Successful World Cup debut for Valkenburg

Successful World Cup debut for Valkenburg

Lars VAN DER HAAR (Ned)Young Van der Haar beats the best at Cauberg
Lars van der Haar completed a long solo to grab his first big pro win in Valkenburg. During the third of nine laps Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) was the only rider who matched the speed of the Dutchman. Halfway the race the duo had a sizeable gap on the first chase group but then Pauwels was set afoot when his chain dropped. From there the young leader controlled affairs and always held on to at least a twenty seconds lead. Pauwels needed some time to pick up the pace again and he dropped back in a group with Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and World Champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony). German rider Phlip Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) briefly rode in second place until Pauwels got going again. Nys first lost ground due to a flat tyre before abandoning the race with a broken chain. In front Van der Haar held on to his lead, grabbing his first World Cup victory. Pauwels finished as runner-up at 20s while Walsleben held on to third place at 39s. Last year’s overall World Cup winner Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) rode below par towards an eleventh place.

Vos solo from start to finish
British rider Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) managed the hole shot in the Women category. It was the only moment in the race where World champion Vos allowed another woman to shine on home soil. A few hectometres further up the road Vos took over the command and never looked back. The first chasers were Katherine Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective), Christel Ferrier-Brunea (Faren Kuota), Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Wyman who trailed Vos by 18s after one lap. While Vos kept extending her lead it was Compton who proved to be best of the rest. The American champion rode alone towards second place. During the penultimate lap British champion Harris made her move for the last podium spot. First Ferrier-Bruneau cracked and then also Wyman had to bow her head. At the finish line Vos had a massive lead over Compton. Just under two minutes after Vos it was Harris who managed third ahead of Wyman and Ferrier-Bruneau.

Vanthourenhout holds off Van der Poel

Seemingly unbeatable Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) missed his start in the World Cup on home soil. The Junior Men World champion on the road and cyclo-cross was a back-row starter in Valkenburg as he moved up a category this season. Shortly after the start Van der Poel crashe while in front Belgian riders Michael Vanthourenhout and Wout Van Aert sped away. Halfway the race the latter got dropped while Van der Poel worked his way into third place at 25s from leader Vanthourenhout. When hitting the final lap Van der Poel caught up with Van Aert, trailing Vanthourenhout by only 12s. By then Van der Poel ran out of gas so Vanthourenhout claimed the win in Valkenburg. Van Aert beat Van der Poel in the sprint for second place.

Dubau twins dominate Junior Men category
French rider Lucas Dubau won the Junior Men race in Valkenburg.  Dubau attacked solo in the first lap and was joined by Yannick Peeters (Belgium) during the second lap. Halfway the race Peeters attacked but didn’t hold on to his lead. Little later Dubau accelerated and suddenly Peeters crashed away. Lucas Dubau steamed on towards the win while his twin brother Joshua Dubau also profited from Peeters’ crash and made it a Dubau 1-2 in Valkenburg.
Next Saturday the cyclo-cross peloton lines up in Tabor, Czech Republic for the second round of the World Cup.

Photo: Dutch Lars Van Der Haar wins in Valkenburg

Cyclo-cross: History of the discipline

Cyclo-cross: History of the discipline

SUPERPRESTIGE CYCLO-CROSS - HAMME-ZOGGEGeoff Proctor, cyclo-cross coach (at USA Cycling and World Cycling Centre), speaks about the history of the discipline.

There are many stories about the origins of cyclo-cross. One is that European road racers in the early 1900s would race each other to the next town over from them and that they were allowed to cut through farmer’s fields, over fences or take any other shortcuts in order to make it to the next town first. This was sometimes called steeple chase as the only visible landmark in the next town was often the steeple. This was a way for them to stay in shape during the winter months and put a twist on road racing. Forced running sections, or portage, were incorporated to help deliver warm blood to the feet and toes, as well as exercise other groups of muscles. Daniel Gousseau of France is credited as having inspired the first cyclo-cross races and organized the first French National Championship in 1902.

After Octave Lapize attributed his win in the 1910 Tour de France to his off season training in cyclo-cross the sport began to spread to countries bordering France. Belgium organized its first National Championship in 1910, Switzerland did so in 1912, then Luxembourg in 1923, Spain in 1929 and Italy in 1930.

Cyclo-cross proved itself as a sport extending beyond the boundaries of France when in 1924 the first international race, Le Critérium International de Cross-Country Cyclo-Pédestre, was held in Paris.

Like many international cycle sports, cyclo-cross is administered by the Union Cycliste Internationale; although it wasn’t until the 1940s, around 40 years after cyclo-cross’ inception, that the UCI began its regulation and the first world championship was held in Paris in 1950.

Cyclo-cross began to become popular in the US in the 1970s, and in 1975 the first race was held in New England. The first US National Championship was held in Berkeley, CA. The Surf City race series held in Santa Cruz, CA holds a lot of history of cyclo-cross in the US. The sport has experienced a growth in popularity in the US since the mid 90s and now the Pacific Northwest hosts some of the largest events in the country. Cyclo-cross races are now regularly held in the Fall/Winter seasons throughout the USA and continue to grow in popularity.

2013 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup concludes in Southern California

2013 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup concludes in Southern California

at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Chula Vista, CA.The world’s best BMX racers will gather at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, California, this weekend for the fourth and final round of the 2013 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup. 150 riders from 25 countries will start the time trial qualifications on Friday, and the main event will take place on Saturday.

The Chula Vista Olympic Training Centre, home to US BMX Olympic hopefuls, houses three BMX tracks: a standard BMX track, a replica of the 2008 Beijing Olympic track as well as the competition site for this weekend which is similar to the London Olympic track.

Elite Men: Few points separate top two

Dutch rider Jelle Van Gorkom will go into the final round as the leader in the men’s overall standings. With tenth, second and first places in the first three rounds, Van Gorkom has collected 589 points. He holds a slight lead over American Connor Fields, currently ranked second with 575 points after securing third, first and eleventh place finishes earlier in the season.

Elite Women: last race for Arielle Martin
World Cup leader Shanaze Reade (GBR) will not be competing due to injury so all eyes will be on Arielle Martin, who is second in the standings with 523 points. The American has a second place and two sixth-place finishes going into the final round on her home track.  She has announced that this will be her last race so the home crowd will certainly be behind her.
Other favourites to watch include Olympic Champion Mariana Pajon (COL) and Laura Smulders (NED). They head to Chula Vista ranked third and fourth respectively.

Caroline Buchanan: World BMX Champion sets her sights on Mountain Bike Worlds

Caroline Buchanan: World BMX Champion sets her sights on Mountain Bike Worlds

555Competing in her 10th BMX World Championships since 1995, Australia’s Caroline Buchanan finally raced to victory this year at Auckland’s Vector Arena. After leading the race from start to finish, she was barely able to hold back her tears of joy as she crossed the line.

“I have come so close for many years so it was definitely a relief and an amazing experience I will never forget,” explains the woman who the year before was World Champion, Olympic Champion and World Cup winner in the time trial. “In the past I have been known as a time trial specialist but I wanted to break that streak and win the main event. To me, the racing title is much more prestigious.”

Not just a BMX specialist

Her latest world title proves she is not just a time trial specialist. And now she is out to prove that she is not “just” a BMX specialist. In one week she will compete in the downhill at the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa), followed by the Four-Cross World Championships in Leogang (Austria) three weeks later.

“My major goal is to dominate cycling and be more than just a one-trick pony, just a BMX racer,” says Buchanan, who already has two four-cross world titles to her name (2009 and 2010).

So how exactly does she manage to combine training and racing in three disciplines?

“It has been a huge stretch for me to be able to compete at the highest international level in two sports and three disciplines. But it was always a plan of mine after the London Olympic Games to jump back on the big wheels and have some fun on the mountain bike scene.”

In working out a racing schedule that was both physically and logistically possible, it soon became clear that she would have to sit out the UCI BMX Supercross season in favour of the three World Championships, various mountain bike events and the USA BMX Nationals.

Continuing the hype

“I believe the mix of all the racing, having fun on my mountain bike again and competing in the USA BMX national series really prepared me well for the Worlds. The entire year has been non-stop and I love a good challenge so it’s been really nice to continue the hype (from the BMX Worlds) and carry that high into the Crankworx Whistler MTB Festival (2nd place in the pump track challenge– ed) and two more mountain bike events. When one event is over, the box is ticked, it’s a new chapter, new day, new races and the next goals are waiting.”

The next major goal is the downhill World Championships, a title that has eluded her until now.

“Mentally, I am going into this race really happy after winning the BMX title. Physically I know my capacities are more suited to a BMX racer but I will focus on my strengths.”

After the downhill… four-cross

That means attacking the course, giving it all on the pedals, and enjoying the big jumps. She will pull out all the stops, do her best, have fun and then turn to the four-cross Worlds in Austria. Her goal is to claim back the title that she hasn’t won since hanging up her mountain bike to concentrate on BMX for the Olympics. It’s a tough call. Three World Championships in three disciplines that involved different bikes, different tracks, different race formats, different competitors and different energy systems. But, as the experienced champion explains, “at the end of the day it is all about riding bikes as fast as possible and aiming for gold.”

Photo: World BMX Champion Caroline Buchanan would like to add more rainbow jerseys to her collection

UCI Four-cross World Championships: Celebration for Holland and Australia

UCI Four-cross World Championships: Celebration for Holland and Australia

567At 35 years old, the Dutch Joost Wichman is one of the discipline’s “dinosaurs”. The man who was European Champion in 2010 had decided to leave the world four-cross scene after the event in Leogang. Third in 2011 in Champéry, he certainly made sure he went out in style. After an average start in the final, he avoided a crash between the two Czech riders Michael Mechura and Thomas Slavik. Although France’s Quentin Derbier was leading the way for a long time, he couldn’t stave off two rockets: Wichman and Mechura. Joost Wichman followed in the footsteps of Roger Rinderknecht last year by winning his first world title before turning the page of his career. At just 20 years old, Michael Mechura, finished second as he did last year, and can tell himself that he still has some wonderful years of competition ahead of him. For the first time in his career, Quentin Derbier took pride of place on the podium. No French athlete has been on the podium since Saladini’s silver medal in 2009.

Women’s: Buchanan’s exploit

BMX World Champion in Auckland (New Zealand) this summer, Caroline Buchanan was dreaming of a perfect end to the season. She wanted to make her mark on the Downhill Worlds in Pietermaritzburg and the Four-cross in Leogang. After a fifth place in South Africa, she shone through in her final challenge of the season, easily dominating the Austrian events. After clocking up the fastest time in the qualifying rounds, she was never in danger in the final. She took the honours in front of England’s Cathy Curd and France’s Céline Gros. The French athlete won the Downhill World Cup in 2004 and finished third in the Worlds the same year. She now retires after 15 years on the circuit. Buchanan, who will celebrate her 23rd birthday in October, now has three four-cross World titles to her name after 2009 (Canberra) and 2010. In total she now has five World titles with the BMX time trial in 2012 and her win in the main race this year.

Competition continues on Sunday with the DHI World Cup final, to be followed live on redbull.tv.ch