FMB World Tour: People’s Choice Award: Athlete of the Year 2013

FMB World Tour: People’s Choice Award: Athlete of the Year 2013

The next FMB World Tour season is almost under way and the riders are starting their final preparations before the first competition of 2014 begins. In saying that the athlete’s have already competed for their first title of the season: The FMB World Tour People’s Choice Award – Athlete of the Year 2013.

The online competition was fierce with votes coming in from all over the world for different riders. Athletes like the incumbent FMB World Tour Champion Sam Pilgrim as well as Martin Soderstrom, Brett Rheeder, Cam Zink and Thomas Genon were clear favorites. However, it was the top Polish rider, Szymon Godziek who triumphed. His fans and followers pushed hard and supported his nomination for the title. Then, 48 hours before the end of the voting he took over the lead and won the award!

Szymon Godziek is your FMB World Tour Athlete of the Year 2013. Congratulations Szymon!

Bartek Wolinski

We quickly got hold of Szymon to see how he felt about winning the first ever FMB World Tour People’s Choice Award:

With so many great athletes on the list, I wasn’t expecting to win this award but I want to thank everyone who voted for me! Winning Athlete of the Year 2013 has made all my progress and new tricks which I landed pay off. I’m looking forward to competing in 2014 and achieving even better results! Thank you for the support.“ 

Bartek Wolinski

Everyone who voted automatically entered a raffle to win some great prizes. The winners of the FMB World Tour People’s Choice Award raffle will be contacted this week and announced daily on the FMB World Tour Facebook page! So stay tuned!

On behalf of all the athletes, a massive thank you to everyone who voted! Make sure you keep track of the upcoming season and take notes on who YOU think should be the next FMB World Tour Athlete of the Year!

www.fmbworldtour.com/

Stybar beats Nys to take third World title

Stybar beats Nys to take third World title

Zdenek Stybar wins the Elite Mens world championships in 2014

Zdenek Stybar wins the Elite Mens world championships in 2014

A fantastic duel between defending Champion Sven Nys (Belgium) and Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) was the apotheosis of a fantastic 2014 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championship weekend in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. The eight-laps long race on a sunny Sunday afternoon had its climax in the final lap when Czech star Stybar exploited a few minor mistakes from Nys to grab his third world title. A few hours earlier it was Wout Van Aert (Belgium) who captured the rainbow jersey in the Men Under 23 category with a long solo effort.

Stybar didn’t hide away his ambitions and despite his fourth-row start position in the group of 61 starters he quickly moved up through the pack. That was in high contrast with outsider Niels Albert (Belgium) who won the World Championships race on the same course in 2009. Albert had a disastrous start despite his front row start position. Francis Mourey (France) took the best start in Hoogerheide and due to a crash from Martin Bina (Czech Republic) right behind him he was handed a small gap. Nys closed that gap and by the end of the opening lap Stybar already attacked and hit the second lap with a small lead; Albert was twentieth.

As Stybar was unleasing his forces few riders were able to match his speed on the technical course. When Stybar looked back he only saw Nys, Mourey and World Cup winner Lars van der Haar. The first chasers were already 13 seconds down on the four leaders. Stybar and Nys exchanged the lead and halfway the race both Mourey and Van der Haar were dropped. Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) and Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) were moving up from the background. Those four riders would battle for third place. In front several attacks were placed by both Nys and Stybar but each time the other rider was able to neutralize the damage within reasonable time. When hitting the penultimate lap it seemed like Nys was winning on points. Stybar crashed on the same fast right-hand corner where Bina had crashed in the opening lap and Nys once again had a gap. Again, Stybar closed it down. Little later Nys rode Stybar out of the wheels and the Czech was nearly bowing his head. That was until he saw how Nys slipped away at the switchbacks. From there Stybar had the upper hand. He put Nys under pressure and in the most muddy section Nys had to run earlier than he wanted. Stybar received an unexpected bonus and increased his running pace. Little later he exploited another minor mistake from Nys and he was gone for good. Stybar had time to celebrate his victory with Nys crossing the line at short distance. Kevin Pauwels won the battle for third place, finishing at forty seconds from Stybar. Vantornout was fourth at a minute from the winner, just ahead of Tom Meeusen (Belgium) and Van der Haar.

Earlier on Sunday there was a local storm raging, called Wout Van Aert. The 19 year-old Belgian rider wasted no time and unleashed his powers on a sloping uphill section. It was the same section where Stybar ran away from Nys. Most riders tried to ride up the slippery path and suddenly Van Aert ran by all of them. Pre-race favourite Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) and other riders with high ambitions were left gasping for air. In no time Van Aert created a sizeable gap and by the end of the opening lap the first chasers were twenty seconds down on the Belgian leader. Van der Poel was unable to set up a comeback, clearly suffering at the back of the five-man chase group. Little later Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) escaped the chase group, trying to get back to his compatriot in front. Though the European Champion distanced Van der Poel, Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) and Toon Aerts (Belgium), he didn’t get back to Van Aert who rode around flawlessly. Van Aert would reach the finish line with a lead of fifty seconds on Vanthourenhout.

In the battle for third place the Belgians were well placed at the halfway point. Sweeck left Van der Poel and Aerts behind. One lap later also Aerts dropped Van der Poel and joined Sweeck. A Belgian 1-2-3-4 was in the make. Van der Poel didn’t plan to let this happen and picked up speed. During the penultimate lap he closed the gap on the Belgian duo Sweeck-Aerts and then he simply rode them out of the wheels to take the bronze medal at 1:17 from winner Van Aert. Stybar and Van Aert join Women’s winner Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Junior Men winner Thijs Aerts (Belgium) as the four newly crowned UCI Cyclo-cross World Champions.

Next year’s they can defend their title at the 2015 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic.

Vos extends title on home soil and the Belgian Junior Men manage a 1-2-3

Vos extends title on home soil and the Belgian Junior Men manage a 1-2-3

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) offered the home fans a one-woman show during the first day of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands. It’s the sixth consecutive ‘cross title for Vos in the Women category and the seventh of her impressive career.

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) offered the home fans a one-woman show during the first day of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands. It’s the sixth consecutive ‘cross title for Vos in the Women category and the seventh of her impressive career.

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) offered the home fans a one-woman show during the first day of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands. It’s the sixth consecutive ‘cross title for Vos in the Women category and the seventh of her impressive career.

A few hours earlier the Belgian riders gave their numerous fans something to cheer about as they managed a 1-2-3 in the Junior Men category. Thijs Aerts (Belgium) surprised the favourites by grabbing the rainbow jersey on Saturday morning.

The much-anticipated duel between Vos and arch rival Katherine Compton (USA) didn’t happen. While Vos enjoyed a good start on the muddy course in the southwest of the Netherlands Compton was struggling at the back. She collided with Czech rider Pavla Havlikova and needed a lot of time to untangle the bikes. Compton and Havlikova only had a handful of riders behind them when they took off again.

Vos surged forward halfway the opening lap and only fast-started Eva Lechner (Italy) was able to hold her wheel. By the end of the lap Vos also left Lechner behind and she was gone for good. Compton tried to bounce back from her disastrous start and got back to tenth place after the first lap. Vos kept the speed high during the second lap and the gap on Lechner grew up to half a minute. Behind the two first riders a battle was unfolding for third place. At first European Champion Helen Wyman (Great Britain) had the best papers in hand. Her usual fast start brought her in third place but this time around she struggled to hold on to it. Belgian’s Sanne Cant bridged across but also Compton was back in contention for a medal halfway the race.

The comeback race from Compton ended there as she started struggling with the same breathing problems that forced her to abandon the final World Cup round in Nommay last week. While Compton faded back Cant and Wyman battled for the bronze medal. Vos added half a minute on Lechner during the third lap and cruised through the mud towards yet another world title. Lechner impressed as she held on for second place. Wyman exploited a last lap bobble from Cant to get on the final podium spot. A disappointed Compton rolled across the line in ninth place.

Earlier on Saturday the Junior Men battled for their rainbow jersey too. Continuous rain showers turned the course into a slippery muddy affair in which the riders struggled to stay upright. Briefly after the start was given a French rider went over the handlebars at full speed, taking a lot of riders with him.

Once the chaos was over there were ten riders leading the race, including pre-race favourites Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic) and Yannick Peeters (Belgium). Due to the efforts from home rider Joris Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands) that group was split apart in the second lap with Toupalik being the biggest victim. The Belgian were enjoying a numerical advantage and that showed halfway the race. Three Belgian riders were able to ride away while Aerts was sitting on Nieuwenhuis’ wheel in order to get him to close the gap.

Aerts’ tactic paid off in gold. Nieuwenhuis worked hard to keep the gap under control. In front Jelle Schuermans (Belgium) crashed and he took Kobe Goossens (Belgium) with him. Peeters was the sole leader ahead of Nieuwenhuis and Aerts, seemingly heading for the win. That was until Aerts left Nieuwenhuis behind and bridged up to Peeters. On an uphill section Aerts made the difference in impressive style. He rode where all other riders were forced to run. Aerts created a gap which he managed to hold until the finish line. Peeters was second at short distance with Schuermans holding off Nieuwenhuis for third place.

On Sunday the Men Under 23 category have their World Championships race at 11am local time, with the Elite Men following at 3pm. You can follow the races on http://www.youtube.com/ucichannel

UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup: Valkenburg honoured

UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup: Valkenburg honoured

New to the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup calendar in 2013, the Dutch town of Valkenburg has been voted best event of the 2013-2014 season.

New to the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup calendar in 2013, the Dutch town of Valkenburg has been voted best event of the 2013-2014 season.

New to the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup calendar in 2013, the Dutch town of Valkenburg has been voted best event of the 2013-2014 season.

The World Cup awards ceremony took place in Hoogerheide (the Netherlands) on Thursday evening, two days before the start of the World Championships. The Valkenburg organisers took the honours in front of the Belgian hosts Namur and Heusden Zolder.

Composed mainly of riders, the jury was won over by the opening event of the World Cup season last October where the Dutch riders Lars Van der Haar and Marianne Vos were victorious on home ground.  Van der Haar went on to take the overall classification with three victories and four podium spots during the seven-race season.

The ceremony also celebrated the winners of the 2013-2014 season:  Lars Van der Haar (Men), Katherine Compton (Women), Mathieu Van der Poel (Under-23) and Adam Toupalik (Juniors). Around 100 people were at the ceremony, which was only lacking the presence of Mike Plant, President of the UCI Cyclo-cross Commission, who was stranded in Atlanta due to snow.

The calendar for the 2014-2015 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup will be announced after the meeting of the UCI Management Committee on Saturday.

Photo: Winners of the 2013-2014 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup

UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Highest participation since 2010

UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Highest participation since 2010

UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Highest participation since 2010

UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Highest participation since 2010

Until now, the 2010 Cyclo-cross World Championships in Tabor, the Czech Republic, held the record for the highest number of participants. That record, of 229 athletes competing across the four categories, will be equalled this weekend in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.

When the small Dutch town was awarded the 2014 Cyclo-cross World Championships, organiser Jan Prop said: “We want it to be bigger and better than in 2009.” Mission accomplished. For when Hoogerheide hosted the Worlds five years ago, 214 athletes lined up at the start over the two days of competition.

Alongside the traditionally strong European countries, this year’s field includes a more than healthy participation from all over the world. Macedonia and Serbia, both new to the Cyclo-cross World Championships, each has a rider racing in the Junior Men category on Saturday morning. Also of note among the 23 participating countries is Australia, in all categories, and New Zealand with two Elite Men riders including the popular moustached Alex Revell. Japan is well represented with seven athletes, and the United States, one year after hosting the first World Championships ever to be held outside Europe, has arrived in the Netherlands with a full contingent of 22.

There is a positive trend in the women’s field, which sees 45 athletes from 14 nations taking part, compared to 38 riders from 12 countries the last time the Worlds were held in Hoogerheide.

The increase in Junior Men riders is even more remarkable: 59 riders from 19 nations compared with 51 athletes from 15 nations in 2009.

The Junior Men and Elite Women will race on Saturday, followed by the Men Under-23 and Elite Men on Sunday.

Photo: The number of athletes competing this weekend in Hoogerheide will equal the record established in Tabor (CZE) in 2010.