and is in 10th place.
Mend the Beard!
Mountain biking can bring happiness while ripping singletrack in beautiful destinations, but high speeds, trees and rocks also make the endeavor dangerous at times. Robert Marion, of Fear the Beard fame, learned this the hard way when he suffered a dislocated knee during a training ride last week. I got into cycling because of repeated knee injuries, so I feel The Beard’s pain, and I think I speak for all of us by wishing him a speedy recovery and return to the bike.
Lucinda Brand Takes Win at Giro Rosa Stage 8
Lucinda Brand has been a professional bike racer since 2013, but she became a household name for cyclocross fans last season after an impressive first full season of ’cross racing that culminated in a fourth-place finish at the World Championships in Bieles. Brand is back on familiar turf on the road this season as part of Team Sunweb. The Dutch rider took the victory at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Classic earlier this year, and over the past two weeks, she raced in the 10-day Giro Rosa stage race held in Italy.
Stage 8 on Friday was Brand’s chance to shine at the event. With Tetyana Riabchenko escaped up the road (thank you to Cycling Tips for their reporting), Brand put in a solo pursuit to bring back the Ukranian rider. Brand’s biggest asset in the chase was her skill as a “demon descender.”
— UCI_WWT (@UCI_WWT) July 7, 2017
While closing the gap, Brand suffered a dreaded “Ay yay yay” when she crashed on a tight descent with just 5km left to go. She was able to recover and overtake her rival on the final climb to solo to her third-ever stage win at the Giro Rosa. Needless to say, Brand was excited.
— Lucinda Brand (@lucinda_brand) July 7, 2017
World Cup Back to London?
After the British invasion stormed Bieles in January, it is only fitting that British cyclocross would look for an opportunity to showcase its young stars on the northern side of the English Channel. European cyclocross publication cyclocrossrider.com reported last week that a group headed up by Paul Maunder and Simon Burney is looking to bring the UCI World Cup and the World Championships to the Lee Valley Velopark and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for more on this developing story. We encourage you to check out the story from our friencs at cyclocrossrider.com.
#tbt on Monday with Fabio Aru
Most cycling news during the past week has focused on the somewhat famous bike race going on in France. The Tour de France requires a very focused skillset, and so crossovers between cyclocross and the Tour are usually difficult to find. Back in 2015, we took a look at the 2008 Cyclocross World Championships and found a Peter Sagan connection, long before he became embroiled in this year’s Tour controversy du jour.
Last Wednesday, the cyclocross connection was made in a more positive fashion. Italian Fabio Aru put in an impressive effort on the mountain top finish Stage 5 to take the victory and jump into GC contention. Through Stage 9, Aru sits in second place, 18 seconds behind leader Chris Froome.
As one of our Twitter followers pointed out, Aru is no stranger to cyclocross:
— Christian Rocha (@chregirocha) January 20, 2016
Looking through the results from the Sagan story shows Aru finished in 25th place at the 2008 Junior World Championships, two spots ahead of Lars van der Haar. The race from October, 2008 Christian linked to would have been Aru’s first year of Elite racing (and features a cameo by Helen Wymann [sic] on the top step of the Women’s podium). It appears, however, controversy would not escape Aru, and the Sardinian is involved is some Tour drama of his own.
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].