International Cyclocross Weekend Wrap-Up: Nys Guys Finish First

Photo courtesy of Tim Van Wichelen

Scheldecross (C1)

A last-lap mechanical cost Sven Nys his shot a victory in Antwerpen last year. This year, Nys rode the race to near perfection, taking the victory a head of Tom Meeusen and Dieter Vanthourenhout. Meeusen continues to have a stellar season with another solid ride, while Vanthourenhout surprised many with his podium finish. U23 World Champion Lars Van der Haar rode with the Elite Men for just the third time this season, finishing seventh, 1:10 behind Nys. Finally, Nys showed a bit of brains over brawn by running the barriers on the final lap, rather then bunny hop them as he has all season.

Toi Toi Cup – Kolin (C2)

Series leader Christoph Pfingsten failed to show in Kolin, allowing Petr Dlask, David Kasek and Vladimir Kyzivat to close the gap, with one round left in the series. The race itself quickly became a three man affair between Kasek, Dlask and 21-year-old Jan Nesvadba. Kasek was able to edge out Dlask in a two-up sprint, with Nesvadba rolling across the line a handful of seconds later. As a result, Dlask sits in second overall, 13 points behind Pfingsten. Kasek moved into thrid place overall, 20 points back.

Vlaamse Druivenveldrit (C1)

To win a cross race, you need speed, skill and a bit of luck. Unfortunately for nearly everyone involved in the race in Overijse, their luck ran out. Surviving the madness and chaos was eventual winner Sven Nys, Bart Aernouts (second) and Klass Vantournout (third). Behind was a mess of spectacular crashes and ill timed flats. In Tom Meeusen’s and Kevin Pauwels case, it was a mix of both.

The course in Overijse features a solid mix of cobbled streets, off camber descents and tricky wooded sections. The section that had the greatest impact on the race was a short, steep, decent that took riders out of the woods. The first victim of “the descent” was Diter Vanthourenhout who went down hard and nearly went into the crowd. As supporters and fans we helping Vanthourenhout back to his feet, and presumably towards the medical tent, his teammate Radomir Simunek went down in the exact same fashion at nearly the exact same spot.

Meanwhile, at the front of the race, disaster began to strike. The first victim was Meeusen, who suffered a flat rear tire in town. Meeusen would recover and make his way back to the front of the race. Later in the race, Pauwels disappeared from the front as he suffered from a flat tire. After regaining contact with the lead group, Meeusen’s luck turned once again as he hit the deck hard in the final corner, costing him a podium spot. As Meeusen collected himself, Pauwels began to make a charge for the podium until he crashed on the same decent as Simunek and Vanthourenhout. Pauwels’ crash was at the base of the decent and not nearly as hard. Better luck to everyone next weekend.

National Trophy Series – Bradford (C2)

Crossing the line first for the first time this season, Paul Oldham stamped his authority on the National Trophy Series with victory in round five at Peel Park in Bradford on Sunday. With none of the Belgian visitors who have ridden previous rounds choosing to come to round five, Oldham secured a maximum 50-point haul to extend his series lead to 18 points. The title battle, a two-horse race between himself and rival Jody Crawforth, now looks to have swung significantly Oldham’s way. He now know that if he finishes fifth or better at the final round in Shrewsbury on January 15, the title will be his. Oldham simply road away from the competition on a challenging course in Bradford finishing 28-seconds a head of Nick Craig and 1:26 a head of rival Jody Crawforth.

The French National Cyclocross Series – Round 3 (C2)

As if there was any doubt about his dominance in France, Francis Mourey pick up yet another win in his native land. The National Champion beat Steve Chaniel by 40 seconds. Young Matthieu Boulo came across the line in thrid, two minutes behind Mourey. This marks Mourey’s third series victory in as many rounds.

Slovak National Championships (CN)

24-year-old Robert Gavenda continues to be the best rider in Slovakia as he picked up another National Championship. Martin Haring (26 years-old) rolled across the line 45 seconds later for second a head of 39-year-old Vaclav Metlicka. Interestingly enough, the fourth through sixth place riders we all over the age of 35, proving that the old guard isn’t going away any time soon.

Japanese National Championships (CN)

The past few weeks, Yu Takenouchi and Keiichi Tsujiura have traded UCI wins in their native Japan. This weekend, Takenouchi had the better legs and as a result is the new Japanese National Champion. Kohei Yamamoto rounded out the podium, while 49-year-old Masanori Kosaka finished in fifth.

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2 Responses to International Cyclocross Weekend Wrap-Up: Nys Guys Finish First

  1. Unfortunately, the presence of "the old guard" taking four spots in the top 6 of the Slovak National Championships is rather a manifestation of a general lack of younger cyclocross riders than anything else. Road racing in Slovakia has a similar problem. Only time will tell if the positive example of the Velits brothers and Peter Sagan will help to raise interest in road cycling in the younger generations.

    As for cyclocross, I'm not very optimistic. The discipline is slowly fading into obscurity in Central Europe. In a stark contrast with the cyclocross scene overseas, even in such a classic cyclocross country as the Czech Republic, there are pretty much no young amateur/enthusiast racers and races. There is a very limited number of junior teams, whose goal is to produce elite level pros, the TOI TOI cup for the few elite riders and a Masters cup, for a few old guys who like to reminisce about the years long gone. There are virtually no amateur racers in their thirties. It's like if people fail to make it to the top level, they stop riding and pretend it never happened.

    And don't get me started about track racing..

  2. A recent anecdote to illustrate my point above: the day before the CX World Cup round in Pilsen this year, an amateur open race was held on the course. The funny thing? Participants with cyclocross bikes were prohibited to enter the race.

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