Posted by Editoress on 01/25/08
The Cyclo-cross World Championships take place tomorrow and Sunday at the Lago le Bandie sports park on the outskirts of Treviso, a centre for the Italian cycling industry, which boasts of companies such as Campagnolo, Pinarello, Wilier and Colnago all within an hour. Tomorrow will see the Junior and Espoir Men on course for 40 and 50 minutes respectively, followed on Sunday by the Elite Women and Men (40 and 60 minutes).
The 3.25 kilometre circuit is a different design from the previous few years - an out and back course rather than a compact one full of twists and turns. This will not make it as spectator friendly as in previous years but, given the drying conditions and the long straights, could make it almost a road race.
After a wide sweeping curve on grass and gravel, and a U-turn, the riders face the first real obstacle - a 50 metre dirt climb at 26%. In training some riders were making it, but the majority ground to a halt part way up and had to run. Look for this to be a BIG bottleneck in the opening laps. From there it is a straight run to the far end of the course, broken up by some short, sharp climbs and equally sharp descents.
The end of the circuit has the muddiest sections, plus a stair run, and then the riders head straight back towards the finish, with a further climb at the 2.5 kilometre mark, and a gradual rise to the start-finish line.
For the men, as always, it is the Belgians and the Dutch who have the most favourites - Sven Nys, Bart Wellens and Erwin Vervecken for Belgium, and Lars Boom for the Netherlands. Host Italy has one great hope - Enrico Franzoi, who will race after earlier concerns that an ankle injury would keep him out. Canada has three riders in the elite men's race - national champion Mike Garrigan, Osmond Bakker and Aaron Schooler. Top U.S. hope Ryan Trebon (Kona) pulled out earlier in the week, still suffering the effects of a bad crash at the U.S. championships in December.
On the women's side, it is former champion Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) who is the favourite, with terrific form these last few weeks. Also coming into form nicely is the current world champion, Maryline Salvetat of France. Early season leaders are struggling, particularly Dutch rider Daphny Van Den Brand and American Katie Compton - who is a question mark for the start on Sunday. The Canadian contingent is down to two - national champion Wendy Simms and Kelly Jones, since Lyne Bessette has not been racing the last few weeks and is strongly rumoured to have hung up her wheels.
In the U23 race, Canada will have four starters - Kyle Douglas, Brian Robinson, Shaun Adamson and Ian Manning. Only one Junior man will represent Canada - David Larson.
Our live coverage starts tomorrow at 5:00 am EST (2:00 am PST) with the Junior Men's race.
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