The 2012/13 cyclocross season officially kicks off this weekend with a pair of UCI C2 races in Rochester, NY at Rohrbach’s Ellison Park Cyclocross. Not only is cyclocross back, but so is PavÃ©’s cross coverage. Weâ€™ll be covering, arguably the biggest cross season in US history with our usual insight and analysis. Weâ€™re also going to unveil some new features, including a computerized ranking system and my attempt to predict the winner of every UCI race this season. So, without further ado, hereâ€™s my predictions for week one of the US cross season:
Nicolas Bazin – the defending champion has crossed the pond again this year and looks keen to start his season off with a victory. This time, heâ€™s bringing his fellow countryman Flavien Dasonville, a young racer on the rise. Whether or not he can help secure Bazinâ€™s victory remains to be seen.
Justin Lindine – all eyes will be on Lindine whose breakout 2011/12 season has made him a Â marked man. I suspect he will podium both days and if heâ€™s on form, he could put a halt to Bazinâ€™s attempt at a repeat.
Jonathan Page – the real fireworks could come from Page, who had a poor season last year and looks to rebound with a strong start in the US. I think Page will finish on the podium both days and wouldnâ€™t be surprised if he made a bid for victory, something he failed to do last year.
The absence of the usual American heavy hitters should allow riders like Jeremy Durrin, Adam St. Germain, Craig Richey and Troy Wells to score a handful of UCI points as they all look to start off their seasons on the right foot. Any of these riders could make a run at the podium, but I suspect theyâ€™ll be battling for fourth.
Dan Timmerman – Timmermans name should ring a bell for diehard cross fans. In 2009, Timmerman stormed through New England and the mid-Atlantic en route to a top-10 at Nationals. Then, before the start of the 2010 season, he retired. Last year Timmerman stayed local and was a perfect six-for-six. Is this the return of the â€œbearded wonderâ€? I for one cannot wait to find out.