Posted by Editoress on 01/29/11
Day 1 report from St. Wendel, Germany
Our coverage made possible with the support of Shimano
Junior Men (part one)
Junior Men (part two)
U23 Men (part one)
U23 Men (part two)
Day One of the 2011 Cyclo-cross World Championships saw the French and Dutch dominate, with the French sweeping the Junior men's podium and the Dutch finishing 1-2 in the Under Men's race. Perennial favourite Belgium could only manage a fifth and two sixth places for the day. Canada's top finisher in the Junior race was Yohan Patry of St-Jérome, Quebec, in 35th place, four minutes and 22 seconds behind winner Clément Venturini. Karl Hoppner of Carp, Ontario was 41st and Benjamin Perry of St Catherines, Ontario was 54th. Canada had no starters in Under-23 event.
After a cold night froze the course, the sun in a cloudless sky began to melt the top layer of the ground, turning the climbs and descents into treacherous, slippery sections. The short off-camber climb after the barricades became so slippery that some riders were reduced to crawling up it on their hands and knees, and others slid back down the hill and through the fencing. Junior winner Venturini, in his last lap, crashed badly getting tangled in the fencing and losing much of his lead.
In the 40 minute Junior race, a small group opened up a gap on the first lap, including Venturini, Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic), Fabian Lienhard (Switzerland), Diether Sweeck (Belgium) and Laurens Sweeck (Belgium). Canada's national champion Ben Perry dropped his chain twice and crashed, putting him well back. By the third lap, it was down to Venturini and Sweeck at the front, and a lap later Venturini was away on his own for good.
Behind, the Doubey twins, Fabien and Loic, were gradually dropping all other chasers and, going into the final lap, sat 24 seconds behind Venturini, with Czech rider Jakub Skala a further 20 seconds back. Venturini looked to have it locked up until his crash, which saw him frantically trying to tear his bike out of the web fencing. Luckily, he was able to do so and get going some 12 seconds ahead of his team mates.
Patry moved up steadily during the seven lap event, after starting in the last row. "I didn't go out too hard at the beginning," explained Patry. "I knew that I would have to pace myself, and avoid crashing too much, although I did go down in the mud a couple of times."
The Under-23 men started their 50 minute race in the mid-afternoon, after the course had further opportunity to warm up. Paradoxically, that may have helped make the top muddy layer a little stickier, and the race certainly didn't have the extreme number of crashes that the Juniors had.
The Under-23 race seemed like more of a road race, with a sizable group of ten riders staying together for most of the race. The Dutch had three at the front - Lars van der Haar, Mike Teunissen and Tijmen Eising - the Belgians three also - Wietse Bosmans, Joeri Adams and Vincent Baestaens - plus two French riders, one Czech and one Swiss. American Danny Summerhill was there also until a flat put him out of contention; he recovered somewhat to finish 13th, only 42 seconds down.
Despite the large group, it was clear that van der Haas was the strongest - the European and World Cup champion was always near the front, especially on the climbs. In the final lap the Belgians tried an attack, but the Dutch responded immediately, splitting the group when Teunissen countered. Only Karel Hnik (Czech Republic) and Matthieu Boulo (France) were able to follow the three Dutch riders, and van der Haar dropped Teunissen and Hnik to take the title, with Teunissen outkicking Hnik for the silver medal.
- American pro Jonathan Page and his wife are expecting their third child at, literally, any moment (they are a week past the due date). So, Page is preparing to race, but his wife is in St-Wendel, ready to go into the local hospital (less than a kilometre from the course) at a moments notice. We may see Page abruptly abandon the Elite Men's race at some point tomorrow!
- The Elite women race at 11:00 am local time (5:00 am EST), followed by the Elite men at 2:00 pm local (8:00 am EST). We will be providing live updates during both races.
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