With no SuperCup races west of Chicago this year, a UCI race in Boulder, Colorado, on Saturday was the next best thing, and Mongoose’s Marc Gullickson and Kona-Voicestream’s Gina Hall came away with the big wins.
The men’s race came down to the wire, as Gullickson had his hands full with another local favorite, Travis Brown (Trek-VW). Gullickson had just returned home to Boulder after three weeks on the East Coast for a SuperCup and some UCI races, while Brown had only done a handful of local races this fall. But when the dust cleared after the first half of the race, it was Brown hanging
The top North American cyclo-cross racers were in Amherst, Massachusetts on Saturday for Round 3 of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series in search of UCI points, which will be used for U.S. world’s team selection.
In the men’s elite race, an early attack saw Mark McCormack and Tim Johnson of Saturn joined by Marc Gullickson (Mongoose-Hyundai) break clear of the field on the University of Massachusetts at Amherst campus. For those in attendance last year,it was a familiar sight watching Gullickson take on the two Saturn riders.
However, things didn’t go according to plan
The U.S. cyclo-cross scene continues to heat up, as an important month of racing on the East Coast continued over the weekend, with the Monkey Hill Cyclo-Cross race in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sunday. After the departure of world champion Erwin Vervecken, who dominated last weekend’s SuperCup-ECV doubleheader, the men’s race was wide open at Monkey Hill, with a national-level field assembled for the UCI race. Meanwhile, in the women’s race, Saturn’s Lyne Bessette remained undefeated in her first season of cyclo-cross.
With the downsizing of the SuperCup series, other UCI-sanctioned domestic
The European Superprestige cyclo-cross series opened in Ruddervoorde, Belgium, on Sunday, with former world under-23 champion Bart Wellens taking the first series lead. Wellens scored a solo win in Ruddervoorde, 59 seconds ahead of runner-up Sven Nijs.
World champion Erwin Vervecken, back from his trip to the U.S., was third, another 11 seconds back, while defending Superprestige champion Richard Groenendaal was fourth. The second round of the Superprestige series will take place November 4, in St. Michielsgestel, the Netherlands.
Erwin Vervecken and Lyne Bessette each made it 2-for-2 for the weekend by winning the second stop of the ECV Cyclo-Cross series on Sunday at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, Massachusetts. A day earlier, the pair took victory in the opening round of the SuperCup series held on a slightly different track at the same seaside park in the famous New England fishing town.
One has nearly a lifetime’s worth of experience. The other was riding in the second cyclo-cross race her career. Still, the results were the same, as reigning world champion Erwin Vervecken and ‘cross newby Lyne Bessette walked away with wins at the opening round of the SuperCup series on a foggy Saturday afternoon in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Belgian Bart Wellens (Spaar-Select) won the eighth and final round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series in Harnes, France, on Sunday.
Wellens outsprinted Dutchman Richard Groenendaal, who had already wrapped up the overall title after round 7 in Diegem, Belgium. 30 seconds later came Belgian Sven Nijs, followed by world champion Erwin Vervecken.
With his win, Wellens finished second in the overall standings, one of eight Belgians in the top 10.
Cyclo-cross, an admittedly small niche in a relatively small sport, has a passionate fan base, especially in Europe.
The world championships this weekend in Tabor in the Czech Republic have attracted fans from across the continent. Busloads of Belgians, trainloads of Dutch and long car caravans of Swiss have descended on this Czech city.
And with them, they bring all the markings of true fans, hoping to make their affiliations quite clear. Flags are everywhere, but hats and the occassional spike-spined orange jumpsuit can do a lot to clarify who it is you're cheering for.
"It’s Kansas … only with hills."
On close inspection, Dale Knapp’s description of the world cyclo-cross championship course in Tábor in the Czech Republic is fairly accurate: The world’s course, huddled beneath a collection of Soviet-era concrete apartment blocks, is quite reminiscent of the U.S. national championship loop in Overland Park, Kansas. And, if weather predictions hold true, there may be a few more reminders of that weekend back in December.
Knapp and the rest of the U.S. contingent are based at Tábor’s Goldbrick Hotel, just a mile from the course and, for the most part, the
National cyclo-cross championships were held throughout Europe on Sunday, and with the world championships just three weeks away, national teams for the world’s in Tabor, Czech Republic, began to take shape as well.
In the Netherlands, Superprestige series winner and World Cup leader Richard Groenendaal easily won the Dutch championship as he prepares for the defense of his world title. In Belgium, two-time world champion Mario De Clercq took his first Belgian title, while the favorite, Sven Nijs crashed twice and could manage only a sixth place finish. Other winners on Sunday included