The Cyclo-Cross World Championships just ended. By now most everyone who follows cross knows the results.
But just in case not everything is translated into english for us english-speaking fans of the sportm, here are some tidbits of what transpired during the interviews.
For the last weeks, lars boom has been joking with the belgian team saying that he is not threatened by them and doesn't believe they could ever come together to work against him. He even mentioned in an interview in his house that he was only threatened by Stybar, and possibly Belgian racer Kevin Pauwels (Kevin Pauwels?????? the guy who peaked too soon according to Fidea Team Manager). In a post-race interview, Bart Wellens, Sven Nys and Belgian Team Manager Rudy De Bie confirmed that the belgians indeed worked together. This is something that has never been done on the Belgian CX team before.
When Bart Wellens attacked early in the race, the belgians stayed put on the Holland riders' (Thijs Al and Lars Boom) wheel. Once Bart was caught, Niels Albert jumped to the front with Nys on his wheel. When nys realized there was a string of Orange (holland) jerseys on his wheel, he caused a gap to let Niels free.
When Stybar took off in pursuit of Niels, Sven Nys was having a weak moment and couldnt stay on his wheel.
But when Nys took off again, as did Wellens later in the race, they didnt take anyone with them while the rest of the Belgians helped block.
Most of the belgian racers and fans agree that if Lars wouldn't have been so vocal about his antagonizing of the belgian team, they wouldn't have come together to bury him. As they say in Flemish, the belgians "hebben Boom droog in z'n gat gepakt" (english translation: The belgians took Boom dry in the butt). Crude, huh. I guess that's how much Boom pissed them off.
Regarding Niels Alberts' win, he admitted to hiding himself in roubaix and milan so the other riders didnt mark him as a guy to watch. He continued to say that is exactly what he needed to win.
Nys said his inability to stay on Stybar's wheel early in the race was due to a bad moment. He was having a tough lap coincidentally when Stybar took off to chase Niels. It makes sense to me since he jumped away shortly after that on his own to claim the last spot on the podium behind Stybar and Albert. Nys went on to say that every belgian can be proud that he helped the belgian team to claim the win. And that Niels will prove that he is a great athlete over the next few years.
Included in the string of interviews was Ellen, Niels' girlfriend of eight years. She was absolutely beaming with excitement. Considering Niels is 23, that makes them a couple from the age of 15! Shortly, Niels plans to move out of his parents' home so he and his girlfriend can live together.
I dont know what eventually happened to Jonathan Page but earlier in the race he got caught up on a pole in a u-turn - or maybe that was Jeremy Powers who had a strong race for 35th i think.
Regarding the womens race, my first choice was obviously Katie Compton (i must admit that this is partly so there will be an extra Worlds Team spot awarded to USA for next year). But if she didnt win, my second choice was easily Marianne Vos. I love her. She is so sweet, humble and down to earth. Before some races, she even camps in her mobilehome with her dad and brother. No high class hotel for her! I interviewed her recently and I especially loved her response to any special pill, food, ritual or preparation she takes before a race. She said that when the fitness is good, the rest doesnt matter. She also describes racing as "playtime" with the other girls. She races because she loves to play and rides because she loves just being on the bike.
I was expecting that USA's Rachel Lloyd to place top ten - closer to fifth, but after watching the race it was clear to me that she spent much of the race at the front, dragging almost ten riders round and round. If she pulled off the front it seemed the other riders would slow the pace down. And on a fast course like that, it is especially tough to break away from other riders. With that in mind, she rode an incredibly admirable race. Georgia Gould who placed a couple spots behind Rachel seemed to have ridden much of the race solo. With a windy course, it only proves that Georgia must have been exceptionally strong on the day.