Cross Predictions – Week 15

Dan Timmerman. Photo: Todd Prepaski.

Dan Timmerman. Photo: Todd Prepaski.

As the season winds down a bit in the US, things are heating up in Europe. There’s a pair of UCI C2 races in North Carolina this weekend and four races in Europe, including a C1 race in Belgium. It promises to be an exciting weekend, especially with “Holy Week” right around the corner. Here’s how I think things will play out:

North Carolina GP – Day 1 (C2)

The Winner

Dan Timmerman – after picking up his first UCI victory of the season last weekend in New York, look for Timmerman to continue that success in Hendersonville. There were some storms earlier this week, so the ground may be soft, but it shouldn’t be the mudfest we saw last Sunday. Reguardless, I like Timmerman’s odds.

The Podium

Brian Matter – with a bevy of top-ten finishes this season, it seems like a matter of time (no pun intended) before he lands on the podium. He had success here last year and I like his odds this weekend.

Kerry Werner Jr – if you don’t know this Pennsylvania native, you should. He has seemingly come out of nowhere in the mountain bike world and when he races cross he does well. He won last weekend in New York and should do well this weekend.

North Carolina GP – Day 2 (C2)

The Winner

Brian Matter – while I like Timmerman’s odds of pulling off the double, look for Matter to make a bid for victory on Sunday. As previously mentioned, he’s been close all year. With nationals less than a month away, look for him to grab valuable UCI points to improve his starting position.

The Podium

Dan Timmerman – not much to say here, except Timmerman is riding really well right now. He should be in contention all weekend, but I’m going to say he only lands on the top step of the podium on Saturday.

Kerry Werner Jr – it pains me to have the same three guys on the podium both days, but that’s what my gut is telling me. While I will most likely be wrong, these three guys stand out in my eyes and I like their odds.

Soudal Classics – Leuven (C1)

The Winner

Sven Nys – look for Nys to make up for last weekends broekn pedal and continue his domination in Belgium. This somewhat unofficial series has been split evenly this season between Nys, Kevin Pauwels and Niels Albert. With “Holy Week” right around the corner look for Nys to come out on top and make sure everyone knows who’s boss.

The Podium

Kevin Pauwels – Pauwels has started to show signs of the form he had last season when he was nearly unstoppable. With the pressure off of him a bit (now on Albert), look for him to give Nys a run for his money. Unless Nys suffers a mechanical, Pauwels will have to settle for the podium.

Rob Peeters – I’m a big Peeters fan, even before he finished second at Worlds. He did well here last year and is starting to come into good form. He’ll battle the usual cast of characters and I think he’ll come out on top.

Cyclo-cross International Ciudad de Valencia (C2)

The Winner

Aitor Gutierrez – the winner last weekend in Igore, Gutierrez had a poor performance in Valencia last year. Look for him to continue his soild results in Spain with another victory this weekend.

The Podium

Issac Fernandez – a podium finisher last year, Fernandez in one of about a half-dozen riders who shoulsd contend for the podium this Sunday. He’s a strong rider and should be in the mix the entire race.

Javier Ibanez – despite failing to make the podium last weekend, I think Ibanez is still a rider to beat in Spain. Look for him to rebound with a podium finish in Valencia. I could even see him land on the top-step of the podium if things go his way.

National Trophy Series – Round 5 (C2)

The Winner

Paul Oldham – look for the defending National Trophy Series champion to make a bid for the overal in emphatic fashion in Shrewsbury. While a Belgian or two could show up and ruin the day, I expect Oldham to make a bid for it all. He trails Oli Beckingsale by two points right now, in a battle that will surely go down to the wire. I expect Oldham’s experience to take over as he rides to victory on Sunday.

The Podium

Oli Beckingsale – like the rest of England, I keep expecting Beckingsale to drop off at some point during this season. After all, the mountain biker has never raced a full season of cross, let alone battle for an overall title. However, he’s here to stay and like Oldham is always a podium threat. Look for him to throw down on Sunday as he aims to keep his overall lead.

Joeri Hofman – this young Belgian is slowly working his way up the ranks and could be a podium threat on Sunday. He hasn’t done much UCI racing this season, but placed ninth in the U23 race at Koppenbergcross. Look for him to land on the podium in Shrewbury.

Slovakia National Championships (CN)

The Winner

Robert Gavenda – look for Gavenda to repeat as champion this weekend in Slovokia. At 24-years-old, he’s one of the youngest riders in the field, but I think he’s one of the best.

Milan Barenyi – finishing just off the podium last year, Barenyi has had some solid results this year. I like his odds to podium on Sunday.

Vaclav Metlicka – like Barenyi, Metlicka is one of the oldest riders in the race. Despite that, I like him to repeat his podium appearance that we saw last year.

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Cross Predictions – Week 14 Wrap-Up

Kevin Pauwels runs through the mud. Photo: Balint.

Kevin Pauwels runs through the mud. Photo: Balint.

Another week of cross action is in the books. What a weekend it was. With most of the big guns out West, several riders seized the opportunity in New York City and picked up valuable UCI points. On the West Coast, the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com dominated the action as Tim Johnson made sure everyone knows that he’s still ready to throw down. In Europe, Sven Nys once again dominated the weekend while Niels Albert continued to struggle. Kevin Pauwels is starting to show signs of life again and in Japan Yu Takenouchi took home his third straight title.

As far as my predictions went, things were far better than last week. Once again, no perfect podiums, but I did really well.

US Cross

USGP Cyclocross – Deschutes Cup (C1/C2)

Day One

1. Ryan Trebon – 1st
2. Tim Johnson – 2nd
3. Zach McDonald – 5th

Points: 4

Day Two

1. Tim Johnson – 1st
2. Jamie Driscoll – 7th
3. Danny Summerhill – 13th

Points: 3

Super Cross Cup (C2/C2)

Day One

1. Dan Timmerman – 1st
2. Mike Garrigan – 2nd
3. Dan Chabanov – 10th

Points: 4

Day Two

1. Mike Garrigan – 3rd
2. Dan Timmerman – 4th
3. Anthony Clark – 5th

Points: 1

Total: 12/20 (60%)

European Cross

Asteasuko XIV Ziklo-Krossa (C2)

1. Aitor Gutierrez – 2nd
2. Javier Ibanez – 5th
3. Egoitz Rekalde – 1st

Points: 2

Soudal Scheldecross Antwerpen (C1)

1. Sven Nys – 2nd
2. Niels Albert – 3rd
3. Bart Aernouts – 5th

Points: 2

Toi Toi Cup Round 7 (C2)

1. Martin Bina – DNS
2. Michael Boros – 2nd
3. Tomas Paprstka – 1st

Points: 2

Ciclocross del Ponte (C2)

1. Enrico Franzoi – 1st
2. Marco Fontana – 5th
3. Elia Silvestri – 10th

Points: 3

Vlaamse Druivenveldrit (C1)

1. Sven Nys – 1st
2. Klaas Vantornout – 3rd
3. Kevin Pauwels – 9th

Points: 4

Challenge National 3ème Epreuve

1. Francis Mourey – 1st
2. Matthieu Boulo – 2nd
3. Guillaum Perrot – 9th

Points: 4

XXXVI Ziklo Kross Igorre

1. Egoitz Rekalde – 2nd
2. Aitor Gutierrez – 1st
3. Javier Ibanez – 6th

Points: 2

38th Frankfurter Rad-Cross (C2)

1. Christoph Pfingsten – 2nd
2. Simon Zahner – 1st
3. Ondrej Bambula – 6th

Points: 2

Japanese National Championships (CN)

1. Yu Takenouchi – 1st
2. Hikaru Kosaka – 2nd
3. Atsushi Maruyama – 4th

Points: 4

Total: 25/45 (56%)

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2013 US World’s Team – Elite Men

With less than two months before the start of the 2013 World Championships in Louisville, KY, it’s time to start thinking about who will represent the US on their home soil. Many of the riders on this list (consider it an unofficial long list) will head to Europe in a few weeks to try and maximize their UCI points and race with the best in the World.

The qualifications for making the US Worlds team are pretty specific and detailed. However, as we’ll find out, there’s currently only three riders who are guaranteed a spot on the US team. The rest will come down to UCI points and discretionary picks made by USA Cycling.

As one of the top five ranked nations, based on total UCI points, the US is allowed to select nine riders for the 2013 World Championships, with six riders allowed to race. While this could change over the coming weeks, the US should hang on to their spot, qualifying the maximum number of riders.

Note: Belgium will have at least one extra rider as the outgoing World Champion is automatically guaranteed a spot, as is the current World Cup leader.

How those nine riders are selected is largely up to the national federation, in this case it is USA Cycling (USAC).  USAC has laid out specific guidelines of how it will select its riders, but because of Jeremy Powers incredible season, he fills several of the automatic qualification criteria. This means that nearly half the team could be made up of discretionary picks by USAC.

2013 World Championship Qualification – US Elite Men

  1. A rider who finishes in the top five at a World Cup.
    • No rider has done so yet.
  2. The 2013 National Champion.
    • Not determined yet.
  3. Top three UCI ranked riders. Riders must be in the top 50 overall.
    • Jeremy Powers (12)
    • Ryan Trebon (17)
    • Tim Johnson (23)
  4. Top 15 in a World Cup
    • Jeremy Powers – already qualified
  5. Most points accumulated in US UCI C1 races:
    • Jeremy Powers – already qualified
  6. USAC Discretionary Picks
    • Rather than guess at what USAC is going to do, here’s a breakdown of the most likely candidates for the remaining six spots. This also assumes that either Powers, Johnson or Trebon win Nationals and no one finishes inside the top five of a World Cup.
    • James Driscoll – in addition to having competed in multiple World Championships, Driscoll is the only rider to win a UCI C1 race in the US that hasn’t already qualified for the team. He finished seventh in the USGP, which could also help his case. Note: the top three spots in the USGP were occupied by Powers, Trebon and Johnson, Ben Berden (Belgium) was fourth.
    • Jonathan Page – the only American to medal at an Elite World Championship, Page has spent the bulk of his season racing in Europe. Despite it being an up and down season, Page is the fourth highest ranked rider in terms of UCI points and raced well when he started his season in the US.
    • Chris Jones – fifth in the USGP, Jones is the seventh highest ranked US rider in terms of UCI points behind Powers, Trebon, Johnson, Driscoll and Zach McDonald, who will be racing the U23 race.
    • Daniel Summerhill – a former Worlds medalist, Summerhill has come on strong late in the season. He finished sixth overall at the USGP and is the ninth highest ranked American in terms of UCI points.
    • Jeremy Durrin – after spending some time racing in Europe last winter, Durrin picked up his first UCI victory of his career earlier this year. He’s the eighth ranked American in terms of UCI points and will head back to Europe to improve his odds.
    • Justin Lindine – the winner of the VERGE NECCS series, Lindine finished 15th in the USGP despite only racing half the series. He heads to Europe in a few weeks to cement what may be the final spot on the Worlds team.

As previously mentioned, there are still nearly two months until Worlds, but as we get closer, this list should become clearer and perhaps a few surprises will make a run at representing the US on home soil. One thing is clear, Powers, Trebon and Johnson are in, barring some sort of act of the cross gods. The sixth other riders who will make this team have about six weeks to make USAC, and the World, recognize them as one of America’s best.

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US Cross – Week 14 Predictions

Mike Garrigan sprints off the line. Photo: Todd Prekaski.

It’s hard to believe the US season is winding down already. This weekend the USGP wraps up in Bend, OR. Jeremy Powers will not be in attendance, leaving the door open for Ryan Trebon to take overall honors. On the East Coast, the Super Cross Cup is ready to roll in New York after being pushed back a couple weeks due to hurricane Sandy. Here’s how I think things will play out:

USGP Cyclocross – Deschutes Cup (C1/C2)

Day One

The Winner

Ryan Trebon – Trebon has been knocking on the door all season, but just hasn’t been able to pick up a USGP win. It doesn’t help that Jeremy Powers has won five out of the first six rounds of the series. Look for the Oregon resident to pick up the victory on Saturday.

The Podium

Zach McDonald – after a week of wet weather (including more rain today and snow possible for tomorrow), the course in Bend could be a sloppy one. I suspect that McDonald could do really well if things get messy.

Tim Johnson – after a slow start to the season, Johnson has started to turn on the gas lately. Johnson is on my short list for World’s and a pair of podium appearances this weekend could cement that. It would appear that he’s timed it right and is coming into form in the later half of the season.

Day Two

The Winner

Tim Johnson – it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the Tim Johnson train, but I feel like something special may be coming. I’m not going to say it’s a guarantee, but I’m putting my money on the New England native to pick up the victory.

The Podium

Jamie Driscoll – if you’re a Driscoll fan I apologize for picking him. I feel like every time I pick him he ends up off the podium, but every time I don’t he wins. With that said, I like his odds this weekend and think he’ll land on the podium on Sunday.

Danny Summerhill – as if my picks weren’t risky enough this weekend, I’m going all in with Summerhill. A World’s silver medalist, Summerhill has found his cross legs and is highly motivated coming into this weekend. Look for him to podium.

Super Cross Cup (C2/C2)

Day One

The Winner

Dan Timmerman – the “bearded wonder” returned to elite cross this season and hasn’t disappointed. There’s a bit of rain moving through the eastern seaboard, which should soften things up for Saturday. Look for Timmerman to return to the top step of the podium.

The Podium

Mike Garrigan – always a podium threat, Garrigan has been battling with a lot of these guys week after week. He raced well last weekend in New England and I think he’ll capitalize on a smaller field this weekend in NYC.

Dan Chabanov – after quietly working his way up the ranks the past few seasons, Chabanov seems destined to podium. Considering this race is in his backyard, I expect he’ll be looking to make an impact. Look for him to podium.

Day Two

The Winner

Mike Garrigan – after a podium finish on Saturday, look for Garrigan to take the top step on Sunday. I expect the battle for the podium to be a tough one both days, but I like Garrigan’s odds on Sunday.

The Podium

Dan Timmerman – like Garrigan, I think Timmerman will be on the podium both days this weekend. I also think these are the two strongest riders heading into the weekend. Look for Timmerman to podium on Sunday.

Anthony Clark – Clark has quietly been working his way through the ranks this season and is my wildcard for the weekend. He could podium both days, but I think Sunday will be his day. I’m going to give it my best shot to translate incase he reads this: it’s going to be a sikk weekennd and he’s going to shred race weekennd whwha4tt4a sikkk to sik.

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European Cross – Week 13 Preview

Francis Mourey. Photo: Balint.

There are a ton of races in Europe this weekend, so I will keep the intro short. The Soudal Classics continue in Antwerp as does the Toi Toi Cup in the Czech Republic. France’s national series wraps up on Sunday, while Italy hosts its first UCI race of the season. There are also races in Spain and Belgium on Sunday. Once again, I’ve defied the laws of geography and included Japan’s National Championships in with the European predictions. Without further delay, here you go:

Soudal Scheldecross Antwerpen (C1)

The Winner

Sven Nys – look for Nys to pick up his fourth victory in Antwerp and his second straight on the sandy, technical course. Nys won the first edition in 2005, again in 2009 and last year. All of the top cross riders will be there, but I can’t see anyone stopping Nys.

The Podium

Niels Albert – Albert does well in the sand and should be in contention on Saturday. Unfortunately, Albert seems like a broken man, especially when it comes to Nys. While a second victory in Antwerp isn’t out of the question, I just don’t see it happening.

Bart Aernouts – Aernouts has raced well in Antwerp in the past. I’ve got a good feeling about him for Saturday, so I’m sticking with him to round out the podium. With Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout riding well right now, it should be a tough battle on Saturday.

Toi Toi Cup Round #7 (C2)

The Winner

Martin Bina – an unstoppable force in the Czech Republic, look for Bina to make it six straight. With only two rounds left, the overall is nearly his, but he needs to keep the pressure on. The last round is the National Championships and it’s worth double points.

The Podium

Michael Boros – Boros is in the thick of the battle for second overall. At times I feel like he’s the only one who can stop Bina. While I don’t think it will happen this weekend, I do expect him to podium.

Tomas Paprstka – a consistent podium threat, look for Paprstka to repeat his podium finish in Louny from last year.

Ciclocross del Ponte (C2)

The Winner

Enrico Franzoi – with absolutely zero ability to read Italian and no start list, I’m going blindfolded into this one. Not only did Franzoi win here last year, but he’s having a great season this year. Look for him to repeat on Saturday.

The Podium

Marco Fontana – a lesser known name, Fontana is a solid rider who doesn’t venture much out of his native land. Last year he took Franzoi to the line and narrowly lost out in a spectacular sprint. I expect much of the same this time around.

Elia Silvestri – although there’s a possibility of some foreign riders showing up, look for Silvestri to complete the Italian sweep. He struggled a bit in last year’s race, but I still think he’s a podium contender.

Vlaamse Druivenveldrit (C1)

The Winner

Sven Nys – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until Nys proves me wrong, I’m sticking with the Belgian National Champion. He won here last year after getting away from Bart Aernouts late in the race. I expect Nys to make his move with two laps to go and head to finish line solo.

The Podium

Klaas Vantornout – after a mechanical essentially knocked him out of Roubaix, Vantornout will be looking to rebound with a solid weekend in Belgium. I expect him to either set the pace or try to get away early and make Nys work to catch him. I still think Nys is better, which is why I have Vanornout on the podium.

Kevin Pauwels – after a good ride in Roubaix, I’m going to give Pauwels the nod this Sunday in Overijse. He finished fifth here last year, but with Niels Albert struggling and Tom Meeusen’s up and down season, I think he’ll capitalize on the opportunity and grab a spot on the podium.

Challenge National 3ème Epreuve (C2)

The Winner

Francis Mourey – after taking the first two rounds of the series, look for Mourey to complete the sweep this weekend in Pontchateau. After a stellar ride in Koksijde, Mourey cooled off a bit in Roubaix. He’s staying in France for the rest of the year and would love to pick up another victory in his native land.

The Podium

Matthieu Boulo – Boulo is a young Frenchman on the rise. Last year he quickly became a podium threat and has continued that trend this season. My gut say to go with him on Sunday, so I will.

Guillaum Perrot – Perrot is an Elite rider who has had a great season thus far. I’m assuming he’ll get a pro contract next season and may even become a true contender to the dominant Mourey. He’s tied for second overall with Gadret and his podium finish will cement that position.

XXXVI Ziklo Kross Igorre (C2)

The Winner

Egoitz Rekalde – the winner on Thursday’s race in Asteasu, look for him to repeat on Saturday in Igorre.

The Podium

Aitor Gutierrez – always a podium threat, Gutierrez hasn’t raced much this season, but has done well when he does.

Javier Ibanez – one of the older riders racing in Spain, this 36-year-old should ride well on Saturday. I expect him to podium.

38th Frankfurter Rad-Cross (C2)

The Winner

Christoph Pfingsten – look for last years winner, and current German National Champion to repeat in Frankfurt on Saturday. Pfingsten has had some solid results this season, including some top ten finishes at some big races. The international competition and large field (100+ riders) should make things interesting, but I think he’ll come out on top.

The Podium

Simon Zahner – Zahner is another rider who has had a quiet, but good season. Last year he finished fifth in Frankfurt, but this time around look for him to land on the podium.

Ondrej Bambula – Bambula is one of nearly two dozen international riders who will be racing on Sunday in Frankfurt. He’s had some great results this season and I have a feeling he’ll be in it until the end. With that said, there’s about a half-dozen riders who could easily make a bid for the podium.

Japanese National Championships (CN)

The Winner

Yu Takenouchi – at this point, Takenouchi seems unstoppable. Look for him to retain his title on Sunday and continue to be Japan’s best cross rider.

Hikaru Kosaka – although he hasn’t found the podium yet, Kosaka seems to be knocking on the door. I expect him to surprise some people and land on the podium.

Atsushi Maruyama – another consistent podium threat, look for this 35-year-old to land on the podium on Sunday.

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2012 US Cross Camp Preview – Juniors

Euro Cross Camp Alum Cody Kaiser. Photo: Euro Cross Camp.

Imagine being 16 or 17 year-old cross racer and being invited to race in Belgium over your Christmas vacation. It’s an opportunity almost any cyclist would cherish and for nine juniors, that exactly what they’ll be doing this winter. It is often said that the juniors are the future of the sport. If that’s the case, then the future of US cross looks bright indeed. Here’s a closer look at the junior riders who will be attending camp this year:

Logan Owen – Owen returns to camp for his second straight year and among other things, is the US best hope at a medal at worlds. The Washington native doesn’t seemed to be bothered by the attention and has had a stellar season thus far. He’s won both rounds of the USGP he’s competed in (the Derby City Cup) and is fourth in the world in UCI points, with three top five finishes at the first three rounds of the World Cup.

Curtis White – another returning camper, White is one of the top juniors in the country. He placed tenth in Koksijde and finished second to Owen at both rounds of the Derby City Cup. He also won both UCI junior races in Cincinnati. Points in Europe are critical for White as he currently sits eighth in UCI points, which means he’s the last rider to get a front row start.

Nate Morse – in the three UCI races he’s done this season Morse has finished in the top five, including two podium appearances. Morse has competed in nearly two dozen races this year, finishing inside the top ten in almost all of them, including some elite races. Like White and Owen, Morse returns to camp eager to grab UCI points and race with Europe’s best.

Stephen Bassett – a Kentucky native, Basset would love to race in his home state in February. Bassett didn’t make the world’s team after camp last season, but has a shot this year. He has three top five UCI finishes and hasn’t finished outside the top ten at all this season.

Nick Torraca – when you think of cross, the state of Texas rarely comes to mind, but Torraca is looking to change that. He raced two rounds of the USGP and came home with a pair of top ten finishes. Torraca has half-a-dozen top ten finishes this year including a few podium appearances, virtually all of which came in elite races.

John Francisco – a Louisville native, Francisco would love to race in his hometown in February. He returns to camp for a second year and looks to build on the great season he’s had in the US this year. Francisco hasn’t finished outside the top ten in a junior races this year and had fared well in elite races. A solid trip to Belgium could take him to the next level and possibly make the world’s team.

Peter Goguen – Goguen has spent the season racing on the highly competitive New England circuit where he has taken overall honors in the Verge NECCS series. He has a handful of UCI points thanks to good results in Cincinnati and looks poised to make his first trip to Belgium count.

David Lombardo – Lombardo currently sits third in the USGP series and grabbed a UCI point with a fifth place at Harbin Park. In fact, this young Illinois native has only had one non top ten finish this season, most of which were in elite races.

Josey Weik – this young Minnesota native has spent most of the season racing highly competitive category two fields or UCI junior races. He’s regularly in the top ten in these races and has a few results in the elite ranks. This experience should be invaluable to Weik and should help him get to the next level.

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