First and foremost, an apologies for a lack of content this week. Iâ€™ve been in Belgium for over a week now traveling to all the races, climbing some of the most famous climbs and doing some sightseeing. I return to the states next Wednesday, where things will get back to normal. Iâ€™ve also had a laptop start to die on me. Keep following us on twitter and follow me (@erikdmitchell) for some behind the scenes stuff.
Itâ€™s another weekend without racing in the US, and thereâ€™s just three races in Europe, so these predictions should be relatively short. Today, thereâ€™s a smaller race in Bredene, near the coast in Belgium. Despite that, all the big names will be there. Tomorrow thereâ€™s the infamous Diegem round of the Superprestige series. This race is in the heart of Diegem under the lights at night. Thereâ€™s also the GP 5 Sterne Region race in Switzerland. Hereâ€™s how I think things will shake out:
Versluys Cyclocross Berdene (C2)
Sven Nys – after a horrific day in Loenhout, Nys is probably more focused on Diegem, than on Bredene. However, Nys only has one win over the past two weeks and I think another one is right up his alley, even if itâ€™s at a smaller race.
Zdenek Stybar – â€œStybyâ€ has been in the thick of things in the few races that heâ€™s done this year. I expect him to be in the mix in Bredene, but for some reason I like Nysâ€™ odds over his.
Niels Albert – after an emphatic victory in Loenhout, I expect Albert to continue to push hard this weekend. However, I donâ€™t see him winning today.
Superprestige Diegem (C1)
Niels Albert – I expect Albertâ€™s winning streak in Diegem to continue on Sunday. The World Champion has started to get over his mental block when it comes to Nys and I think he wants to prove heâ€™s still the best. Look for him to pick up his fourth straight Diegem win.
Sven Nys – â€œHoly Weekâ€ has been a bit of a struggle for Nys as heâ€™s only managed one victory. While I think heâ€™ll give it his all in Diegem, I just donâ€™t think itâ€™s his night.
Zdenek Stybar – Styby won Diegem once (2008) and sometimes skips this race. I expect him to be there on Sunday and should make things interesting. However, I expect a win to continue to elude him as Albert and Nys battle for the Superprestige overall.
GP 5 Sterne Region (C2)
With no start list available, usually I take a gamble and guess at the podium. With all the riders all over the place lately, thatâ€™s a hard risk to take. My guess is Enrico Franzoi would win, but he could easily be in Diegem, as could Simon Zahner, whoâ€™s riding very well right now. One of the Fluckiger brothers could make it interesting, but so could some Czech riders who usually travel to Switzerland. If I had to choose, Iâ€™d say Franzoi, Zahner and Lukas Fluckiger.