First and foremost, an apologies for a lack of content this week. I’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. I’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.
It’s another weekend without racing in the US, and there’s just three races in Europe, so these predictions should be relatively short. Today, there’s a smaller race in Bredene, near the coast in Belgium. Despite that, all the big names will be there. Tomorrow there’s the infamous Diegem round of the Superprestige series. This race is in the heart of Diegem under the lights at night. There’s also the GP 5 Sterne Region race in Switzerland. Here’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 it’s at a smaller race.
Zdenek Stybar – “Styby” has been in the thick of things in the few races that he’s done this year. I expect him to be in the mix in Bredene, but for some reason I like Nys’ odds over his.
Niels Albert – after an emphatic victory in Loenhout, I expect Albert to continue to push hard this weekend. However, I don’t see him winning today.
Superprestige Diegem (C1)
Niels Albert – I expect Albert’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 he’s still the best. Look for him to pick up his fourth straight Diegem win.
Sven Nys – “Holy Week” has been a bit of a struggle for Nys as he’s only managed one victory. While I think he’ll give it his all in Diegem, I just don’t think it’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, that’s a hard risk to take. My guess is Enrico Franzoi would win, but he could easily be in Diegem, as could Simon Zahner, who’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, I’d say Franzoi, Zahner and Lukas Fluckiger.