Events

Groenendaal and Dunlap take Dutch slop fest

They were the kind of cyclo-cross conditions the UCI once said it washoping to get away from: pure, unadulterated slop; mud that sprayed a mist of brown muck over everyone and everything from the moment the gun wentoff; gunk that clogged up derailleurs; the kind that forced a bike changenearly every time the course wound past the pits. In other words, Sunday'sGrand Prix Holland, the final round of the UCI's World Cup, was tailor-madefor Richard Groenendaal.And while the seasoned cyclo-cross veteran thrived in the muddy conditionsin front of an enthusiastic home field crowd, American Alison

Nijs wraps up World Cup title

Dunlaps's ready for world's. Is Kupfernagel?

Dunlaps’s ready for world’s. Is Kupfernagel?

Photo: Charles Pelkey

They were the kind of cyclo-cross conditions the UCI once said it washoping to get away from: pure, unadulterated slop; mud that sprayed a mist of brown muck over everyone and everything from the moment the gun wentoff; gunk that clogged up derailleurs; the kind that forced a bike changenearly every time the course wound past the pits. In other words, Sunday’sGrand Prix Holland, the final round of the UCI’s World Cup, was tailor-madefor Richard Groenendaal.And while the seasoned cyclo-cross veteran thrived in the muddy conditionsin front of an enthusiastic home field crowd, American Alison Dunlap –the reigning world mountain-bike champion — competing in her first international cyclo-cross race in two years, easily handled a small but impressive field of competitors in the women’s event.International women’s cyclo-cross is a relatively new event, with nextweek’s world championship in Zolder being only the third ever scheduled.Both of those world titles were won by Germany’s Hanka Kupfernagel. Dunlap,who competed in the first world event two years ago, arrived in Europeon Thursday, planning to use Heerlen as a warm-up for world’s and as anopportunity to scope out the competition. Unfortunately, not all of the competition was there… Kupfernagel in particular.On Sunday morning, the world champion opted out of the women’s race,citing knee problems and choosing instead to remain in her car during therain-soaked event and photograph Dunlap and her competitors in action.While Kupfernagel pulled out, last year’s silver and bronze medalists– the Netherlands’s Corine Dorland and Daphny van den Brand — were there,so Kupfernagel was able to get some insight into the sort of competitionshe might be facing in Zolder next week. The lessons gleaned may not havebeen all that complex. Dunlap got a good start, worked her way to the frontof the 21-woman field and stayed there throughout the 30-minute event.”I really just wanted to concentrate on the course, as bad as it was,and not have to deal with negotiating my way past other riders,” Dunlapsaid after her win. The approach worked as Dunlap maintained a healthy20- to 30-second lead over the Netherlands’s Debby Mansveld, who was followed by van den Brand another half-minute back.Home field advantageBefore the start of the men’s event, world champion Erwin Verveckenscanned the course in Heerlen and predicted its outcome. “This is goodfor Groenendaal,” the tall Belgian said. “All season, I’ve worried aboutNijs and De Clerq, but this is the sort of thing that Groenendaal reallylikes. He thrives in mud.”If one can thrive in mud, then this was a perfect day and getting more perfect as the rain continued to fall.Like Dunlap, Groenendaal got off to a perfect start, charging throughthe slightly uphill opening stretch of pavement and being among the firstinto mud. The 31-year-old Dutchman maintained a consistent lead throughout,chased first by a small group of Belgians — De Clerq, world cup leaderSven Nijs and Bart Wellens among them — hoping to nip away at his advantage.But instead, the Belgians fell back one-by-one, leaving De Clerq — the two-time world champion — to chase on his own. Groenendaal visibly had the advantage, gliding through the mud as his shrinking cadre of pursuersseemed to struggle through every section.”I am happy,” Groenendaal said. “This season has been difficult, something of a disappointment. You know I have now won only one World Cup this year.”Asked whether the win gives him something of a boost going into theworld championships next week in Zolder, Groenendaal smiled. “I feel goodright now, but it’s a different course and we will be in Belgium next week.We’ll see.”Next week was also on the minds of the Americans in the field. MarcGullickson’s 17th-place finish, around 1:45 behind Groenendaal, was thebest American men’s performance of the day. Gullickson shook his head andlaughed when asked to describe course conditions on Sunday.”Uhhh … muddy,” he said, adding that in Zolder conditions will bequite different, no matter what the weather. “It’s sandy over there. We’vebeen riding the course and when its wet, the surface gets harder. Therewon’t be mud. I think it’s going to be a much faster course. The strongestguy will win, but I think we can turn in a pretty respectable performance.”
 

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Results

 UCI WORLD CUP 2001/2002, Grand Prix Holland, Heerlen, the Netherlands,
January 27, 2002.

Elite Women

1. Alison Dunlap (USA), 29:44

2. Debby Mansveld (Nl), at 0:21

3. Daphny Brand (Nl), at 0:51

4. Corine Dorland (Nl), at 1:08

5. Carmen D’Aluisio (USA), at 1:31

6. Birgit Hollman (G), at 1:42

7. Reza Horme-Ravenstijn (Nl), at 1:42

8. Anja Nobus (B), at 1:49

9. Ann Grande (USA), at 1:49

10. Christine Vardaros (USA), 1:49

11. Nicolle Leyten (Nl), at 2:02

12. Gina Hall (USA), at 2:45

 

 

Elite men

1. GROENENDAAL Richard (NL), 1:00:27

 2. DE CLERCQ Mario (B), at 0:16

 3. WELLENS Bart (B), at 0:28

 4. VANNOPPEN Tom (B), at 0:57

 5. VERVECKEN Erwin (B)

 6. NIJS Sven (B)

 7. DE VOS Wim (NL)

 8. DE KNEGT Gerben (NL)

 9. JEZEK Vaclav (Cz)

 10. POSPISIL Jiri (Cz)

 11. NIJLAND Maarten (NL)

 12. GADRET John (F)

 13. VAN DEN BERGH Camiel (NL)

 14. WABEL Beat (Swi)

 15. FRISCHKNECHT Thomas (Swi)

 16. HEULE Christian (Swi)

 17. GULLICKSON Marc (USA)

 18. KORZENIEWSKI Tadeusz (Pol)

 19. CLOCHEZ Geoffrey (F)

 20. MUDROCH Ales (Cz)

 21. RAMSAUER Jan (Swi)

 22. AUSBUHER Kamil (Cz)

 23. MULLER Mike (G)

 24. DEREPAS David (F)

 25. WASMER Christiaan (G)

 26. WELLS Todd (USA)

 27. METLICKA Vaclaf (Svk)

 28. JOHNSON Tim (USA)

 29. VERHAGEN Thijs (NL)

 30. BRAMATI Luca (I)

 31. SCHWEDLER Jens (G)

 32. CZAPLA Radoslaw (Pol)

 33. GIL Mariusz (Pol)

 34. GLAJZA Robert (Svk), all finished on winner’s lap



 35. VAN GILS Wilant (NL), at 1 lap

 36. TICHY Radec (Cz)

 37. BONNE Thomas Christian (Dk)

 38. TAVELLA Igor (I)

 39. MUTSAARS Guido (NL)

 40. CIERPIKOWSKI Pawel (Pol)

 41. RUSCH David (Swi)

 42. VANDELLI Valeriano (I)

 43. PAGE Jonathan (USA)

 44. DE KORT Koen (NL)

 45. OLSZEWSKI Daniel (G)

 46. VAN HUMMEL Kenny (NL), all at 1 lap



 47. REUKER Jens (G), at two laps

 48. DIRKX Bart (NL)

 49. BAUSCH Gusty (Lux)

 50. DIXON Phillip (GB)

 51. PETERSEN Kim (Dk)

 52. KODAIRA Yukinaga (Jpn)

 53. NIELSEN Tommy (Dk), all at two laps

 UCI WORLD CUP 2001/2002 FINAL STANDINGS

1. Sven Nijs (B), 282 points

 2. Mario De Clercq (B), 270

 3. Bart Wellens (B), 241

 4. Richard Groenendaal (Nl), 238

 5. Erwin Vervecken (B), 225

 6. Jiri Pospisil (Cz), 150

 7. Tom Vannoppen (B), 147

 8. Wim De Vos (Nl), 143

 9. Gerben Knegt (Nl), 143

 10. Maarten Nijland (Nl), 117

 11. Vaclav Jerek (Cz), 112

 12. Jan Ramsauer (Swi), 78.