Posted by Editor on 02/5/98
Cyclo-Cross Worlds - The Story
(thanks to Markus Kammermann)
The Canadian Cyclocross team arrived in Denmark on Thursday - four days before the race. Already on Friday morning, they were woken up by a UCI guy: the team had to be tested for their hematocrite level. A total of seven teams were chosen this time. The test results were presented about three hours later. Everybody was below the limit of 50%. There was the first official training on the course in the afternoon. The ground was frozen and therefore fast to ride. The major difficulty were the ruts in the downhills. You had to be very careful not to get off track. It turned out that the only possibility to fly over those ruts were fat tyres (TUFO CC PRO 34 mm). On the race day the organizer did their best to take away the ruts, so the course wasn't as tricky anymore. They did a good job.
The four Canadians in the Elite race had to start far back, lack of World Cup points. Kris Westwood, who did his sixth cyclocross worlds, had the best start of the Canadians. But Kris got involved in some incident before the first pits and was one of the last guys to continue the race after that.
Peter Wedge didn't have a very good start and found himself in about 60th position passing the pits. In spite of that, the 26-year old from New Brunswick was moving up place to place. Too bad the pack was split up in different groups of about 10 to 20 riders soon. With his strength, Peter probably could have hung in with one of the first or second groups to get some good draft. However, Peter ended up 33rd, which is the best result by a Canadian ever. Kris Westwood was 34th in 1995. Paul Spadaccini, the third Canadian, was racing his first time at Worlds. He showed a good race, but was a bit unlucky just to be caught 700 meters before the leaders last lap. Otherwise he would have been classified.
Mario DeClerq was attacking already in the third lap and managed to stay away from everybody. He was riding about 5 to 10 seconds faster than the guy in second position! Such a big lead on a fast course like that wasn't really expected. The Dutch favorites Groenendaal and Van der Poel struggled, as did defending World Champion Daniele Pontoni. Pontoni at least was close to a medal. He lost the sprint against Denmark's Henrik Djernis in a spectacular way: he crashed himself right on the finish line.
Mario DeClerq was the strongest guy day on that day and became World Champion for the first time. Just like in the Espoirs race the Belgians got two guys on the podium: Erwin Verwecken got 2nd.
World Cyclocross Championship, Cat. Elite - 9 laps, 28,9 km
1. Mario DeClerq (BEL) 1:04:06
2. Erwin Verwecken (BEL) 1:05:10
3. Henrik Djernis (DEN) 1:05:13
4. Daniele Pontoni (ITA) 1:05:13
5. Radomir Simunek (CZE) 1:05:25
6. Emmanuel Magnien (FRA) 1:05:29
7. Dieter Runkel (SUI) 1:06:01
8. Christophe Mengin (FRA) 1:06:23
9. Richard Groenendaal (NED) 1:06:34
10. Beat Wabel (SUI) 1:06:37
11. Marc Janssens (BEL) 1:06:46
12. Dannny De Bie (BEL) 1:07:08
13. Dominique Arnould (FRA) 1:07:35
14. JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ´me Chiotti (FRA) 1:07:35
15. Luca Bramati (ITA) 1:07:35
16. Kamil Ausbuher (CZE) 1:07:41
17. A. Suarez Fernandez 1:07:50
18. Michael Jorgensen (DEN) 1:07:50
19. Malte Urban (GER) 1:07:55
20. Tobias Nestle (GER) 1:07:57
25. Adri Van der Poel (NED) 1:08:36
29. Mark Gullikson (USA) 1:08:55
33. Peter Wedge (CAN) 1:09:19
39. Frank McCormack (USA) 1:10:21
DNF Paul Spadaccini (CAN)
DNF Kris Westwood (CAN)
The Espoirs race on Saturday was won by defending World Champion Sven Nijs from Belgium. His teammate Bart Wellens finished, like last year in Munich, in second place again. Nijs and Wellens took the lead early in the race. A bunch of riders were chasing them, but never really came close. America's Tim Johnson showed an excellent performance and finished only a minute and 12 seconds behind Nijs. Johnson's third lap was amazing: he made up 15 seconds to the leader! Tim Johnson's 10th place is the best result by a non-European at cyclocross worlds ever.
Rudi Asseer, the only Canadian starter, didn't see the finish. Although he had to start at the very back, he was able to move up many places just on the paved uphill road after the start. Due to mechancical problems, he was dropped back to last position in that same lap. Unfortunately Rudi came never really back into the race... .
World Cyclocross Championship, Cat. Espoirs (Under 23) - 7 laps, 22,5 km
1. Sven Nijs (BEL) 52:14
2. Bart Wellens (BEL) 52:38
3. Petr Dlask (CZE) 52:43
4. Klaus Nielsen (DEN) 52:59
5. Guillaume Benoist (FRA) 53:01
6. Pavel Prosek (CZE) 53:13
7. Maarten Nijland (NED) 53:22
8. Raymond Lubberman (NED) 53:24
9. Fabrizio Dall'Oste (ITA) 53:26
10. Tim Johnson (USA) 53:26
11. Bjorn Rondelez (BEL) 53:36
12. Kipcho Volkaerts (BEL) 53:39
13. Bram Schmitz (NED) 53:42
14. Stefan Kupfernagel (GER) 53:49
15. Gianni David (BEL) 54:15
DNF Rudi Asseer (CAN)
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