Posted by Editoress on 01/30/10
The 2010 Cyclo-cross World Championships opened on Saturday with an extremely popular home win at Tabor in the Czech Republic for the Junior men, followed by a dominating 1-2 Polish performance by two brothers in the Under=23 men's race. The French made it onto both podiums and the Dutch managed a bronze, but the third 'Cross nation - Belgium - was shut out of the medals.
Coverage of the 2010 Cyclo-cross World Championships provided with the support of Shimano
Canada had a total of five riders in competition the first day - four Junior men and one Under-23. Kris Dahl of Alberta had the top result of the day, 40th in the Junior men's competition, 4:11 behind winner Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic), who outsprinted Julian Laphilippe (France) to take the title. Emiel Dolfsma (Netherlands) took the bronze. Other Canadian results include Mackenzie Carson in 45th, Kiernan Orange in 52nd and Conor O'Brien in 58th, after losing his right pedal in the second lap and having to cover nearly half a lap before being able to get a bike change in the pit.
The Junior men's five lap race saw the expected group of French, Dutch and Beligian riders form at the front, but there were also two Czechs in the mix - Paprstka and Matej Lasak. Both the Czechs were extremely aggressive, and seemed to revel in the snow and ice that were sending other riders slipping and sliding.
Paprstka, a mountain biker who finished ninth at the Worlds in Canberra last fall, took the lead for good in the third lap, but it was only a slim six second gap, as Laphilippe kept him in close check (no pun intended), catching him on the final paved finish straight, with a bike throw deciding the title.
"I had no expectations," said Dahl. "This is my first Worlds, and cyclo-cross isn't my number one [discipline], so I just wanted to come here, have a good ride and see what I could do. There were a lot of crashes at the beginning of the races, but I was lucky enough to get around them all."
In the Under-23 race, Poland took complete control, putting three riders off the front early in the second lap - Pawel and Kacper Szczepaniak, plus team mate Marek Konwa. Chasing were Jouffroy and the favourite - Tom Meeusen - but they were clearly in more difficulty on the icy sections, and lost ground each time the race went through a series of tight corners. Meeusen certainly had the skills - he was the only rider to ride the barricades each lap.
Pawel Szczepaniak dropped his team mates on the third lap (of seven) to solo in for victory, with his brother gapping Konwa a lap later. Konwa was struggling in third, as Jouffroy and Meeusen grew closer each lap, and he was eventually caught in the last lap by both riders, with Jouffroy taking the bronze medal.
Canada's lone entry, Jared Stafford, crashed heavily in the first lap, dropping to the back of the field before begining to work his way up again. He finished 54th, caught in the final lap by Pawel Szczepaniak.
- It was probably the nicest day of the week, weatherwise, with blue and sunny skies for a respectable crowd. The sun began melting the ice, making some sections slush and others more slippery. While the temperature today reached -1 Celcius, it is supposed to get colder and cloudy tomorrow for the Elite men and women. The expected high is -6 Celcius.
- One of the sponsors is a nuclear energy provider which, we just found out, has a plant quite near to the race...
- U.S. racer announcer Richard Fries is one of the commentators here. Known for his sometimes colourful turns of phrase, he is causing the non-native English speakers (ie, the majority here) to pause, wondering if they heard correctly. Among the bon mots: "He went down faster than a Russian sub" (referring to someone crashing) and "a hurricane of pain" (self-explanatory).
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