Cyclocross – VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Wed, 29 Jun 2016 21:43:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://velonews.competitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/cropped-Velonews_favicon-2-32x32.png Cyclocross – VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com 32 32 CX or gravel? New SuperX aims for versatility http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/06/bikes-and-tech/cannondale-bolsters-superx-cross-bike-preps-for-gravel_410950 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/06/bikes-and-tech/cannondale-bolsters-superx-cross-bike-preps-for-gravel_410950#respond Tue, 28 Jun 2016 14:00:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=410950 The company reimagines its cyclocross offering with different axles, wheels, and geometry to tackle gravel and technical courses.

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Last year I reviewed Cannondale’s SuperX Hi-Mod CX1 cyclocross bike and gave it good marks but bemoaned its lack of thru-axles and Stan’s Grail Team wheels that we found to be on the flexy side. It seems Cannondale was listening: The 2017 SuperX features a 142×12 rear thru-axle and front Maxle, and the Team-level SuperX comes stock with Zipp 303 tubulars, a significant upgrade over the Stan’s wheels that came on the bike last season. This is a very different ’cross steed than what we’ve seen in the past, though the core of the machine still capitalizes on all of Cannondale’s best tech.

Component choices aside, Cannondale took a new tack with the SuperX to respond to the burgeoning gravel segment, though reps from the Connecticut-based company are quick to note that the SuperX is a cyclocross bike first and foremost. In fact, Stephen Hyde tested the new SuperX late last cyclocross season in Belgium.

As CX courses become more technical, the need for more steering stability becomes a higher priority; the SuperX accommodates such courses with a 55mm fork offset, 63mm trail, 71.5-degree head tube angle, and a 68mm bottom bracket drop that makes for stable steering at high speeds.

All those figures make the SuperX sound like anything but a quick steerer, but Cannondale’s global senior product manager David Devine says other geometry tweaks keep the SuperX quick and aggressive. The company is calling it Out-Front Geometry, which gets the rider in better position to attack technical sections with quick steering and agility. The chainstays clock in at 422mm on all frame sizes, 8mm shorter than previous model years and among the shortest on the market for cyclocross bikes. That allowed Cannondale to extend the front-center measurement on a size 56 centimeter to 621 millimeters without extending the wheelbase, which is decently short at at 1,034 millimeters.

The combination should lead to some agile handling at high speeds and quick steering in tight, tape-to-tape turns. In other words, Cannondale is promising everything a CX racer wants and needs.

Frame construction got an overhaul too. The main triangle — head tube, top tube, seat tube, and down tube — is all one piece, while the left and right chainstays are constructed as one piece respectively. That means the 1,000-gram frame is made from three total pieces. That should translate into high lateral stiffness numbers for efficient power transfer and handling.

Like previous SuperX models as well as SuperSix Evo bikes, the new SuperX features Cannondale’s Speed Save frame design, which essentially translates into shaped tubing that helps maintain lateral rigidity while allowing some vertical flex for your comfort. The SuperX has some of the most dramatic examples of shaped tubing that Cannondale has incorporated into a bike, with flattened chainstays and seatstays and a thinned seat tube below where the seatpost bottoms out.

The nod to gravel comes in the form of wide tire clearance, and to get that, Cannondale offset the drivetrain by 6 millimeters outboard. The rear wheel needs to be re-dished to work properly with the drivetrain offset, with the ultimate goal of chainline maintenance. The payoff: The SuperSix can fit tires up to 40 millimeters with 5 millimeters of clearance to spare.

Other nice touches include flat mount front and rear disc brakes, a SRAM X-sync licensed chainring on the Cannondale Si crank, and a 25.4mm Save seatpost with a hidden clamp bolt.

Cannondale will also offer an aluminum version, the CAADX, with similar geometry, though it will only take a 35mm tire. Various build kits will be available for both the SuperX and CAADX; pricing is yet to be determined.

We’ve only got a ride or two on the SuperX so far, so it’s too early to say if Cannondale delivers on its big promises. Keep an eye out for our long-term review soon.

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Van der Haar to join Nys on Telenet team http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/05/news/van-der-haar-leaving-giant-alpecin_405420 Thu, 12 May 2016 15:05:31 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=405420 Lars van der Haar will join forces with Sven Nys on the Telenet – Fidea team for 2017, likely spelling the end of his WorldTour road

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Lars van der Haar, winner of the 2013-14 cyclocross World Cup and silver medalist at ‘cross worlds in January, will leave Giant – Alpecin at the end of 2016 to join the Telenet – Fidea team, which is now run by recently retired cyclocross legend Sven Nys.

His current team issued an announcement Thursday, and Wieler Flits reported that the move would happen at the turn of the year.

This move could spell the end of van der Haar’s pro road career. The 24-year-old Dutchman had 32 race days in 2015 with Giant – Alpecin on the road, including one WorldTour race, Clasica San Sebastian. He started Paris-Roubaix this season but was forced to abandon. Telenet-Fidea is a Continental team, so it could race some road events, but it doesn’t get the same invitations that a WorldTour team like Giant – Alpecin does.

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Video: Jeremy Powers’s Book of Cross, chapter 3 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/02/video/video-jeremy-powerss-book-of-cross-chapter-3_395796 Thu, 18 Feb 2016 19:53:53 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=395796 The Book of Cross follows U.S. 'cross champ Jeremy Powers in the final races of his season as he wins nationals and races worlds in Belgium.

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The third and final chapter “The Book of Cross” video series follows Jeremy Powers from the U.S. national championships in Asheville, North Carolina to the UCI World Championships in Zolder, Belgium.

“My season is officially over, and I wanted more from worlds. As I say in the video, it didn’t happen how I would have liked it too, but I do pat myself on the back every once in a while to say ‘good job,’ and let’s move on, of course with proper reflection. But I’m a very open and honest person and I think this chapter will let the viewers see that I have my days too and sometimes I come up short on my ambitions.”

The Book of Cross is produced, directed and shot by Motofish Images out of Seattle.

The Book of Cross chapter 1 >>
The Book of Cross chapter 2 >>

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Photo Essay: 2016 UCI cyclocross world championships http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/02/news/cyclocross/394428_394428 Mon, 01 Feb 2016 17:13:17 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394428 The grand finale of the cyclocross season, world championships, in Zolder, Belgium, had controversy, drama, and plenty of muddy action.

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Analysis: UCI stuck to its guns in search for hidden motors http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/02/news/analysis-uci-stuck-to-its-guns-in-search-for-hidden-motors_394355 Mon, 01 Feb 2016 13:39:24 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394355 UCI president Brian Cookson confirms the governing body discovered a hidden motor in a rider's bike at the cyclocross worlds.

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The UCI can take grim satisfaction after cycling’s first case of “mechanized doping” was confirmed over the weekend at the cyclocross world championships.

Many laughed when the UCI started showing up at races a few years ago with bulky X-ray machines to take a glimpse inside bike frames. Those fears carried over into last year’s Tour de France, with accusations leveled at Sky’s Chris Froome. The abuse of so-called motor-assisted bikes seemed too far-fetched even for a sport where cheating was part of its DNA. The technology seemed too bulky, too heavy, too unreliable, and even too noisy to be realistically applied to a sport in which every gram of weight counts.

Yet the UCI, possibly using a new detection method in Zolder, found what they say is the first documented case of illegal mechanical assistance in a major bike race. Details are still to be filled out, but officials confirmed a milestone in a sport rife with doping and cheating: a bike fitted with a banned motor.

“We have heard stories for a long time, and we have been testing at a number of events,” UCI president Brian Cookson said at a press conference over the weekend in Zolder. “We will be testing more frequently. Our message to cheaters is that we will catch up to you, sooner or later.”

Officials claim they discovered clear proof of a motor-assisted bike found in the pen of Belgian under-23 rider Femke Van den Driessche. She tearfully denied that the bike was hers, claiming someone in her entourage incorrectly placed it in her pen. How the bike showed up there, and whether it was fitted with stickers and pedals that could prove otherwise, will be revealed as part of the UCI investigation. The exact type of motor has not yet been revealed, but Cookson was emphatic that the evidence was clear.

“It was a concealed motor,” Cookson said. “No secrets about that.”

The news shook cycling to its core, and comes just as the sport was making advances on cleaning up its image as a dirty sport in the wake of decades of doping scandals. The mainstream media jumped on the story, with The Wall Street Journal dubbing it “the goofiest scandal ever.”

The first major hint of “mechanized doping” emerged in 2010 in the wake of Fabian Cancellara’s impressive attack at the Kapelmuur at the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), and later at Paris-Roubaix. The Swiss superstar angrily denied the rumors, but the idea gained traction when former racer Davide Cassani revealed the possibility in a report broadcast on Italy’s RAI-TV in what appeared to be a fully functioning motor that could be slotted into a frame’s seat tube. A subsequent video showing how the system might work went viral on YouTube.

Later that summer, the UCI scanned bikes for the first time at the 2010 Tour de France, and thus began what was the most divisive question in cycling: did mechanized cheating exist, and were the elite pros using it?

How the motor might work was wasn’t up to debate — technology already existed in 2010 for e-bikes, and has only improved over the past half-decade — but the big question was were motors being systematically used in the elite road racing scene? The question seemed to cut to the very essence of bicycle racing: a contest between athletes on a human-powered machine.

Riders and teams rolled their eyes at the notion, saying it was something from “science fiction,” insisting the motors, even if they could add additional watts in key moments of a race, were too heavy and cumbersome to be effective in racing. Batteries were considered too bulky to be properly hidden, and battery life was too short to be reliable in a six-hour road race.

There were suggestions that battery packs could be hidden inside water bottles, and that the motors would only be needed for a few decisive moments of a race. Mysterious mid-race bike swaps only fed conspiracy theories, and fears grew that motors had slowly worked their way into the peloton.

There are even rumors of motors being hidden inside carbon-fiber wheels. A video that went viral of Ryder Hesjedal’s spinning rear wheel from a crash during the 2014 Vuelta a España fanned the worst fears. When his bikes were checked during last year’s Giro, Hesjedal said, “it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.”

Early efforts by the UCI to check for motors were sometimes clumsy and never struck gold. Mechanics were forced to disassemble bikes just before the start of races — like this video showing Tinkoff-Saxo’s mechanic taking off the cranks of Alberto Contador’s bike at the 2015 Giro d’Italia. In other cases, the UCI always came up empty when inspectors used a large, airport-style X-ray machine to check bikes.

The UCI remain determined, however. The arrival of Cookson as the new UCI president in 2013 saw renewed efforts to try to prove the myth of mechanized cheating and snip it at the bud. The UCI’s CIRC report, released last March, also confirmed underlying worries that the problem was real, with the report highlighting, “this particular issue was taken seriously, especially by top riders, and was not dismissed as being isolated.”

The UCI deserves kudos for pressing the issue, and if this weekend’s events prove to be true, what could be cycling’s most embarrassing chapter could have a very brief life. A hefty fine and lengthy ban are deterrents, but without full enforcement of the rules, the cheaters look for openings. Cookson has been consistent in his message that the UCI will be unrelenting in its hunt for cheaters, even if it’s bad for business.

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Powers’ disappointed with Worlds result http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/powers-disappointments-continue-at-worlds_394305 Sun, 31 Jan 2016 22:21:02 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394305 Jeremy Powers was not pleased with his result in Zolder

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ZOLDER, Belgium (VN) — Jeremy Powers came in to the world championships with high expectations after a successful season capped off by his third-straight U.S. national cyclocross championship. Powers enjoyed a front-row starting position on Sunday, and the course at Zolder seemed fit for Powers’ strengths.

Powers’ result — he finished 34th, 11:21 down — did not match his expectations. Powers ran into trouble immediately, and although he bounced back, he was never able to regain the front of the race.

“I slipped my pedal at the start, and I was immediately first to third row. That was not ideal by any stretch,” he told VeloNews after the race. “Then I settled in, but it just turned out not to be my best day. I don’t know. I’m not pumped about it, I definitely wanted more from myself.”

The trouble didn’t stop there. Later in the first lap, Powers tangled with his American teammate Travis Livermon, losing even more time.

“That was unfortunately Travis Livermon, who I apologized to during that moment,” said Powers. “I was just going wide and coming across and I ended up T-boning into him. That didn’t make it any better for any of us. It was just a bunch of us running into each other for that first lap.”

Powers bounced from group to group during the middle of the race, and at one point was riding in no-man’s land. But he struggled to  make up time on the leaders, and eventually settled into the mid-30’s.

The sandy course in Zolder usually drains well, but the torrential rain that fell on Saturday left the course a muddy mess on Sunday. Powers said that the unusually sloppy conditions didn’t help his bid to gain places.

“It was definitely hard,” he said. “The course was changing, but the ruts were super deep for our race. A lot of these steep bits hurt me, even more than at the World Cup last time, just that extra climb. Doing that eight times was hard on me. My back, specifically, was killing me today.”

By all accounts, Powers has had an impressive season, including a sixth place at the World Cup race at CrossVegas — one of the best ever in the elite men’s race by an American — and a fourth national title a few weeks ago.

But he told VeloNews on Sunday that he struggled to maintain his form and focus late in the season. Powers’s results on the World Cup circuit reflect his comments. Powers was 31st at last weekend’s World Cup in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands, and 23rd at the previous weekend’s World Cup in France. He finished the season ranked 26th in the series.

“When I think back to Rochester, or even before that, it’s just a long time ago,” he said. “It always is. I wouldn’t say things are bad. It’s just not a great result for me, period.”

Powers will finish his season with a race in Japan, but said after the championship race that he was ready for a break.

“I can tell when it’s time, and it’s definitely time,” he said. “It’s February.”

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Worlds fans pelt van der Haar with beer, spit http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/worlds-fans-pelt-van-der-haar-with-beer-spit_394292 Sun, 31 Jan 2016 17:23:09 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394292 Bad fans at Sunday's cross worlds spat, threw beer at van der Haar

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Some fans at Sunday’s UCI world championships took to throwing beer and even spitting on riders during the elite men’s race. After finishing second to Belgian Wout van Aert, Dutch rider Lars van der Haar said he weathered the abuse during his effort.

“There were some points in the course where [fans] were spitting on me, and I got a lot of beer on me,” van der Haar said. “At that moment you’re so focused on the race and you’re doing your own thing, that you’re not really paying attention to that.”

Video from the race confirmed that van Aert was splashed by beer in at least one corner of the Zolder course.

Heckling is endemic to cyclocross, but fans occasionally take things too far. In 2012 Belgian great Sven Nys abandoned his bicycle during a bp Post Bank Trophy race and chased a fan who had pelted him with a cup of beer. In 2006 Belgian rider Bart Wellens kicked a heckling spectator during a round of the World Cup. The 2014 Cross Vegas event was also marred by beer spraying.

Van der Haar gapped the field midway through the eight-lap race, and rode with a 20-second gap over his chasers. That’s when fans at the Zolder race track began booing the young Dutchman and pelting him with liquids.

Van Aert eventually caught van der Haar, setting up a dramatic finish.

At the post-race press conference, van der Haar said some fans were, “not so respectful,” while the majority of fans cheered him on. The abuse, he said, did not impact the overall outcome of the race.

“No, some guy next to me influenced that result,” van der Haar said, pointing at van Aert.

After the race, some riders and fans took to Twitter to discuss the abuse.

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Results: 2016 UCI cyclocross world championships, under-23 men, elite men http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/cyclocross/results-2016-cyclocross-world-championships-u23-men-elite-men_394282 Sun, 31 Jan 2016 16:08:22 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394282 Wout Van Aert wins the elite men's race at cyclocross world championships in Zolder, Belgium.

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  • 1. Wout VAN AERT, (BEL), 1:05:52
  • 2. Lars VAN DER HAAR, (NED), 1:05:57
  • 3. Kevin PAUWELS, (BEL), 1:06:27
  • 4. Sven NYS, (BEL), 1:06:31
  • 5. Mathieu VAN DER POEL, (NED), 1:06:39
  • 6. David VAN DER POEL, (NED), 1:06:55
  • 7. Laurens SWEECK, (BEL), 1:07:03
  • 8. Tom MEEUSEN, (BEL), 1:07:15
  • 9. Radomir SIMUNEK, (CZE), 1:07:29
  • 10. Marcel MEISEN, (GER), 1:07:35
  • 11. Clément VENTURINI, (FRA), 1:07:53
  • 12. Michael VANTHOURENHOUT, (BEL), 1:08:07
  • 13. Stan GODRIE, (NED), 1:08:20
  • 14. Lars BOOM, (NED), 1:08:29
  • 15. Francis MOUREY, (FRA), 1:08:35
  • 16. Michael BOROS, (CZE), 1:08:38
  • 17. Thijs VAN AMERONGEN, (NED), 1:08:38
  • 18. Corne VAN KESSEL, (NED), 1:08:42
  • 19. Philipp WALSLEBEN, (GER), 1:08:52
  • 20. Steve CHAINEL, (FRA), 1:09:00
  • 21. Sascha WEBER, (GER), 1:09:07
  • 22. Julien TARAMARCAZ, (SUI), 1:09:13
  • 23. Stephen HYDE, (USA), 1:09:23
  • 24. Simon ZAHNER, (SUI), 1:09:23
  • 25. Niels WUBBEN, (NED), 1:09:32
  • 26. Tim MERLIER, (BEL), 1:09:35
  • 27. Javier RUIZ DE LARRINAGA IBANEZ, (ESP), 1:09:48
  • 28. Ian FIELD, (GBR), 1:09:56
  • 29. Martin HARING, (SVK), 1:10:18
  • 30. Lukas WINTERBERG, (SUI), 1:10:21
  • 31. Lars FORSTER, (SUI), 1:10:38
  • 32. Ismael ESTEBAN AGUANDO, (ESP), 1:11:02
  • 33. Severin SAEGESSER, (SUI), 1:11:20
  • 34. Jeremy POWERS, (USA), 1:11:21
  • 35. Yannick ECKMANN, (USA), 1:12:37
  • 36. Chris JONGEWAARD, (AUS), 1:12:52
  • 37. Liam KILLEEN, (GBR), 1:12:56
  • 38. Garry MILLBURN, (AUS), 1:13:05
  • 39. Travis LIVERMON, (USA), 1:13:06
  • 40. Aaron SCHOOLER, (CAN), 1:13:06
  • 41. Allen KRUGHOFF, (USA), 1:13:31
  • 42. Jeremy MARTIN, (CAN)
  • 43. Anthony CLARK, (USA)
  • 44. Christian HELMIG, (LUX)
  • 45. Michael VAN DEN HAM, (CAN)
  • 46. Gusty BAUSCH, (LUX)
  • 47. Kenneth HANSEN, (DEN)
  • 48. Mariusz GIL, (POL)
  • 49. David FLETCHER, (GBR)
  • 50. Angus EDMOND, (NZL)
  • 51. Cameron JETTE, (CAN)
  • 52. Martin ERIKSSON, (SWE)
  • 53. Fredrik HARALDSETH, (NOR)
  • 54. Hikaru KOSAKA, (JPN)
  • 55. Yu TAKENOUCHI, (JPN)
  • 56. Jeremy DURRIN, (USA)
  • 57. Mark MCCONNELL, (CAN)
  • 58. Karl Heinz GOLLINGER, (AUT)
  • 59. Philipp HEIGL, (AUT)

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Van Aert outlasts Van der Haar in Zolder http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/van-aert-outlasts-van-der-haar-in-zolder_394277 Sun, 31 Jan 2016 15:55:17 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394277 Belgium's Wout Van Aert prevails in muddy battle with Mathieu van der Poel and Lars van der Haar of the Netherlands.

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After a daylong battle between Belgium and the Netherlands’ top cyclocross riders, Belgian Wout van Aert won Sunday’s elite cyclocross world championships in dramatic fashion after reeling in Dutchman Lars van der Haar on the penultimate lap.

Van Aert, 21,  took the biggest win of his career just one week after wrapping up the UCI World Cup overall, and two years after winning the U-23 world championships.

“It was a crazy day and I worked hard for this championship the last few weeks,” van Aert said after the race. “To be honest, all season.”

Van Aert’s victory will undoubtedly go down as a cyclocross legend, considering the catastrophe he overcame at the event’s midpoint. Van Aert was riding just behind pre-race favorite Mathieu van der Poel, when a tight, left-hand turn forced the Dutchman to dismount. Van de Poel stepped directly into van Aert’s front wheel, and his foot became entangled in the spokes.

The mishap allowed van der Haar to open up a sizable gap on the field, and forced van Aert and van der Poel to waste valuable time untangling the mess, as other riders sped ahead.

After he freed himself, van Aert gave chase. After two laps, he eventually reeled in van der Haar, setting up the two-man finish.

“It was stupid for both of us, but afterward I kept my head cool, and I was really quickly into a good rhythm,” van Aert said. “To be honest, I have to thank [van der Poel] because afterwards I came into my really good rhythm and I just went full gas after this incident. And maybe it was something I needed to become world champion.”

In the laps before the incident, the race quickly evolved into a slugfest between cyclocross’ two dominant nations. Van der Poel, van Aert and van der Haar quickly separated themselves from the pack, with Belgians Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels riding on their heels. Van Aert eventually slowed the pace to allow his Belgian countrymen to catch back on.

After van Aert’s incident, the race appeared to be in the hands of van der Haar, who maintained a 20-second gap for much of the race’s second half.

“The other guys couldn’t hold my wheel at that moment, so I think that my attack was on the perfect moment,” van der Haar said.

But van Aert refused to roll over, and gradually reeled in the Dutchman, making contact on the penultimate lap. On the final lap, the two took turns surging into the course’s various sections. Van der Haar appeared to grab the advantage on a sketchy, slick descent, only to have van Aert close the gap on the ensuing uphill.

Van Aert’s winning effort came on the final uphill run. Van der Haar attempted to ride the incline, but stopped midway to dismount his bicycle. After the race, he admitted he was in the wrong gear for the climb.

“I made one mistake, and that was the chain wasn’t on the small ring but on the big ring,” Van der Haar said. “And yeah, that’s a bit sour going home.”

Van Aert had enough time to raise his arms for the win. Behind him, countryman Pauwels took third, with Nys finishing fourth in his final elite race before retirement. Van der Poel sat up at the finish, rolling across in fifth.

Van Aert entered the race as a second-tier favorite behind van der Poel, who won the final four rounds of the UCI World Cup. The Belgian said he did not let the pre-race hype get to his head.

“I think all nations were expecting a one-man show of Mathieu van der Poel,” van Aert said. “I was really relaxed. I believed in my chance.”

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Cookson confirms ‘technological fraud’ at cyclocross worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/first-technological-fraud-case-rocks-cycling-world_394276 Sun, 31 Jan 2016 15:49:07 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394276 UCI's Brian Cookson confirms that cheating was uncovered at 'cross worlds: "It's absolutely clear that there was technological fraud."

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HEUSDEN-ZOLDER, Belgium (AFP) — UCI president Brian Cookson confirmed on Sunday that a Belgian cyclist had been caught cheating at cyclocross world championships, using a concealed motor on a bike being. Femke Van den Driessche, an athlete in the under-23 category is the first rider to be snared by the UCI’s bike checks in a top-level competition.

“It’s absolutely clear that there was technological fraud. There was a concealed motor. I don’t think there are any secrets about that,” UCI president Brian Cookson told a news conference.

The bike was seized on Saturday after Van den Driessche, one of the race favorites, was forced to withdraw from the women’s under-23 race because of a mechanical problem. The 19-year-old denied that she had used a bike with a concealed motor on purpose, saying that it was identical to her own but belonged to a friend and that a team mechanic had given it to her by mistake before the race.

“It wasn’t my bike, it was that of a friend and was identical to mine,” a tearful Van den Driessche told Belgian TV channel Sporza. “This friend went around the course Saturday before dropping off the bike in the truck. A mechanic, thinking it was my bike, cleaned it and prepared it for my race,” she added, insisting that she was “totally unaware” it was fitted with a hidden motor.

“I feel really terrible. I’m aware I have a big problem. [But] I have no fears of an inquiry into this. I have done nothing wrong,” she said.

If found guilty of cheating the rider faces disqualification, a six-month suspension and a fine of up to 200,000 Swiss francs (180,000 euros, $195,000).

“We’ve heard some stories for a long time now about the possibility of this. We have been alive to a potential way that people might cheat and we have been testing a number of bikes and a number of events for several months,” Cookson said.

“I am committed and the UCI is committed to protecting the riders who do not want to cheat in whatever form and to make sure that the right riders win the race.

“We have been looking at different methods of testing this kind of technology and we tested a number of bikes yesterday and one was found.

“We will keep testing both at this event and subsequent events. Whether this means that there is widespread use of this form of cheating remains to be seen.

Cookson said that the matter would next go before the UCI’s disciplinary commission.

Etixx team manager Patrick Lefevere called for a “lifetime suspension for the cheat,” while Belgian national team coach Rudy De Bie was outraged by the discovery. “I never thought that such schemes were possible. It’s a scandal that Femke’s entourage have deceived the Belgian federation,” he said.

However, it isn’t the first time eyebrows have been raised over suspicions of “mechanical doping” — the term used for bikes found to have a hidden motor inside the wheels or frame that serves as an illegal aid to the rider.

Last year’s Tour de France champion Chris Froome faced accusations of using a motorized bicycle, while Fabian Cancellara’s 2010 victory in the Tour of Flanders also stirred a debate. He denied the accusations before, a week later, racing off into the distance to win Paris-Roubaix even more impressively.

 

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Iserbyt wins U23 worlds after Toupalik celebrates early http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/iserbyt-wins-u23-worlds-after-toupalik-celebrates-early_394270 Sun, 31 Jan 2016 15:08:18 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394270 Iserbyt wins U23 worlds after Toupalik celebrates early

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Belgian rider Eli Iserbyt won Sunday’s Under-23 Men’s World Cyclocross Championship in a two-up sprint with Czech rider Adam Toupalik. Iserbyt, who was runner-up at last year’s junior world championship, also won the U23 World Cup overall this year.

The day’s drama, however, came on the penultimate lap, when then-leader Toupalik raised his hands in victory after crossing the finish line, thinking he’d won the race. Toupalik soon realized he had another lap to go, but the hesitation allowed Iserbyt and Belgian rider Quinten Hermans to catch up.

After the race, Iserbyt said he felt Toupalik lost focus and momentum after the blunder.

“I knew his focus wasn’t in the last lap because he thought it had been the finish,” Iserbyt said. “It was an advantage for me.”

Toupalik said the confusion occurred after he heard fans shouting “last lap” as he navigated the muddy course in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. The Czech rider said the shouts convinced him he was on his way to victory.

“Somebody was shouting, ‘last lap last lap,’ so I kept pushing, pushing and was not focused on the [lap] numbers,” Toupalik said. “And then I said ‘Oh, there is something wrong,’ but I didn’t have enough energy in the last lap as the lap before.”

Toupalik attacked on the final lap but was unable to shed the two Belgian riders. Hermans finished third, with Belgian rider Thijs Aerts in fourth.

Americans Logan Owen and Curtis White struggled in the muddy conditions, which slowed the race down and required riders to muscle through many sections Owen, the two-time defending U-23 national champion, spent the day chasing the leaders and eventually finished 13th.

Owen said his race hinged on a short, steep climb on the race’s backside, which required a huge power output to navigate.

“I wasn’t strong enough to ride it, and that’s where I lost the race today,” Owen said. “I was able to do everything else as fast as the front group, but [the hill] is what made me not able to keep up.”

White rocketed to the front of the race from the gun, but was distanced after the first lap, and spent much of the day chasing. He finished 18th. “It’s a solid result,” White said. “I was hoping for more.”

After the race, winner Iserbyt said he plans to remain in the U-23 ranks next year, instead of stepping into the elite field. “I will maybe do one or two [elite races],” he said. “I’m not ready for the elite races yet.”

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Antonneau makes strides in muddy Zolder http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/antonneau-makes-strides-in-muddy-zolder_394266 Sun, 31 Jan 2016 01:40:09 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394266 "I’m just so happy. I couldn’t ask for better,” says Antonneau, who was the top American finisher at cyclocross worlds in Zolder,

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ZOLDER, Belgium (VN) — Saturday was a bleak day for cyclocross, and not just because of the monumentally bad weather that battered riders and fans on the former Formula One track in Zolder, Belgium. On a day of gloomy weather, gloomy crowds, and even gloomier news, American Kaitie Antonneau’s eighth-place finish was a ray of sunshine piercing the darkness.

“I’m super, super happy,” Antonneau told VeloNews after the race. “I’m proud to finish off the season on a good note. I finally got my top-10 world championship in Europe, and that’s my best place. So I’m super happy. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Antonneau’s ride in Zolder capped a fantastic season, one during which she took the biggest strides yet in her still young career. In October, the 24 year-old earned her first World Cup podium place, finishing second behind Italian Eva Lechner, at the second race of the series in Valkenburg, Netherlands. She followed that up with a top-10 finish in Namur, Belgium, in December and a fifth-place finish in the penultimate World Cup in Lignières-en-Berry, France.

On Saturday, Antonneau battled again with Lechner and with Luxembourg champion Christine Marjerus, but she also battled a stupendously sloppy course and some of the worst weather the sport has seen during an unusually temperate season.

“Oh man, it was totally night and day from any time I’ve ever done this course,” she said. “It was still fast, but it was just muddy and it just changed the way that — you know, by the last lap my arms were tired, because when this course is dry there are parts where you can rest. But it’s technical this time, so it just made it hard the whole time. It was exhausting.”

In 2011, when Antonneau was still a protege of perennial U.S. national champion Katie Compton, Compton predicted Antonneau’s ride.

“She’s such a hard worker and a talented rider; just a really nice girl,” said Compton then. “She’s learning fast, and she’s got so much potential. She’s going to develop as a bike racer on the road, on track, on the mountain bike, and in ‘cross. I just want to see her develop as a bike racer, and 10 years from now, be an Olympian.”

But increasingly, Antonneau has been the ‘Kaitie’ to beat in American cyclocross. On Saturday she finished nearly a minute ahead of her similarly-named mentor, an achievement by any measure, much less at a foul weather world championships. The two still share a close relationship, and Compton was quick with a huge and congratulations on the finish line.

For Antonneau, though, the biggest prize remains the progress she is making. At only 24 she still has plenty of room to grow. And, if this season is any measure, she’s headed to great places.

“The French World Cup where I was fifth … If only that had happened I would have walked away super happy,” she said of her most successful season yet. “But to be on the podium at the World Cup, to have two top-fives and the finish here, I’ve grown so much this season. I’m just so happy. I couldn’t ask for better.”

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Sven Nys prepares for a final championship race http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/cyclocross/sven-nys-prepares-for-a-final-championship-race_394241 Sat, 30 Jan 2016 18:58:22 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394241 Two-time world champion Sven Nys talks about what to expect in his final outing at UCI cyclocross championships in Zolder, Belgium.

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ZOLDER, Belgium (VN) — Sunday’s elite men’s world championship race will be the last for Belgium’s undisputed heavyweight champion of cyclocross, Sven Nys. Though Nys has won only two world titles in his career, he is arguably the most successful rider in the history of the sport. At 39 he will retire this year and take over the Telenet-Fidea team, which he and a group of backers purchased in December.

VeloNews caught up with Nys on Friday to talk about his feelings ahead of his final championship race, his Belgian team, and how to beat race favorite Mathieu van der Poel.

VeloNews: What are your emotions ahead of the race tomorrow? It’s your final world championships.

Sven Nys: Well there are not many emotions for the moment. It feels like it’s a normal world championships for me, and maybe that’s a reason that I feel it’s OK that I’m going to retire. For the moment, I don’t feel anything different than the years before. It’s just business as usual, that’s what I feel. It’s crazy, but it’s like this.

VN: How do you feel about your preparation for the race?

SN: For me, it was really important to have two really good results the last two World Cups, in France and in Holland, and that was not what I got. So it’s, mentally, not ok to have that result two weeks before the worlds.

But maybe I was a bit tired. I had the most races during the the Christmas period, and a race before France in Zonnebeke. So maybe that’s the reason.

I trained also maybe a little bit too hard the days before Hoogerheide. And I felt that the basic condition is OK, but my explosion, my power was not there. And if you can rest three, four days after Hoogerheide, then you feel that it’s coming back a little bit. And that’s what I need to have a good result in Zolder.

So, okay, we’ll see. It would be better that I had a good result in Hoogerheide, but it’s like this, and it’s okay.

VN: What do you hope for on Sunday?

SN: I hope that I have the feeling that the power is in my legs, that I can have one hour full gas, full power, and then I can have a result like I had during the season: going for the podium, going for the top five. I think that is possible when I have my maximum capacity.

VN: Can you be satisfied when you don’t win?

SN: Definitely. I think that you see during the season that there are two guys who are stronger than us. I beat Wout in Koksijde, but it’s a completely different track. When we could race today on a track like Koksijde, then it’s different, then there could happen many more things than here in Zolder. It’s more technical, it’s more — when you have stress over there you can make so many mistakes. Here that’s completely different.

Okay, it’s going to rain, and that helps me a bit. But we’ll see. I’m ready for the race, and I’m going to do my best to have a good result.

VN: Mathieu van der Poel is the big favorite. You’re about to take over the Telenet-Fidea team and be a team manager. What would you tell your guys to do tactically to try and neutralize Mathieu?

SN: Stay as long as possible in his wheel. Don’t work. Let him do the work because he is the big favorite. And then he’s going to be nervous. And in the other way, when there is a problem with Wout in the beginning of the race and he loses a lot of places, another guy from our country needs to help him. Definitely on the road, so he can sit out of the wind and come back a few seconds, that’s going to help him. He’s going to recover a bit, and maybe he can take a place again in the first group.

So, it’s not so difficult. You need to follow Mathieu, but don’t work with him. Let him do the work. Then he’s going to be nervous and then you can do something.

VN: Do you think the Belgians can work together as a team, or do you think ego and ambition could get in the way of that?

SN: In cyclocross, it’s not so easy to work together. But if there is a problem, you can help each other. And mentally, that helps the rider who is in really good shape.

You can’t say, ‘Okay, we’re going to ride in a group, Belgians, and we’re going to create a strong group that goes to Mathieu. That’s not possible, that’s not cyclocross. But on the other hand, if there is a problem, you can help each other. And if you know that that there are guys from the same country who are going to help you, mentally that’s important.

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Jingle Cross confirmed for 2016-17 CX World Cup http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/jingle-cross-confirmed-for-2016-17-cx-world-cup_394244 Sat, 30 Jan 2016 18:44:02 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394244 Iowa City race organizers have confirmed that their cyclocross event will be part of the 2016-17 UCI cyclocross World Cup.

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Jingle Cross race organizers confirmed Saturday that their cyclocross race, held in Iowa City, will be part of next year’s UCI cyclocross World Cup series.

The race, traditionally held in late November or early December (hence the Christmas theme), will move to the weekend of September 24-25, 2016, with the elite World Cup racing happening on Saturday.

“We are very excited that the UCI has selected Jingle Cross and the city of Iowa City as a host event for the UCI World Cup,” said Jingle Cross founder and race director John Meehan. “We have been recognized as an outstanding cyclo-cross race by professional riders, recreational amateurs, spectators, and fans for many years here in North America. Now the world can see our amazing event.”

CrossVegas, the first-ever UCI World Cup held in North America, confirmed that it too will be part of the series again in 2016.

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‘Technological fraud’ discovered at Zolder cyclocross worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/uci_detains_bike_cyclocross_worlds_394233_394233 Sat, 30 Jan 2016 17:48:59 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394233 UCI official: “For the UCI, this is the first time we have established a technical fraud and for us that’s a downer. Most people are

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ZOLDER, Belgium (VN) — In what appears to be a first in cycling, the International Cycling Union confirmed that it had impounded the bike of Belgian rider Femke van den Driessche following the women’s under-23 championship race Saturday. Van den Driessche was a pre-race favorite, thanks to solid results in the World Cup and a stunning second-place finish at the Koppenbergcross, one of the most difficult races on the calendar, in November.

In an interview with Belgian TV network Sporza, Peter Van den Abeele, UCI’s off-road manager, said the bike was caught thanks to new technology the UCI has been developing for several years. “For the UCI, this is the first time we have established a technical fraud and for us that’s a downer. Most people are bewildered [by this].

“Was this a specific control? We’ve been doing tests for a while now at the world championships. In recent years, there’s been some hoopla, and we’ve adapted the technology. The people of the UCI’s technology commission were here in force with good equipment.”

A separate report on Sporza filled in some of the apparent details of what exactly happened.

“After one lap of the world championships, UCI took Femke’s bike in the pit area and tested it with some sort of tablet,” said Sporza journalist Maarten Vangramberen. “The bike was immediately sealed and taken. The UCI then called in the Belgian federation. When the saddle was removed, there were electrical cables in the seat tube. When they wanted to remove the bottom bracket, which is normally not difficult, they could not because the crank was stuck. Inside there was a motor.”

Van den Driessche’s day did not go according to plan. The race was battered by drenching rain and blustery winds, and she did not manage to crack the top 10, abandoning the race with one lap to go, with a broken chain. Whether there was a connection between her departure from the race and the technical control of her bike remains unclear.

The Belgian rides for the Kleur Op Maat-Nodrugs cycling team, on Wilier bikes. And it was, apparently, a Wilier that she was on when the control happened.

“I feel really terrible,” Belgian national team coach Rudy De Bie told Sporza. “This is a disgrace. I never imagined something like this would happen to our team. Why would a rider do this? Especially at such a young age. And who is responsible for her? I’m embarrassed on her behalf.”

A report in the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, meanwhile, quoted her father as saying that the bike in question was not used in competition.

“It’s not Femke’s bike,” he reportedly said. “Someone from her team, who sometimes trains with her, brought the bike to the pit. But it was never the intention that she would ride it. … Femke has absolutely not used that bike in the race. We are strongly affected by what’s happened. Femke is totally upside-down.”

According to UCI rules, technological fraud is punishable by disqualification, a suspension at least six months, and a fine of up to 200,000 Swiss francs. A team found guilty of mechanical fraud also could face a suspension and a fine as large as one million francs.

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De Jong sticks late attack to win women’s CX title http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/race-report/394207_394207 Sat, 30 Jan 2016 15:03:58 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394207 Thalita de Jong takes a win for the Netherlands at 'cross worlds ahead of France's Caroline Mani and Belgium's Sanne Cant

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Thalita de Jong claimed the women’s world cyclocross championship title for the Netherlands Saturday on a muddy course in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. Caroline Mani of France nabbed the silver medal, while Belgium’s Sanne Cant settled for the last step on the podium.

After a junior men’s race and an under-23 women’s race both decided by long solo attacks, the women’s elite event was a hotly contested battle well into the final lap, with no one rider successfully detaching herself from the head of affairs until late on in the race.

Despite attempts to open things up, the field completed the first lap still relatively compact. Midway through lap two, a strong quartet managed to open up a bit of separation at the front of the pack. Mani and Cant were in the mix along with the Netherlands’ Sophie de Boer and Britain’s Nikki Harris. De Jong was not, trailing the leaders by several seconds by the time they completed the second lap.

But the 22-year-old Dutch rider started to work her way up to the head of the race and gradually closed down the gap to the foursome at the front throughout the third lap. By the time the leaders rolled across the finish line for the penultimate time, four had become five.

Cant launched a powerful attack at the start of the last lap and did not take her foot off the accelerator for several minutes, but de Jong was able to stay on her wheel. Then, when Cant appeared to flag, de Jong made her own move on a tough uphill stretch, immediately opening up an advantage.

Cant worked hard to try to close down the gap to de Jong, but she could not reel the Dutch rider back in. She then watched Mani sail by to claim second place.

“I caught the front group that [last] lap and I thought I had to take the lead on the heaviest part, with the wind in front of us,” de Jong said. “And then I saw that the others couldn’t pass me anymore, so I pushed, pushed, pushed on my pedals. And I had a gap. So I thought, ‘Go, go, go to the finish line.’ And I didn’t see anyone anymore.”

De Jong, known as much for her road riding as for her cyclocross ability, managed to exceed her low expectations coming into the race.

“I didn’t think I could win,” she said. “I believed I could do a really nice race, it’s a pretty nice course for me. It’s a course for road riders, a lot of straight parts in it. But because of the rain, today and yesterday evening, it’s become more slippery and more technical.

“Today I was a little bit scared, but I thought I’m going to do the race like I do every weekend and we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

De Jong’s ride earns her a year in the rainbow jersey, succeeding 2015 worlds winner Pauline Ferrand-Prevot of France, absent from the race this year due to a knee injury. Sanne Cant, who has dominated the women’s ‘cross circuit thus far this season, had been the favorite to take the title, but she did not quite have the legs Saturday.

“[I attacked] too early, I know that,” Cant said. “But I had to choose between the first or the last place in the group, so I chose the first one. But [de Jong] passed me and she rode away. So she was the strongest.”

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CX worlds: Evie Richards claims U-23 women’s victory http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/race-report/evie-richards-takes-u23-cross-worlds-win_394203 Sat, 30 Jan 2016 14:18:59 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394203 Britain's Evie Richards bested Czech rider Nicolas Noskova and Maud Kaptheijns of the Netherlands in the U-23 women's race at 'cross worlds

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HEUSDEN-ZOLDER, Belgium (AFP) — British rider Evie Richards won the U-23 women’s race Saturday at cyclocross worlds in Belgium. Nicolas Noskova of the Czech Republic and Maud Kaptheijns of the Netherlands settled for the lower steps of the podium behind the 18-year-old, who spent much of the race riding solo off the front.

Richards is an accomplished mountain biker as well, but Saturday’s race was her first ever international ‘cross event.

“It feels amazing. I can’t believe it,” Richards said. “I missed out on the mountain bike world jersey so to get it in ‘cross in my first one it just feels amazing. And my mom and dad were watching today so I’m happy to make them proud watching me.”

Belgium’s Femke Van den Driessche, among the top favorites for the title, abandoned mid-race after several mechanical problems.

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Jens Dekker nabs juniors title at ‘cross worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/race-report/jens-dekker-claims-junior-cross-title_394197 Sat, 30 Jan 2016 13:31:43 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394197 Dutchman Jens Dekker takes junior 'cross title ahead of France's Mickael Crispin and Thomas Bonnet

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HEUSDEN-ZOLDER, Belgium (AFP) — Jens Dekker rode to a juniors title at the cyclocross world championships Saturday on a rainy afternoon in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. The 17-year-old Dutchman, ranked number one in the world in the juniors category, took the victory solo ahead of a French duo of Mickael Crispin and Thomas Bonnet.

“The start was the most important thing,” Dekker said. “I knew I that normally I would be the best, so I made sure to start very well and take the lead, and then I tried to get away.”

Dekker has been head and shoulders above the competition all season long, having already won the World Cup, the Dutch national championship, and European championship at the juniors level.

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Video: GCN previews CX worlds with Jeremy Powers http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/video/video-gcn-previews-cx-worlds-with-jeremy-powers_394191 Fri, 29 Jan 2016 21:09:57 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394191 Global Cycling Network takes a spin on the Zolder cyclocross world championships course with American Jeremy Powers.

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Editor’s note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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Van Aert happy playing the underdog at cyclocross worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/van-aert-happy-playing-the-underdog-at-cyclocross-worlds_394185 Fri, 29 Jan 2016 20:06:29 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394185 Wout Van Aert is keeping a cool head ahead of the season's biggest race in front of the home crowd on Belgian soil this Sunday.

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ZOLDER, Belgium (VN) — Reigning world champion Mathieu van der Poel may be favored to repeat as world champion in Sunday’s elite championship race in Zolder, thanks to a strong showing in the past month of ‘cross racing. But it’s Belgian champion Wout Van Aert who has been the king of cyclocross for most of the season, and it’s Van Aert who will have the highly partisan home crowd behind him come race time.

Van Aert narrowly missed out on a chance to wear the rainbow stripes at last year’s championships in the Czech Republic, finishing second despite a host of technical problems during the race. But this year is another chance, and he seems unlikely to repeat last year’s mistakes. VeloNews caught up with the race’s top underdog in Zolder for a chat about his chances, his preparation, and his feelings about leading his country in front of the home fans in Sunday’s race.

Q: How are you feeling ahead of the race on Sunday? What’s your mentality right now?

A: For now I feel really relaxed. I have the feeling I’ve already achieved a lot of beautiful things this season. So I can already be happy with that. I think the stress will come up on Sunday morning. I’m motivated, but that’s all. I would really like to go for the world title, but I can be relaxed until Sunday.

Q: How much pressure do you feel because the race is in Belgium? The fans are going to want you to win very, very much.

A: A lot of people expect something from me, and also from all the Belgians. But I’ve learned to live with that feeling, and I think the only pressure I need to feel is the pressure I put on myself. So I think that’s important to know. For me, I learned a lot in the last year, and I think that’s why I can be relaxed at this moment. That’s really important.

Q: How do you keep from getting caught up in the excitement of the race, from going out too hard or making mistakes?

A: I learned a few tricks for that, but I think it’s really important to enjoy the crowd and not be afraid of it. That’s one important thing to keep in your mind before. I think you have to see it as something positive. There are a lot of people who will be out there on Sunday, a lot of Belgians for sure. I think they’ll support me, but they only can give me a boost.

Q: You said in some interviews last week you had specifically trained on, and for, this course. Can you talk a bit about how you prepared for the race?

A: We saw already at the World Cup right after Christmas that it’s a really explosive course. You really need to accelerate many times during the lap, and normally that’s not my best quality. I love more the long, straight parts. When we knew that after the Christmas World Cup, we worked on it in Spain and really worked on some attacks and steep parts and things like that. And I think that will work out on Sunday. I hope it.

Q: Mathieu is the top favorite. Do you think that gives you any kind of tactical advantage in the race, if people are looking at him and not at you?

A: Yeah, I hope so, but I don’t know. Mathieu is a really strong rider, and his biggest capacity is to stay cool in the head always. He is never impressed by anything. So I think he is going to do his own race. But I know his strenghts after racing with him for so many years. So I think that’s a big advantage for me, I know how to answer his attacks — or I’ll try it, at least — and then we’ll see what the second half of the race brings.

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