Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Hoogerheide World Cup, The Netherlands
Going to a World Cup Cross Race is like going to the Super Bowl for me. Wait. No. It's better. WAY BETTER!!! Especially since the stress of my own big race is over with. We got there in time to see the Juniors race, then the U23's. After that there's a big break so I was able to talk to a couple of the PROS
while they warmed up. Marianne Vos seems as happy to see me as I was to meet her. Nothing like a photo op with the most decorated female cyclist in recent history. She was absolutely as sweet as could be. Although I'm pulling for Katie Compton at Worlds, I certainly developed a newfound sweetspot for Marianne.
Then I grabbed a beer and checked out some of the PRO camper setups.
I'm sure you can figure out who's bikes these are. Of course I had to have some frites, and a mystery sausage too.
The flyover comes right after a very hard horshoe turn in the woods on thick loamy, greasy dirt with deep ruts. Making it around the 2nd part of that uphill turn is hard enough, then the riders come out of the woods and have to climb up that beast. It was amazing to see even the best in the world fight to get up the astroturf ramp. My camera battery was extremely low, so I saved it for the men's race, but Katie was awesome and rode away from a very strong Hanka Kupfernagel, as well as Marianne Vos. It was an impressive and dominant display. I had predicted the top 5 before the race and I had all 5 with a couple spots flip flopped, but Katie was my pick for the win.
I also picked my favorite Stevens rider, Neils Albert to win. On a training ride earlier in the week we passed Neils and Phillipe Walsleben on one of the canal bikepaths. It was Wednesday and they were haulin ass! I was coming around a corner and looked up and Neils Friggen Albert was barreling down on me. I lunged over to get out the way while he just held his line and kept drilling it, as if to say "You better get out of my way, you old wanker". Ha ha ha
Stybar got out to an early
lead and looked awesome, but he couldn't hold it. Neils on the other hand had me worried. He didn't look good early. Tim Johnson was on the front of the chase group for almost 2 full laps and I'm telling you, the guy
was absolutely KILLING IT! I was so pumped, first Katie and now Tim. Eventually Neils did his thing and rode up and then away from everyone, making me 2 for 2 in the prediction department.
Of course the king was looking good too. If I had it my way, Sven would win Worlds every year until he retires, but I don't think it'll happen. I hope I'm wrong, but my picks for Worlds go like this.
1. Katie Compton
2. Marianne Vos
3. Hanka Kupfernagle
4. Katerina Nash
5. Sanne Van Passen
1. Neils Albert
2. Zdenek Stybar
3. Kevin Pauwels
4. Sven Nys
5. Klaas Vantournout
6. Francis Mourey
7. Tom Meesuen
8. Bart Aeronouts
9. Philipe Walsleben
10. Tim Johnson
Hopefully Danny Summerhil or Zack McDonald can get in the top 10 in the U23s.
I wish Cross season wasn't over, but the snow is piling up outside my door as I type this. There is one other tidbit I should let you know about next year's Master's Worlds in Kentuckey. The Euros aren't coming. I asked every one of them that I spoke to and not one was even considering it. It's gonna be US Nationals with a few odd Canadians and foriegners. Oh well, I'm pumped for it either way!
Thanks for reading, JB