As countries begin announcing their rosters for the 2016 UCI World Road Championships in Doha Qatar, we’ll be keeping an updated list of the riders here. The women’s race is October 15, and the men will race October 16.Australia
Luke Durbridge (Road race and TT)
Rohan Dennis (TT only)
Katrin Garfoot (Road race and TT)
Greg Van Avermaet
Victor Campanaerts (TT only)
Yves Lampaert (TT only)
Sofie de Vuyst
Kaat van der Meulen
Ann-Sophie Duyck (TT only)
Diana Carolina Peñuela Martínez
Johan Le Bon (TT only)
Jérémy Roy (TT only)
Audrey Cordon Ragot (Road race and TT)
Hannah Barnes (Road race and TT)
Abby Mae Parkinson
Hayley Simmonds (TT only)
Adam de Vos DE VOS
Hugo Houle (Road race and TT)
Ryan Roth (Road race and TT)
Karol-Ann Canuel (Road race and TT)
Koen de Kort
Tom Dumoulin (Road race and TT)
Jos van Emden (Road race and TT)
Dylan van Baarle
Danny van Poppel
Anna van der Breggen (Road race and TT)
Ellen van Dijk (Road race and TT)
Annemiek van Vleuten (Road race and TT)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Road race and TT)
Sven Erik Bystrøm
Sondre Holst Enger
Truls Engen Korsæth
Vegard Stake Laengen (Road race and TT)
Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen
Reto Hollenstein (Road race and TT)
Stefan Küng (Road race and TT)
Nicole Hanselmann (Road race and TT)
Taylor Phinney (Road race and TT)
Alexey Vermeulen (TT only)
Amber Neben (Road race and TT)
Carmen Small (Road race and TT)
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Dave Brailsford stood by Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) system in his first press appearance since the Fancy Bears hacking group released medical documents from two of his star riders.
While stating unequivocally that Wiggins’s TUEs were legitimate, Brailsford also said that all future Team Sky TUEs may be made public.
“What I can tell everybody is that we’re doing it the right way. It is a 100% clean operation,” Brailsford said to Sky News. “We always look at the right thing to do, and have policies and processes to make sure we perform in the right way and people can believe in us.”
Brailsford, who remained completely silent on the subject until his Sky News interview, pointed to the system of checks in place to prevent abuse and suggested that the process had to be trusted. He also deflected some responsibility for the TUEs away from himself and his organization and onto the UCI.
“I didn’t have the right to approve any TUE,” he said. “I think what we’ve got to remember is that the only people who can approve a TUE are the doping authorities.”
Brailsford explained that in Wiggins’s case, as in all TUE cases at Sky, the concern began with the rider. Team doctor Richard Freeman was called in, and then an ENT specialist, Simon Hargreaves, who recommended the injectable triamcinolone. The TUE was then placed before the UCI’s doctor, Mario Zorzoli, who approved the treatment.
“If it’s a suspicious pattern of TUEs, I’d go back to the TUE authority. ‘Why did you grant it?’” he said. “You have to have trust and integrity in your people. If you are suggesting I should have suspicions or go back and look at the intent of what’s going on, I have to have trust and integrity in the process and in the UCI who grant it.”
Wiggins spoke out on the BBC over the weekend, explaining that he has been a life-long sufferer of asthma, and the medication was recommended by a Hargreaves.
“You have to show and provide evidence from a specialist that they will then scrutinise with three independent doctors and authorize you to take this product. If one of those three doctors says no, you get declined,” Wiggins said.
Any notion of systematic abuse of the TUE system by Team Sky was soundly rejected by Brailsford.
“We have won many, many races, big races without TUEs. So this whole notion of needing a TUE to perform, or some systematic abuse of the system, is unfounded,” Brailsford said. “And if you want to do something as challenging as what we’re trying to do, with the past this sport has, there are going to be challenges along the way. Times like now are when you have to keep fighting. To make sure our riders are more transparent and our processes are more robust. Because it’s more important than ever.”
Wiggins and Team Sky have been under fire since the Fancy Bears group released three Wiggins TUEs for triamcinolone, a powerful corticosteroid that can be used to treat asthma and other respiratory ailments but also has well-documented performance enhancement benefits, including weight loss. The three TUEs were approved right before the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France and 2013 Giro d’Italia. Wiggins won the 2012 Tour.
Chris Froome had two TUE documents made public as well, but both TUEs were previously known. Wiggins has been the focus of debate due to the timing of his TUE applications — just before major races — and the strength of the drug with which he was injected.
Former riders, including Michael Rasmussen and Jorg Jaksche, both of whom ran afoul of doping rules during their career, have stated that triamcinolone was frequently abused within the pro peloton in the past. Lance Armstrong received a backdated TUE for the drug in the 1999 Tour de France.
Wiggins broke no rules. He received the TUEs through the UCI’s normal system. Both of his TUEs were approved by the UCI’s former medical coordinator Mario Zorzoli. The TUEs have nonetheless resulted in a crisis of confidence in Great Britain’s first Tour de France winner, and the team behind him.
To further increase this transparency, Brailsford indicated that he would open to making all this team’s future TUEs public.
“We’ve reviewed this over the years and we’ve changed our policy, we’ve changed the way we do it and going forward I think we are going to take the next step which is being debated on a wider basis to look at, with the consent of the riders, making all TUEs transparent,” he said.
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You think about sports and Iowa and, after Hawkeye football, it’s hard not to think about “Field of Dreams” and its mystical baseball field out in the corn. You wonder if maybe Dr. John Meehan, who started Jingle Cross about a decade ago, heard that same enigmatic whisper — “If you build it, he will come” — when he decided to build a world-class cyclocross course out in the cornfields south of Iowa City.
Maybe not, but somehow he and his race captured some of that same magic. Because Jingle Cross, second stop in the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup, really was magical. According to the race organization, perhaps as many as 10,000 people came, and they poured out sound and support and won a lot of hearts in the process.
Two things to know about Jingle Cross: First, it moved from a long-held place in the winter ‘cross calendar to September to accommodate the World Cup, but still offered cyclocross fans a taste of Christmas on a scorching hot day. Second, the race has always been about kids, from the everybody-wins kids races early in the day to the money it raises for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Many young fans sported a look commonly seen in the fields of Flanders in Belgium, but perhaps not so often in the fields of the American midwest.
The course was a sprawling, labyrinthine tangle that snaked around the barns of the Johnson County Fairgrounds before climbing the steep slopes of “Mount Krumpit” and plunging back down a descent that might as well have been the steep and technical Koppenberg. After heavy rains on Thursday night, the course was a muddy mess, despite temperatures close to 90 degrees on Saturday.
In the rider parking area, it was like any other World Cup. Generators and power washers hummed, riders of the Telenet – Fidea Lions sorted tire choices, and American Courtenay McFadden got some help pinning up one last number ahead of the women’s race.
The early lead in the women’s race went to Dutchwoman and World Cup leader Sophie de Boer, who got special dispensation to race in her trade kit instead of the series leader’s jersey thanks to the fact that UCI only had clothing suited to colder temperatures. De Boer could not sustain her early tempo and eventually faded to seventh place.
“I never raced in this heat, even in the summer. It was really warm,” she said later. “My heart rate was stuck at 80 percent, and I couldn’t go harder. I don’t know. I only was thinking, ‘I want to stop’ because it was so hot. The running parts there was no wind, it was insane. It was so warm. I don’t know how the other girls in the front can handle this.”
As the early leaders faded, the race became a battle between U.S.-based riders: Czech Katerina Nash, American champion Katie Compton, French champion Caroline Mani, and others, with Kaitlin Antonneau chasing into the group from behind.
Compton blew the race open with a series of attacks near midpoint of the 37-minute race. Only Nash could stay with her, and the two appeared to be headed for a classic duel before Nash suffered a mechanical.
The short running time sparked some minor controversy, and UCI officials acknowledged an error, saying they expected the race to slow as riders tired, but instead it sped up as the course continued to dry out. Few of the women in the race complained about the length though.
“It was hard. I definitely struggled,” said Compton. “I’m kind of glad they ran us a little short. Initially I came through with one lap to go and thought, ‘We’re running short!’ But then halfway through the lap, I decided it was OK. It’s just so hot, and when you’re not drinking — we’re all out there suffering the same, but I struggle a little bit towards the end of races that are warm.”
For Belgian and European champion Sanne Cant, it was a second ugly day after a ninth-place finish in Vegas on Wednesday. Cant is a back-to-back World Cup series winner but appeared to struggle in the heat and finished 13th. She is now in 10th place and more than 60 points off the series lead.
For Compton, meanwhile, the tables were turned. After a frustrating 2015–16 season, a World Cup victory looked like an enormous relief. If she was suffering in the final meters, she didn’t show it.
Meanwhile, others clearly had suffered. Antonneau, who finished third behind Compton and Mani, collapsed on the ground in a tiny patch of shade just across the finish line. De Boer, meanwhile, sought cool in a bottle of water.
“My first lap wasn’t as good as some of the other people,” said Antonneau. “I think I was out of the top 10, 13th or something. But then towards the end of the last lap, I got into my rhythm and got going. These are the type of courses I excel at and like to do, so I’m happy to be able to finish on the podium here in the U.S. in front of my friends and family.”
American Ellen Noble, who leads the World Cup’s under-23 category, earned a stunning fifth-place result, well ahead of a host of more experienced and accomplished women. If there had been any doubt about the present — or future — of American women’s cyclocross before this weekend, the first-, third-, and fifth-place finishes, won by a long-established veteran, a rising star coming into her own, and a comparative newcomer, respectively, dispelled them.
Meanwhile, fans went crazy for an all-Colorado Springs podium. Compton, Mani, and Antonneau live within a few miles of each other at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
“It just cool,” said Antonneau. “Everyone was yelling and you could hear everyone saying your name, and it was so fun to be up there with Caroline and Katie. We all live in Colorado Springs, and they’re my friends. It was cool.”
By the time the men blasted off the line about 30 minutes later, the sun may have been a little less intense, but the race was still swamped by the heavy, mostly windless weather. It was still hot, and the hazy early evening sunshine dappled the fields almost gauzily. The calendar may have said autumn, but the air said early August.
Fans had thronged the hillside of Mount Krumpit, while others crowded into the barns of the fairground at its foot. A wave of sound followed the riders as they plunged down its slopes. It was classic American cyclocross. They don’t cheer like that in Belgium.
The climb took a toll on riders like Marcel Meisen, who grabbed his bike and pushed, propelled by an enthusiastic crowd that mobbed the sides of the course. The descent might have offered a bit of relief from the heat, but the nasty off-camber turns demanded perfect concentration from riders like Thijs van Amerongen.
Belgian Michael Vanthourenhout, who days ago looked like he might be headed for the win in Las Vegas before Wout Van Aert overhauled him in a dramatic final charge to the finish line, gave it another go. Vanthourenhout led, significantly, at mid-race. But the attack came too early; this was a race to be won with the slow burn.
It was a long, lonely day for American national champion Jeremy Powers. Powers, normally all but unbeatable in domestic races, has struggled since a hard fall in Wisconsin the weekend prior. In spite of overwhelming support from a partisan home crowd, Powers could only manage 43rd place, two laps down.
Meanwhile, Laurens Sweeck, third in Vegas, was next to take a shot. But by the time he reached the front of the race though, Van Aert, who had been hampered early in the race by a jammed derailleur and was racing with a broken toe, was moving forward as well.
“In the beginning I had a piece of wood in my derailleur, so it was a small problem, but I knew 20 seconds on this course is not the same as 20 seconds on a fast course,” said Van Aert later. “So there was no panic at that moment. Today I just focused on my own race and not what the others were doing. I tried to get back in my own rhythm, and it worked out.”
Americans like Anthony Clark wrestled with a course more difficult than anything they typically encounter outside Europe. It was full of viciously off-camber turns, deep ruts, and rapid transitions between surfaces. It was enough to keep even the best riders off balance. Still, the unforgiving course was offset by the enthusiasm of the fans of all ages who poured into Iowa from around the country for the race. Screaming, ringing cowbells, they all but propelled riders around the track.
And it was spectacular. The course offered dramatic views and generous sight lines, and was packed with features that gave it its own offbeat character. Like Belgian classics such as nighttime urban assault-style Diegem race or Zonhoven’s otherworldly moors and epic sand pit, Jingle Cross carved out its own identity with barns and corrals and barbecue smoke.
By the final laps, it was clear Wout Van Aert had control of the race, easily distancing Laurens Sweeck and Kevin Pauwels, who himself overtook Sweeck late in the race. Racing with a broken toe — and a only couple of acetaminophen and ibuprofen pills to dull the discomfort — did little to slow the world champion down.
“There was pain, of course,” said Van Aert. “More in the beginning because, when we got in the field on the first running sections I felt it. But when the legs were suffering more in the second part of the race I forgot the pain. Only on the barriers I had some pain. So it was not the biggest suffering of the day.”
It was all a gift to American cyclocross fans: seeing so many national champions so close up, enjoying a hard-fought race on a late, lingering summer afternoon.
It was a gift to the riders as well. Sweeck, on the line, applauded the fans, pointing to them, thanking them for the support. It was something totally unique, he said later.
“The people here are really — they are also [cheering] for the second or the third or the 10th guy. It is different than in Belgium,” he said.
In the end there were high fives for fans, handshakes for teammates and rivals, and more bottles of cold water.
“It was amazing! It’s incredible!” said Stephen Hyde later, top American in 10th place. “I had never — the only time I’ve ever heard anything like this was, not to compare myself to him, Sven in Europe. Sven goes through and everybody erupts. It’s the first time in my life it’s ever happened. It’s unreal. I couldn’t have imagined it. It gave me so much motivation.
“I think every single person cheered for me. It gave me an extra set of legs. It was unreal. I loved it.”
He wasn’t alone, there was plenty of love to go around. People came, lining the slopes of Mount Krumpit, which loomed over the cornfields of eastern Iowa like the Koppenberg looms, grassy and green, over the Flemish Ardennes.
Most of the time, hills like the Koppenberg are silent, lazy with the grazing cows and puffy summer clouds, sleepy and softened in the autumn rain. But you go there and you feel it: History has been written there, magic has happened there, and happened more than once.
So too with the ball field out in the corn. The movie magic that brought Shoeless Joe back to life became something deep and abiding.
Mount Krumpit has it too, for cyclocrossers, anyway. Long after the crowds depart and the muddy scars become faint tire tracks in the tall grass, cyclists go out to the Johnson County Fairgrounds and just feel it: Something special happened here.
MILAN (VN) — Italian Vincenzo Nibali will return to racing Tuesday after fracturing his collarbone in the Olympics, but he will not try to defend his 2015 Il Lombardia win this weekend.
The 31-year-old will race the Tre Valli Varesine with the No. 1 on this back as last year’s winner. It will be the Astana rider’s first race after crashing on August 6 while on a gold-medal attack in the Rio de Janeiro road race with Colombian Sergio Henao.
“Certainly, he won’t be in the same condition that he was in last year, but he’s a champion and will honor the race,” Astana sport director Stefano Zanini told local website Prealpina.More Vincenzo Nibali news
Nibali sat out nine weeks, but he will be one of the favorites to win. That list also includes Adam Yates (Orica – BikeExchange) and Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale – Drapac). Esteban Chaves (Orica), winner of the Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday and third overall in the Vuelta a España, will skip Tre Valli and aim for Il Lombardia.
“These end-of-season races like Milano-Torino and Lombardia suit me,” Chaves said. “I’m dreaming of winning Lombardia.”
Nibali’s dream run in the end-of-season classics turned around in 2015. After fourth in the Tour de France and a Vuelta a España disqualification, he won the Coppa Bernocchi, Tre Valli, and Lombardia. In Il Lombardia, formally called the Giro di Lombardia, he attacked on the second-to-last climb 17.3 kilometers out and soloed to victory lakeside in Como.
Organizer RCS Sport could not have asked for a better finish to its race, the final of five monuments in the cycling season. It had Italy’s biggest star winning alone next to the scenic Lake Como in the national tricolor champion’s jersey. It will have to look for another successful mix this year when the race finishes in Bergamo after 4,000 meters of climbing.
Nibali is looking for a soft landing to end his 2016 season. He already gave Astana its parting victory in May when he scored his second Giro d’Italia title, and later tried his best for his country in Rio. Now, it is time for him to look ahead to 2017.
The Tre Valli Varesine, the Tour of Almaty on October 2 in his team’s home of Kazakhstan, and the Abu Dhabi Tour — also run by RCS Sport — will end the 2016 season for Nibali. The winter will be a busy one because after four years in Astana’s blue, he will join new team Bahrain – Merida.
Nibali is the team’s star and had a hand in selecting its staff, such as coach Paolo Slongo. Since the Middle East team is new, he must give more of his time to details like new bikes from Merida and new kits from Sportful. The team is also fighting to ensure it has a spot in the UCI WorldTour for 2017.
“The license situation good,” general manager Brent Copeland said last week. “All the registration process is moving forward as we planned.”
Copeland already planned the team’s first training camp. It will not be on the small, 297 square-mile island in the Persian Gulf, but in Croatia. Sport director Vladimir Miholjevic knows the country well, since he organized the national tours.
The team counts 17 riders already. According to some rumors, it may sign Spaniards Ion Izaguirre (from Movistar) and Igor Antón (Dimension Data). They could help Nibali in what could potentially become one of his biggest seasons yet. It will kick off when he debuts in the team’s red kit in Argentina’s Tour de San Luis on January 17.
LONDON (AFP) – One of Bradley Wiggins’ major rivals said on Sunday that the TUE controversy surrounding the British cycling great “stinks.”
Wiggins has been in the spotlight since leaked medical data showed the multiple Olympic champion had been granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) by cycling authorities for the corticosteroid triamcinolone, which he was permitted to take just days before the 2012 Tour de France — which he won — as well as the 2011 Tour and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Wiggins said he needed the drug to help control his asthma.
But Olympic silver medalist Tom Dumoulin (Giant – Alpecin), quoted in De Limburger on Sunday, said it was “strange” that Wiggins had received the injections immediately before three Grand Tours.
“And injecting?” said the Dutchman, who finished on the podium in the 2014 world championship time trial that Wiggins won. “So then you have very bad asthma.
“It’s not something they do with normal asthmatics, let alone athletes who only have exercise-induced asthma. Apparently Wiggins’ injection worked for weeks — so in my opinion you should be out of competition for weeks. It stinks.”
Wiggins denied trying to gain an “unfair advantage” in a pre-recorded interview with BBC television broadcast Sunday.
“I’ve been a life-long sufferer of asthma and I went to my team doctor at the time and we went, in turn, to a specialist to see if there’s anything else we could do to cure these problems,” Wiggins said.
“And he said, ‘yeah, there’s something you can do but you’re going to need authorization from cycling’s governing body.’
“You have to show and provide evidence from a specialist that they will then scrutinize with three independent doctors and authorize you to take this product. If one of those three doctors says no, you get declined.
“This was to cure a medical condition. This wasn’t about trying to find a way to gain an unfair advantage. This was about putting myself back on a level playing field in order to compete at the highest level,” the five-time Olympic champion said.
A cyber espionage group called “Fancy Bears,” which is believed to be Russian, has been leaking medical data about famous athletes after hacking records held by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
American tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, American gymnast Simone Biles, and cyclist Chris Froome have also been the subject of leaks.
The targeted athletes have been revealed to have received TUEs for the use of substances that would usually contravene anti-doping rules.
TUEs can be issued to athletes who have an illness or condition that requires the use of normally prohibited medication. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by any of the athletes.
MILAN (VN) — Bradley Wiggins says that his therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for corticosteroids prior to his 2012 Tour de France victory, and in 2011 and 2013 as well, were to cure a medical condition and not to cheat.
Wiggins was part of several data dumps by Russian hacker group Fancy Bears over the last two weeks. The group also released data for tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, basketball player Elena Delle Donne, and gymnast Simone Biles. The cyclists targeted included Chris Froome (Sky), Fabian Cancellara (Trek – Segafredo), Jack Bobridge (Trek – Segafredo), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), and Steve Cummings (Dimension Data).
The UCI approved Wiggins to inject triamcinolone, a corticosteroid, prior to the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Tour, and the 2013 Giro d’Italia. Some confessed dopers say that it is a strong drug just like EPO and David Millar added that he “can’t fathom” why a doctor would prescribe it prior to a race.
“It was prescribed for allergies and respiratory problems,” Wiggins told BBC1 in an interview that will be aired Sunday. “I’ve been a lifelong sufferer of asthma and I went to my team doctor at the time and we went in turn to a specialist to see if there’s anything else we could do to cure these problems. And he in turn said: ‘Yeah, there’s something you can do but you’re going to need authorization from cycling’s governing body [the UCI].'”
Wiggins won eight Olympic gold medals in his career, including the team pursuit at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August. The 36-year-old, who will retire at the end of this year, explained that he had to be checked by three independent doctors before receiving the TUE.
“This was to cure a medical condition,” he explained. “This wasn’t about trying to find a way to gain an unfair advantage, this was about putting myself back on a level playing field in order to compete at the highest level.”
British super team Sky began in 2010 and adopted a zero-tolerance rule to doping. It fired coach Bobby Julich and others after it found out that they had doped in their careers. Its no-needles policy came into question when the TUEs were released 10 days ago.
Wiggins had permission to inject 40mg of the corticosteroid each time. In his book My Time he wrote that he had “never” used needles other than for vaccinations or when requiring a drip.
Referring to his book, he added, “I wasn’t writing the book, I was writing it with a cycling journalist who’s very knowledgeable on the sport and had lived through the whole era of the Lance Armstrong era and the doping era.
Wiggins said that he thought needles questions referred to doping. “All the questions at that time were very much loaded towards doping.”
Besides Millar, others have raised concern. “You do have to think it is kind of coincidental that a big dose of intramuscular long-acting corticosteroids would be needed at that exact time before the most important race of the season,” Prentice Steffen, doctor in team Garmin when Wiggins placed fourth in the 2009 Tour, told Newsnight. “I would say certainly now in retrospect it doesn’t look good, it doesn’t look right from a health or sporting perspective.”
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Etixx – Quick-Step’s Niki Terpstra snatched the overall title at the Eneco Tour after he and two other escapees left the field behind deep in spring classics territory, with overnight leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) crashing out of the event on rain-slicked Belgian roads.
Terpstra, Dimension Data’s Edvald Boasson Hagen, and IAM Cycling’s Oliver Naesen held off a high-octane chase in a challenging finale that included several familiar climbs from the Tour of Flanders, and Boasson Hagen proved by far the fastest of the three in the battle for stage victory.
With the rest of pack only just beginning to arrive in small groups 41 seconds after Terpstra hit the line — and Dennis out of the picture — the Dutch former Paris-Roubaix winner emerged as the overall race victor.Top 10, stage 7
The 197.8-kilometer stage from Bornem to Geraardsbergen kicked off under cloudy skies with an hour and a half of high-speed racing before nine riders escaped the peloton to form the day’s main breakaway, with two-time defending overall Eneco Tour champ Tim Wellens (Lotto – Soudal) in among the group. The breakers worked up an advantage of nearly three minutes but the gap fell quickly when a succession of attacks both up front and in the pack blew the race apart just inside the final 50km.
As cloudy skies turned to heavy rain, Terpstra, Boasson Hagen, and Naesen found themselves in a new lead group of nine with Terpstra’s Etixx teammate Bob Jungels setting the tempo. Dennis, Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan, and several other top contenders caught behind.
A touch of wheels then saw race leader Dennis hit the deck, and despite his best efforts to rejoin the chase, the Australian was unable to make up the lost ground, ultimately abandoning the Eneco Tour. With second-placed Taylor Phinney well behind the main chase group, what began as a promising final day for BMC became an uphill struggle to even land on the GC podium.
Meanwhile, tense racing saw the lead group dwindle to just three riders out front. With the GC podium in mind, Terpstra and Naesen pushed the pace in the closing kilometers as Boasson Hagen prepared for the battle to the finish line halfway up the legendary Muur van Geraardsbergen climb.
After nearly 200 kilometers on undulating Flemish terrain, Boasson Hagen was the clear winner in the high-speed finale, crossing the line a full two seconds ahead of his escape companions.
“I came to Eneco with the goal of possibly winning a stage and the overall but the overall didn’t go to plan. So I was really motivated to win today’s stage,” said Boasson Hagen, who earned a few much-needed points for Dimension Data with the victory. “I knew Terpstra would be going for the overall so I tried to ride clever, using that to my advantage, but Naesen was there and he was very strong. In the final I tried save all I could for the last 200 meters. I am happy it was enough to win the stage.”
Though he started the day in fifth, Terpstra had collected enough time with the hefty finishing gap and a generous helping of bonus seconds to surge to the top of the leaderboard. He took the overall win by 31 seconds, with Naesan jumping into second overall in the final general classification.
“I’m extremely happy and proud to finish off this great job of the team, who was incredible today! The Muur van Geraardsbergen has a special place in cycling and it means a lot for me to seal the overall victory here,” said Terpstra. “We were aware of the fact that we had several cards to play in the general classification at the start of the day and we were keen to make use of these numbers.
Peter Sagan closed out the race in third, fending off BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet by two seconds for the final spot on the podium.
Sunday’s stage marked the end of the final stage race on the 2016 WorldTour, with only Il Lombardia left on the sport’s top-level calendar.Stage 7 results
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Only a few days removed from claiming the first World Cup win of the season at Cross Vegas, Wout van Aert made it two for two Saturday evening in Iowa City at Jingle Cross.
Racing on a broken toe sustained in a crash in Las Vegas, the Crelan – Vastgoedservice rider was nevertheless the class of the field yet again, overcoming an early mechanical that set him back several places in the second lap and ultimately working his way to the head of the race and then soloing clear for the win. After eight laps in intense heat, the 22-year-old Belgian crossed the finish line 39 seconds ahead of Kevin Pauwels (Marlux – Napoleon Games). Laurens Sweeck of Era – MurProtec rounded out the podium in third, 56 seconds behind the race leader.Top 10
Toon Aerts led through first lap with several of his Telenet – Fidea teammates grouped near the front as well to keep the pressure high on the up-and-down course. Van Aert hung near the head of affairs not far off the leader until issues with his chain forced him to dismount and make a quick mechanical adjustment midway through the second lap. By the time he was back on the bike, the reigning world champion had dropped back almost to middle of the pack.
Marlux – Napoleon Games’ Michael Vanthourenhout opened up a gap off the front towards the end of lap two as van Aert began working his way back into striking distance.
The field began to string out considerably in the third lap, with Vanthourenhout and Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea) leading into lap four. Vanthourenhout briefly dropped Hermans during the fourth lap, but he was soon caught up by a surging Sweeck, with Hermans and van Aert not far behind.
Sweeck took a small gap into the fifth lap with van Aert and Vanthourenhout riding together in pursuit. Pauwels, meanwhile, was working his way through the chasers all the time, beginning the sixth lap in fourth position as Vanthourenhout began to fade off of van Aert’s wheel.
It was in lap six that van Aert made the decisive move, delivering a powerful uphill attack to charge past Sweeck and then cementing his advantage on a tricky downhill. Crossing the start-finish line to begin the penultimate lap, he enjoyed a 12-second gap over Sweeck and a 28-second advantage over Pauwels, who had worked his way up to third.
Pauwels was able to overtake Sweeck in the final two laps, but nobody came particularly close to catching van Aert. Broken toe and all, the world champ rolled over the finish line for the final time over half a minute ahead of Pauwels.
“I didn’t expect it,” Pauwels said of taking the victory with an injured toe. “The last few days were hectic. In the beginning of the race there was also a mechanical. I got a little bit back in the bunch and afterwards I came at my own pace.
“I saw that I was making good lap times and coming back to the front. In the end, I was suffering throughout my body.”
Van Aert offered a ringing endorsement of World Cup racing on American soil after his second-straight victory.
“It’s a big win and I have to thank everyone who supported me in this preparation and also the crowd who came out. It was amazing, I think I’ve never seen so many people cheering,” he said.
“I hope next year we can make it even longer staying here, maybe for two weeks and we can do a few races in that period. I think it’s an awesome idea, and I think the guys who were here would say the same.”Results
Katie Compton (KFC – Trek – Panache) powered to a convincing World Cup victory Saturday, claiming the 2016 Jingle Cross title in Iowa City.
Compton arrived at the front of the race towards the end of the first lap and stayed at the head of affairs all the way through the final crossing of the line in the first World Cup-level edition of the event. She took the win ahead of France’s Caroline Mani (Raleigh), with Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale) nabbing third.Top 10
The racing kicked off under sunny skies and very warm temperatures, with Iowa local Amanda Miller (Pepper Palace) surging out to a brief early lead. Cross Vegas winner Sophie de Boer (Kalas – NNOF) then took over at the front, before a downhill attack by Katerina Nash (Luna) strung out the race in earnest.
Nash, Compton, Mani, and Catherine Pendrel (Luna) had opened up a serious advantage over the rest of the field by the midway point of the second lap, with De Boer caught behind and unable to bridge the gap.
The group didn’t stay together for long, however, with Compton and Nash dropping Mani and Pendrel in the third lap, setting up what seemed to be a two-rider battle for the title — before Nash suffered a mechanical that derailed her chance at contesting the win.
Compton pressed on solo with a hefty advantage as a four-lap race was called, cruising through the circuit one final time with plenty of room to spare even as Antonneau surged past one chaser after another in pursuit of a spot on the podium. Compton ultimately crossed the line with a 19-second gap to Mani, with Antonneau coming home 23 seconds down. Nash finished fourth.
“Once Katerina had that mechanical I knew I had to keep the pressure on because I knew Caroline was back there and I knew Katie was back there and Catherine Pendrel, I saw her too. Climbing is not what I’m really good at, I’m a power climber, but I managed well, I rode smooth, I made a couple mistakes but not too bad,” Compton said.
Though she acknowledged the race was particularly short at just four laps, the American couldn’t help be thankful to call it a day after even 37 minutes in the oppressive heat.
“Oh my gosh, it was hard, I definitely struggled,” she said. “I’m kind of glad they ran us a little short. Initially I came through and heard one lap to go and was like ‘We’re running short!’ and then halfway through the lap I was like, ‘Yeah, this is okay.’
“It’s just so hot, you know when you’re not drinking, we’re all out there suffering the same but I struggle a little bit towards the end of races that are warm. That’s why I’m a cross racer.
“I think we should have done one more lap, but I’m really happy we didn’t. But technically, yeah, we should have done one more lap. The race, maybe it would have been different, maybe it would have been the same. But we were all struggling out there.”
Coupled with her third-place finish at Cross Vegas, Compton’s Jingle Cross win launched her into the overall World Cup lead, though she does not plan to race the full World Cup calendar this season.
“It feels really good, I wasn’t even thinking about that,” she said. “It’s kind of a shame that I’m not going to do the full season, but that’s okay. I’m focusing on the racing that I want to do, and I want to do well at those races. So it’s early yet. We’ve got a long season in front of us, I just kind of want to stay consistent and get faster. I’m super happy with this.”Results
Lampre – Merida’s Luka Pibernik claimed the sixth stage of the Eneco Tour from the break on Saturday, marking his first career WorldTour-level victory.
The 22-year-old Slovenian proved fastest in a five-man sprint for the win in Lanaken, Belgium after spending most of the day’s 185.2 kilometers off the front. Wanty – Groupe Gobert’s Mark McNally was second across the line, with Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) nabbing third.
Race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) finished safely with the rest of the field five seconds behind.Top 10, stage 6
Pibernik, McNally, and van Lerberghe jumped clear with American Chad Haga (Giant – Alpecin) and Ag2r-La Mondiale’s Alexis Gougeard not long after the bunch rolled out from Riemst, Belgium on the Dutch border. The quintet never enjoyed a huge gap, and despite the lumpy parcours, plenty of sprinters were still in the bunch in the waning kilometers of the stage — but the escapees refused to be caught.
Their advantage stood at around a minute with 10km to go, with the sprinters’ teams putting in the work at the front of the pack to reel them in, but the breakers stayed organized themselves, cooperating well in the final twisting, turning kilometers. With the break holding on to around 15 seconds as it came under the flamme rouge, it became clear that the riders out front would be sprinting for the stage win.
Pibernik took the narrow victory at the line ahead of McNally as the disappointed sprinters came into view on the finishing straight. Trek – Segafredo’s Giacomo Nizzolo led the bunch across the line to take sixth place.
The Eneco Tour concludes Sunday with a 197.8km Stage 7 from Bornem to Geraardsbergen.Stage 6 results
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The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best advice and most interesting insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews columnist Trevor Connor and editor Caley Fretz discuss a range of topics, including training, physiology, technology, and more.
Do you work full-time? Have limited time to train? Trevor Connor and Caley Fretz discuss the best way to get the most out of your ride time, and whether it’s possible to substitute long, slow base miles with high intensity training.
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The Fancy Bears are at it again. On Friday, the Russian-tied hacking group released documents it claims are the TUE forms of five Olympic cyclists, as well as a slew of other Olympic athletes.
The latest data dump includes TUE forms from Rio gold medalists Fabian Cancellara and Nino Schurter, silver medalist Jakob Fuglsang, bronze medalist Catharine Pendrel, and Great Britain’s Stephen Cumming, but none of the TUEs are related to the Rio games.
The medications fit the pattern of previously leaked TUEs, with a heavy emphasis on asthma and other respiratory drugs. Pendrel is the exception, as her TUE for pain medication appears to be related to a surgery.
Here’s a rundown of Friday’s release:Fabian Cancellara’s TUEs
Fancy Bears released two Cancellara TUE documents, both for the steroid methylprednisolone, which can be used to treat severe allergies and asthma. The first TUE is from August 2011, just before the Vuelta a España, and a second from late May 2013, for the Tour of Belgium.
Both of Cancellara’s TUEs were for bee stings, according to his Trek-Segafredo team. The team provided photos of Cancellara’s swollen face as further evidence that the TUEs were legitimate.Both of Cancellara’s TUEs were for bee stings, according to his team. Photo: Trek
“Trek-Segafredo and Fabian Cancellara confirm that Cancellara received therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for the treatment of severe allergic reactions to bee stings on August 17, 2011, and May 18, 2013,” the team wrote in a statement. “The treatments were administered in respective urgent care centers where Cancellara was treated, and not by a team doctor.”
The 2011 TUE indicates that the medication would be administered via intravenous injection. The UCI implemented its needle ban earlier in 2011, but that ban stipulates that injections can still be used if “medically justified.” It also notes that Cancellara checked into a hospital in Bern, and that he would undergo the required pre-grand tour blood tests in Bern.
The 2013 TUE, for the same drug, indicates that it will be taken orally, 40mg on the 18th and 20mg on the 21st of May.Jakob Fuglsang’s TUEs
The lone TUE associated with Jakob Fuglsang is odd. It is for Triamcinalone, same as Bradley Wiggins. The form has no date, and does not appear to have been approved at all. The “Authorized by” section is blank. There is no “Effective by” date, and the expiration section is marked by “N/A.”
The TUE is for the UCI mountain bike world championship, an event that Fuglsang has not participated in since 2008, when he was a U23 and still racing mountain bikes. The TUE number, 6639309, is also the lowest of any of the TUEs in this release, suggesting the form is quite old.
On Friday evening, Fuglsang confirmed that the TUE was for the 2008 mountain bike world championship.Stephen Cummings TUEs
The lone TUE for Stephen Cummings is from December 2008 for salbutamol, the fast-acting asthma drug.Nino Schurter’s TUEs
Three of Olympic gold medalist Nino Schurter’s TUEs were released. The first is from June 2009, for budesonide and formoterol, both used to prevent asthma attacks. The second is from July 24 and is also for formoterol. The third is from May 24, 2014 and is for Ciclesonidum, another drug that can be used to treat asthma.Catharine Pendrel’s TUEs
Former world cross country champion Catharine Pendrel received a TUE in early April of this year for Reminfentanil, a narcotic pain reliever. Pendrel had surgery on her thumb in early April.
In this week’s Tech in Motion, Dan Cavallari puts the promise of the best carbon braking to the test with Mavic’s Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL wheels. In the interest of (very) marginal gains, he pairs those wheels with SLF Motion’s Hyper pulley wheels, which are designed to help reduce drivetrain friction and thus save you watts.
And finally, Donkey Label’s Unisex Base Layer shouts “look at me” with an interesting aesthetic, but what else has it got up its (forward-rotated) sleeves?
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Weight: 16 grams/pair
Aside from making your rear derailleur look super-cool, SLF Motion’s R Version Hyper Pulley Wheels (the R stands for Road/Race) should save you a few watts at your next race. According to Friction Facts, using these pulleys will cost you .017 watts total — that’s nearly half the watts CeramicSpeed’s Gr3 Hybrid wheels (.033 watts) will set you back, and a pretty significant drop from stock Shimano Dura-Ace pulleys (.159 watts). *
We can see why. These pulleys seem to spin endlessly on full ceramic bearings with Silicon Nitride races and PTFE seals. The ball bearings are full-ceramic, as opposed to steel balls coated in ceramic. And it’s plain to see that they spin a lot more freely than stock SRAM eTap pulleys with ceramic bearings. Perhaps that’s simply a psychosomatic take on what makes your bike ride faster, but less friction should, in theory, equal less energy expended to turn the pulley wheels.Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com
Of course, all those free watts can be undone if you don’t keep your drivetrain clean. This isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it upgrade for your everyday ride. Think of these pulleys as a race-day weapon and you’ll get the most out of them; get them gnarly with grit for days or weeks at a time and you’ve just dropped coin on some colorful wheels that won’t help you go faster.
Installation of these 16-gram pulleys took only a few minutes. Once they were on, we did have to do a bit of rear derailleur adjustment, though it wasn’t clear whether that was due to the pulleys themselves or just routine maintenance. Once that was done, shifting was as clean and crisp as it was with the stock pulleys.
The wheels themselves are CNC-machined from a “self-lubricating” plastic (that means oils within the plastic are a part of the material’s structure and are always present on the surface of the plastic, even though you may not feel it). This should help prevent premature wear. After a few hundred miles of riding, the pulleys do not appear to have worn noticeably, but we’ll have to put in some more miles to really get a sense of the long-term wear factor. We’ll keep you posted.
Are they worth the $225 price tag? That all depends on your goals and wallet heft. If you’re solidly in the Cat 1/Pro marginal-gains crowd, these pulleys, paired with a CeramicSpeed-treated chain, will likely have you expending fewer watts during the course of your race. But if your race day consists mostly of chasing KOMs with buddies, maybe pocket that $225 and save it for post-ride beer and pizzas.
(*The SLF Motion Friction Facts test was done as a one-off specifically for SLF Motion, while the CeramicSpeed pulleys were included in a broader test of several brands. The testing protocol is identical between the two tests, though Friction Facts buys the pulleys off the shelf for the independent test, while SLF Motion sent pulleys to Friction Facts for its test.)
BMC Racing lived up to its billing as two-time defending team time trial world champion Friday with a win in the Eneco Tour’s stage 5 TTT. The day’s overall race leader, Peter Sagan, saw his hopes of a GC win plummet as his Tinkoff team could only manage eighth place, 34 seconds behind BMC, which vaulted Rohan Dennis back into the tour lead.Stage 5, top 10
Etixx – Quick-Step was bumped to second on the stage after holding the lead for awhile in Sittard, Netherlands. The Belgian squad ended the day six seconds back, ahead of third-place LottoNL – Jumbo, which was 23 seconds in arrears.
The 26-year-old time-trial specialist had been leading until Wednesday but lost the overnight lead to Slovak Sagan by just seven seconds. With a powerful team including Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium on his side, the BMC was fastest in the 20.9km run around Sittard.
“Maybe we missed a bit of speed in the start but we had a plan and they stuck to it and gave their all. The GC will be difficult now with 27 seconds in it, but everything is possible, especially with Peter,” Tinkoff sport director Tristan Hoffman said of Sagan.
Saturday’s penultimate stage takes the race from Riemst to Lanaken, Belgium over a 185.2km course with six notable climbs, the last of which, the Muizenberg, is 18km from the finish, 650m long and averaging 6.6 percent.Stage 5 results
MILAN (VN) — Cycling’s governing body is ready to discuss and implement new safety measures for 2017 after a year that saw one rider die and others seriously injured due to road furniture and race vehicles.
The UCI announced Thursday it will meet with stakeholders in Milan on September 30, one day ahead of the final WorldTour race of the season, Il Lombardia.
“I am happy with the progress and investment we have made in 2016,” UCI President Brian Cookson said. “We know that there is more work to do and I am looking forward to working to ensure that we create the best possible conditions for riders.”More UCI news
Belgian Antoine Demoitié (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) crashed and was hit by a race jury motorbike in Gent-Wevelgem on March 27. He died overnight in the hospital. In the Tour of Belgium, two motorbikes collided next to the peloton and caused 19 cyclists to crash. Stig Broeckx (Lotto – Soudal), who returned to racing after fracturing his right collarbone and ribs in a motorbike incident in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, remains in a medically induced coma four months later. Steven Kruijswijk’s (LottoNL – Jumbo) crash into a metal bollard with 2.5 kilometers to race in the Vuelta a España’s fifth stage only highlighted the safety issues on the UCI’s plate.
In June, fed up with the issues facing cyclists, riders union CPA proposed a set of safety rules to the UCI to bring some changes. They included setting a speed limit for passing vehicles, scoring the drivers to identify risky ones, and identifying off-course routes to avoid cyclists completely. These and other proposals could be rolled out after the UCI and stakeholders meet in Milan.
“The working group will discuss various topics including the maximum number of riders in the race, safe course design, in particular within the final three kilometers of a race, a set of best practice guidelines for race finishes adapted to different course conditions, including reconnoiter and hazard identification, protection from obstacles and the finish,” the UCI said in its statement.
“These were elements brought to the discussions by the CPA during the last UCI Road Commission meeting.”
The working group will bring in the CPA, the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP), and the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC).
Already, the UCI will tighten its grip in the world championships next month in Doha, Qatar. Traffic islands will be removed or made safer for the last 1.5km of the Pearl circuit and barriers will allow the proper width for the passing peloton, which will number around 190 in the men’s race. Smaller and lighter motorbikes will be used in the race caravan, and no panniers will be allowed. Drivers of vehicles must have “significant previous experience.”
“On-time for the beginning of the 2017 season, the UCI will publish a Race Caravan guide,” the statement continued. “This comprehensive set of regulations and guidelines will govern all aspects of the safety and security of road races and will include rules defining the allocation and position of vehicles within a race.”
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SYDNEY (AFP) — Former BMX world champion and two-time Olympian Sam Willoughby has been left partially paralyzed after a training accident in the United States, with no movement from the chest down.
The 25-year-old Australian, who won silver at the 2012 London Olympics but could only manage sixth in Rio this year, underwent surgery for fractures to his vertebrae which compressed his spinal cord after a crash near San Diego on September 10, his family said.
“Fortunately, this surgery was successful enough at decompressing his spinal cord and aligning his vertebrae that a second operation for further stabilization was not necessary,” the family said in a statement issued through Cycling Australia late Thursday.
“At this stage, Sam still has no movement from his chest down but has regained use of his arms and is slowly regaining some sensation in his legs.
“Sam’s next step is to begin a long road of recovery at a rehabilitation center and while the details are still to be finalized, at this stage it is expected that Sam will be transported to a USA-based rehabilitation centre in the next few days.”
Willoughby started competing at age 6 in Adelaide and burst onto the scene by claiming the junior world championship in 2008.
After another junior world title in 2009, he claimed his first senior world championship in 2012 before winning silver at the London Olympics.
He won the world championship again in 2014, but crashed out of the final a year later.
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Cross Vegas returned for its 10th year — and the debut of the 2016–17 of the Telenet UCI World Cup — on Wednesday night in Las Vegas. The race has grown into one of the most successful and difficult in America, but it is also a party, a boisterous celebration of cyclocross.
The “Wheelers and Dealers” race, for bike industry insiders in town for the massive Interbike trade show, is a Cross Vegas classic. Pure spectacle, a little goofy, and all about fun. Costumes have always featured prominently.
Cross Vegas genuinely seems to have captured the spirit of the classic Belgian races that are the beating heart of cyclocross, then injected them with American spirit and some local color. Among the things you are not so likely to see on the cobbled slopes of the Koppenberg or the sand pit in Zonhoven are fish tacos or a former Belgian champion like Joyce Vanderbeken sitting among the fans and taking in an early race.
Cross Vegas has taken a cue from Belgian races like the Superprestige race in Ronse, building an arena-like atmosphere where fans can sit on the hillside overlooking the course and see nearly the entire race. The enthusiastic hillside crowd only adds to the spectacle. Premium seating goes to the early arrivals.
Sven Nys, a two-time Cross Vegas winner, returned to the race in a new role. Retired after the 2015–16 season, Nys now leads the Telenet – Fidea Lions as a sport director. Nys, who won a world championship in the U.S. in 2013, is now an outspoken proponent of the expansion of big-time cyclocross to North America. The legendary Belgian rider was in high demand in Vegas.
Italian champion Eva Lechner finished second in the inaugural Vegas World Cup in 2015. Her fluorescent glasses were hard to miss under the lights at Desert Breeze Park. Her rather anonymous 16th place finish, unfortunately, was not.
Belgian Ellen Van Loy was the first to hit the sand in a women’s race that ripped off the line and screamed around the thick grass course, strung out single-file. But Van Loy faded as the race developed and eventually finished 17th.
Meanwhile the race developed into a four-way battle between American Katie Compton, Dutchwoman Sophie de Boer, and two Luna Chix teammates, the American-based Czech Katerina Nash and Canadian Catharine Pendrel. The quartet traded attacks until Pendrel cracked, then they raced to the finish in a three-way battle.
It was a night of mixed performances for stalwarts of the American ’cross scene. Elle Anderson, preparing to return to Europe after recovering from a trying year there during the 2013–14 season, was isolated for much of the race and finished 18th. Colorado-based French champion Caroline Mani, the 2016 worlds silver medalist, couldn’t quite match the leaders, but still finished fifth.
Finally it was de Boer who emerged victorious, gapped on the last lap before charging back into the race and taking the sprint from Compton and Nash. De Boer picked up right where she left off: She won the final World Cup last season and kicked off the year’s campaign with another victory.
“I’m not sure, I mean, if [Katie and Katerina] could have done better, I’m sure they would have,” said de Boer. “In the last lap Katerina attacked, and I also tried to attack, but I couldn’t drop them. So they dropped me. And the only thing I thought was that I had to get back. And if I could get back to those two, I have to be the first on the stairs. I don’t know, maybe they were both a little bit tired from battling each other and I could take advantage of it. But I thought I had to be the first one on the stairs and I did. I sprinted, and, yeah!
“I didn’t really expect this today. It’s my first race and it’s very special and wonderful to start the season like this.”
It was a well-earned victory and there was little doubt that the top-three women had left everything on the course. Nash crumpled to the grass, exhausted, just across the finish.
Meanwhile, there was plenty for women who didn’t quite reach the podium as well. The Amy D Foundation rider Rebecca Fahringer finished sixth, earning a big embrace from Dan Dombroski, who runs the foundation. Cross Vegas was a special race for the late Amy Dombroski, who twice finished second in the race.
“I’ve seen the race develop and it’s really amazing,” said Renaat Schotte, one of Belgium’s best known TV commentators, who knows a think or two about big cyclocross races. “It’s more than World Cup level. It’s world championship level. If you look at the way the course is built now, after the total makeover, the women’s race was really perfect propaganda for the sport. To have the decision on the final stretch — we had to wait for the finish line — and the tactical play was really nice.
“I think it has characteristics from certain French races, they also take the slopes up and down. But I’d say the course here has more fantasy than those forgotten French World Cups. This one is more vivid. It’s spicy. I love the sand dune — it’s a sand dune because it’s uphill, they have to run it.”
The women’s race was a celebration of the sport, arguably one of the best battles the World Cup has seen in some time. Behind de Boer, Nash finished second and Compton third. It was the return, in some respects, of two legends: Compton back on form after a trying season last year, Nash back on the ’cross bike after a fine Olympic performance that kept her away from this sport for much of last season.
Meanwhile, the men were lining up. It was a big race for American Jeremy Powers, who finished sixth at Cross Vegas last year, one of the best-ever World Cup performances by an American man. And, of course, it was a big race for world champion Wout Van Aert, seeking to extend his CrossVegas win streak begun last season.
American Stephen Hyde was the first man to reach the sand, leading a furious chase through the churning dust. The clouds billowed under the bright lights, and the fans who crowded the hillside overlooking the race were treated to a second duel. The race ignited when Wout Van Aert bobbled on the stairs and fell.
“I was for one moment not concentrated as I should have been, and I hit the first step with my feet,” explained Van Aert later. “And then I fell on my wrist. It was a quite stupid crash and actually painful also. But afterwards I made it very quick back into the front of the race.” (Van Aert later went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a broken toe.)
With Van Aert distanced, Michael Vanthourenhout attacked, sprinting to a quick 15-second gap over Laurens Sweeck and the rest of the chase.
“It was not a plan, but Wout made a mistake, and I went. But with six laps left, it was a little bit too early,” he said. “[After that] it was more tactical. I was always in second or third place, and Wout did a very good effort just as I made a little mistake, and he was away.”
The huge surge at the front blew the peloton apart. Dutch rider David van der Poel was one of the victims, fading precipitously to 48th place, pulled from the race with two laps to go.
His younger brother, former world champion Mathieu van der Poel, was one of several conspicuous absences on the start list along with countryman Lars van der Haar. Both riders skipped the trip to the U.S. to rehab injuries. Their absence did not dampen the enthusiasm of the fans, nor did it appear to diminish the vigorous competition.
Meanwhile, European racers were treated to some of the more esoteric traditions of American cyclocross, dollar and beer hand-ups among them. More accustomed to seeing fans tossing beers than waving dollar bills from the sidelines, maybe some were flummoxed. At least one hand-up apparently went badly wrong, leaving a handful of bills strewn on the course as racers flew past
It was Van Aert, of course, who surged away in the final laps, riding to what has become a classic Van Aert solo victory, while countrymen Laurens Sweeck and Vanthourenhout battled behind. The sprint for second may have done more damage than Van Aert’s attack. It belonged to Vanthourenhout, who promptly collapsed on the ground, smiling, apparently satisfied with his night’s effort.
There was something to celebrate for others as well. Quinten Hermans, still officially an under-23 rider, earned an impressive sixth place and celebrated afterwards with his former team director, Hans Van Kasteren, who sold the Telenet – Fidea team to Sven Nys last winter but made the trip to Cross Vegas anyway.
“It was a good race. It was really fast. I liked it,” said Hermans afterward. “It was just really hard with Wout and Laurens and Michael. There were three really strong riders on the podium. It felt like they were controlling the race and it was really hard to pedal in front. It was really hard to be in front of the group, and I was just trying to keep following.”
And, in the end, there was plenty of celebration to go around. Two new Cross Vegas victors, and a successful 10th anniversary celebration for a race that director Brook Watts has built from a curiosity into the biggest and, arguably, most important race in America. Back in the spotlight, American cyclocross shone brightly.
The celebration was short. Riders, teams, and supporters would make an early start on Thursday morning, hurrying to Iowa City and the second American World Cup. The calendar says September, but here comes Jingle Cross.
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