Czech bookend. Four races were held this weekend for the 61st edition of the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Tabor where the home country of the Czech Republic took home two victories, in the first race the Junior and the finale with Zdeněk Štybar riding flawlessly to win the Men Elite race.
Cherry on the cake. Around 60 riders, the who’s who of professional cyclocross male riders lined up for the final race in Tabor, with the Belgian team of 2009 World Champion Niels Albert in the front row. But also present was Czech National Champion Štybar who after a fast start was forced to drop back after a flat tire in the first lap. That left his teammate Radomir Simunek, Belgian trio of Klaas Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels and Sven Nys, Swiss Christian Heule and Frenchman Francis Mourey battling at the front with Albert relegated to 15th position. Albert would later pull out. Pauwels bobbled and was dropped while Štybar was chasing back to the front, finally making junction by the third lap.
On lap four of nine, Štybar made his move and got a gap on the chase group of Nys, Vantornout, Heule and Czech rider Martin Bina. The gap grew to 20 seconds as Heule was dropped from the chase group. The Belgian duo chased but Nys fumbled, tripping on the barriers and the stairs and slipping on corners while up front Štybar kept on choosing the perfect lines.
With two laps to go, Vantornout dropped to other two riders to chase solo while Bina shadowed Nys.The batle was on for the third spot on the podium, Nys caught back to Bina after being dropped on the final lap and got the bronze after outsprinting Bina. Vantornout finished second.
Even though he was a heavy favorite going into the race, Štybar was not feeling the pressure. After achieving his major goal of the season by winning the UCI Cyclocross World Cup, he called winning Worlds a cherry on the cake.
At 25 years old, Stybar has already won everything: after two world titles in the Under 23 category and the UCI World Cup – with three wins this season in Koksijde, Igorre and Roubaix – he has completed his list of achievements with the title in the Elite category. This title comes after his silver medals at the last two editions of the UCI World Championships in Treviso and Hoogerheide.
Moving up from 28th spot after one lap, US Cross Champion Tim Johnson made his way up for finish in 14th position which was two minutes and 28 seconds off the winning pace. Next up for the American contingent was Jamey Driscoll in 19th, Jonathan Page in 30th, Jeremy Powers in 41st and Ryan Trebon 50th.
Page was disappointed. He was sitting in 15th place after the second lap when he had a mechanical which dropped him back to fiftieth on lap three. His chain got caught between the crank and chainrings and he struggled to get it out. Once fixed he took risks trying to make up time and ended up crashing.
Canada did not send a team for the Elite Men race.
Three for Vos who dominated the 40+ rider Elite Women’s race Sunday morning in sub-zero temperatures. The two-time Cross Champion Marianne Vos of the Netherlands powered away from the field on the first of six laps. The 22-year old kept the pressure on, setting the fastest time lap after lap. Behind her, Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany gave chase but could not close the gap which just kept on increasing. Not only that, Kupfernagel was being hunted by UCI World Cup winnerDaphny Van Den Brand also of the Netherlands. And that was the podium.
Katerina Nash of the Czech Republic had a fast start but crashed early on. She then proceeded to take chances in her chase which brought her down twice more. The Czech National Champion almost caught Van Den Brand but had to settle for fourth.
US Cross Champion Katie Compton pulled out of the race after one lap still battling her debilitating leg problems. In her first Worlds competition, Meredith Miller was the first American to cross the line 12th-place followed by 23 year-old Amy Dombowski in 14th, Maureen Bruno-Roy in 25th and Laura Van Gilder in 31st.
In her first World Championships, Canada’s sole representative Vicki Thomas placed 41st. Read Thomas’ blog where she describes the emotions she felt during the race.
Czech surprise. The junior men’s field toed the line first for five technical, slippery laps on a course that was frozen from the region’s heavy snowfall in recent weeks. A lead group of nine riders went off the front on the first lap which included Dutch David Van Der Poel and Gert-Jan Bosnan, Belgian Gianni Vermeersch, Julian Alaphilippe and Emilien Viennet of France and Czech duo of Tomaš Paprstka and Matěj Lasák.
The riders battled until the third lap when Paprstka made his move and established a small gap. With two laps to go, the chase group split into pieces and when entering the final lap Paprstka had a gap of promising six seconds ahead of his chasers Alaphilippe, Dolfs, Vermmersch, Bosman and Lasák. Launching a counter attack n the bell lap, Alaphilippe caught the leader right as they entered the final pavement section but Paprstka held on and won by a bike throw. Alaphilippe took silver and Dutch Emiel Dolfs was third.
US Cross Champion Cody Kaiser was the first to cross the line for the U.S. National Team, in 33rd-place at 3:05 from the winner. He was followed by Chris Wallace in 39th, Jeff Bahnson in 44th, Skyler Trujillo in 53rd, and Matt Spinks in 57th.
Canada’s Kris Dahl finished 40th at 4:11 behind the winner followed by Mackenzie Carson in 45th, Kiernan Orange in 52nd and Conor O’Brien in 58th.
German citizen and American resident Yannick Eckmann finished 14th.
A tale of two brothers. The course was softened up a bit by the time the U23 men’s field of 59 riders took to the start line later Saturday afternoon. The Polish riders took control of the competition right from the get-go with three riders, brothers Pawel and Kacper Szczepaniak and Marek Konwa off the front by the end of the second lap.
Favorite going into the race Belgian Tom Meeusen gave chase along with Frenchman Arnaud Jouffroy but both were having difficulties dealing with the slippery course. On the third lap of seven, Pawel Szczepaniak dropped his two compatriots to solo to victory. With three laps to go, his brother Kacper powered away to continue alone to take silver. Meeusen and Jouffroy were gaining on the struggling Konwa and finally caught him on the final lap with Jouffroy taking the final spot on the podium.
Zach McDonald was the first American across the line in 28th at 3:40 from the winner, followed by US U23 Cross Champion Danny Summerhill in 29th. Dave Hackworthy, Jerome Townsend, and Luke Keough finished in 34th, 38th, and 44th places respectively.
Canada’s lone entry Jared Stafford finished 54th.
The next UCI Cyclocross World Championships will take place in Sankt Wendel, Germany in January 2011.
- Junior Men: cyclephotos.uk, cyclingnews, velonews, cyclingdirt, cxmagazine, canadiancyclist, universalsports, usacycling
- U23 Men: cyclephotos.uk, cyclingnews, velonews, cyclingdirt, cxmagazine, canadiancyclist, universalsports, usacycling
- Elite Women: cyclephotos.uk, cyclingnews, velonews, cyclingdirt, cxmagazine, canadiancyclist, universalsports, usacycling
- Elite Men: cyclephotos.uk, cyclingnews, velonews, cyclingdirt, cxmagazine, canadiancyclist, universalsports, usacycling
- Junior Men: final lap from sporza
- U23 Men: sporza summary, final lap
- Elite Women: final lap from sporza
- Elite Men: universalsports, race via sporza in 7 parts