Another big weekend in Europe, which saw a host of races including two C1 races, one of which a Superprestige race at Hamme-Zogge. Without further ado, our wrap-up and analysis:
Cyclocross Nommay (C1) - There are very few C1 events outside of Belgium, so this past week’s race in Nommay was a rare opportunity for riders to grab a lot of UCI points. As expected, Francis Mourey beat up on the largely French field, beating Steve Chainel by nearly two minutes. Chaniel out sprinted Italian Enrico Franzoi for second.
Germany’s Sascha Weber continues to impress this year, with a fifth in Nommay. Weber could quickly become Germany’s top rider, giving Philip Walseleben a run for his money. Mountain bike legend Julian Absalon threw his hat into the ring, too, finishing in eight place, just ahead of Nicolas Bazin.
Fidea Jaarmarktcross (C2) - Sven Nys picked up his fourth win of the season, and his fourth Jaarmarktcross in Niel, Belgium ahead of Niels Albert and Kevin Pauwels. Nys dominated the last half of the race, riding the entire thing solo. Albert was the only man who could make up any ground on Nys, but still wound up 22 seconds behind him.
Despite Nys’ excellent showing, the real story came from 23-year-old Frenchmen Mathieu Boulo, who at one point has amassed a 22 second solo lead over the likes of Nys and Pauwels. Boulo had a great season last year as a U23, picking up a pair of World Cup victories, a national title and a fourth at Worlds. However, this season he really hasn’t had any solid results. Perhaps this is his breakout ride.
Toi Toi Cup – Louny (C2) - Germany’s Christoph Pfingsten pulled off the upset in Louny besting Czech riders Vladimir Kyzivat and Tomas Paprstka by a mere six seconds. Kyzivat had a 19 point lead over Pfingsten heading into Louny, however, his lead is not cut to a mere nine points. David Kasek, currently third overall, finished in fourth place in Louny. The Toi Toi Cup now takes a nearly one month break, before the riders battle it out in December. With only two rounds to go, it is anyone’s game.
Internationales Radquer Frenkendorf (C2) - Francis Mourey picked up his second victory of the weekend in Germany a head of Italian Cristian Cominelli and Marcel Wildhaber. The top German finisher was Sascha Weber who rolled across the line in fifth, just behind Lukas Fluckiger. Weber continues to have an impressive season and was just off the pace in Frankendorf. In fact, the next German to roll across the line was Julian Schelb in 38th place, over three minutes behind.
National Trophy Series – Southampton (C2) - The highly anticipated battle between Britians Paul Oldham and Jody Crawforth once again took a back seat to foreign riders, who headed to Southampton to pick up valuable UCI points. Belgiums Floris de Tier lead the sweep a head of fellow countryman Jelle Brackman and Xandro Meurisse. Oldham rolled across the line in fourth, twenty seconds a head of Crawforth who finished fifth.
At the midway point of the series, Oldham continues to lead the overall, 11 points a head of Crawforth. Luke Gray is third, nearly 60 points behind Oldham. As was the case last year, with three rounds left, it continues to be a two man battle. Last year, Crawforth took home the title with a mere five point lead. This year, it will be up to Oldham to hold on to his slim lead.
Swedish National Championships (CN) - With only a few months of decent weather, Sweden’s cross season wraps up towards the end of November. As a result, their National Championships are usually held in early November. This years winner was Magnus Darvell, who soloed to victory a head of Linus Dahlberg and Jens Westergren. Last years winner Emil Lindgren didn’t race this year, while Westergren once again missed out on the top step (he was second last year).
Superprestige – Hamme-Zogge (C1)
The meat and potatoes of this weekend’s cyclocross was the latest installment of the Superprestige series. After some lamentations of the lack of poor weather made the news, the riders toed the starting line of what would be a warm, fast, dry race – a far cry from last year’s mud-drenched conditions. The conditions led to a large lead group of nearly fifteen riders, despite a number of people attempting to break it apart. The only person who had success was World Champion Zdenek Stybar, who put in a huge move halfway through the race, amassed a large gap over his rivals, and proceeded to time trial his way to the top step of the podium – a welcome result after a month of close calls and near-wins.
Behind, Niels Albert, Sven Nys, and Kevin Pauwels relieved themselves of the rest of the group and pursued Stybar, but it was for naught. Albert was unable to maintain the pace, and Pauwels, who has been riding high after a string of incredible victories, came back to earth with a second place, outsprinting Sven Nys. Niels Albert was able to hang on to fourth place, only lost one point to Nys in the Superprestige overall standings.
American Jonathan Page continued his season of poor performances, failing to finish in Hamme-Zooge. Radomir Simunek and Bart Aernouts continued their fine performances, and Bart Wellens – who struggled this past month and took a rest to recover from a virus – rode to an admirable 7th place.
Albert still remains the leader in the Superprestige series, which continues next weekend in Gavere. Albert holds a slim, three point lead over Nys, who is just two points a head of Stybar. Barring something bizarre happening, these three riders will battle it out for the overall.