Welcome to Pavé’s international cyclocross preseason Power Rankings. We’re taking a look at who we think are the top ten cyclocrossers in the world. Throughout the season we’ll offer weekly power rankings – keeping an eye on who’s peaking and who’s fading.
1. Zdenek Stybar – the two-time World Champion has spent the season on the road with Quick Step, garnering a few decent results. Stybar can win when he wants, and he will.
2. Sven Nys – Somewhere, right now, somebody is saying that Nys is too old and that this is his last season. That’s been said for few years running right now, but his wins of the Superprestige and GvA series last year shows that Mr. Consistent can stay on top.
3. Kevin Pauwels nearly snatched the GvA Trofee from Nys’s hands last season. The youngster is on the rise. If he’s as unbeatable in a sprint as he was last year, he’ll be a constant challenge for other top veldrijders.
4. Neils Albert had an unusual season, which featured a blistering lead-up to the World Championships before an early mechanical ruined his race. His season wasn’t a bust, though – he captured the World Cup series and the Belgian Championship.
5. Bart Wellens – Wellens is starting his season in the US, and is likely to reel in some UCI points early and put him on the front line of early European races.
6. Rob Peeters showed a glimpse of early season form at Cross Vegas, holding on to 3rd as his late move was being reeled in by Christian Huele and Lars Van der Haar.
7. Bart Aernouts only won one UCI race last year, but his performance put him in the top ten rankings as per UCI points. Like Wellens and Peeters, an early season North American campaign might get his season started fiercely.
8. Philipp Walsleben improved steadily throughout the course of 2010. Let’s see what he can do this year.
9. Francis Mourey can win handily on his own turf, and even throughout North America. He showed fine form riding to 4th in the World Championships. Can he nab a podium spot in a major international race?
10. Tom Meeusen took a handful of impressive wins in 2010 – he may be Belgian’s most notable up and comer.
The international season kicks off this weekend with a C2 race, Steenbergcross in Belgium, but racing will have the feel of the preseason until Europe’s first UCI C1 race on October 9th, the first installment of the Superprestige series in Oostkamp.