Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cross Worlds Predictions

Any good cross fan will tell you that the elite men's and women's races are tomorrow at Cyclocross World Championships in Sankt Wendel, Germany.  If you haven't been following Das Pro und The Rookie it's worth a look over at www.cyclowhat.com.  Chandler Delinks has put together some pretty funny videos that document his prep for Masters' Worlds in Mol, Belgium side-by-side with Tim Johnson's build up for the race tomorrow.  It's pretty funny and offers some great cycling content when the rest of cycling world pouts about the Contador suspension (is it really a surprise?)

For the women I think this is Katie Compton's year, in spite of her goofy 3/4 length Wonder Woman skinsuits.  I haven't heard any reports of the the leg cramping issues that have plagued her in the past, and when she's on she's a force of nature.  Hanka Kupfernagel is fighting on home soil and will certainly be motivated, but I think she'll wind up second.  She's a lot like Nys and was once dominant and is still consistently in the mix, but she's not the sure thing she once was.  In third I'll go with Marianne Vos because she never seems to give up and can be competitive in just about any  race any time of year in any discipline.  Darkhorses are Gabby Day and Daphne Van Den Brand.

Other notable Americans will be Meredith Miller with a strong ride in 9th and if Georgia Gould lines up she'll be in 13th.

For the Men, I pick Niels Albert to win.  He's been hot lately and I think he'll be the protected rider on the Belgian squad.  The Belgians have been able to band together and gang up on almost everyone else in the 'cross community over the last few years, Stybar's win last year notwithstanding.  Sven Nys will be second in another strong but not dominant performance.  I admire Nys quite a bit, but I think in spite of his massive talent he'll again be bridesmaid at worlds.  In third I pick Stybar.  He'll be solid, but his recent knee issues will keep him off of the top step.  Darkhorses are Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout. 

For the Americans I think Tim Johnson will do the best in 12th, with his teammate Jeremy Powers just behind in 18th.  I have a lot of respect for those guys and I think they'll represent us well, but the podium seems like a stretch.  Jamey Driscoll might squeak into the top 20 as well, and Jonathan Page will be somewhere between 25-30th.  

(pics from Bettini Photo)

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