Exciting battle in cyclocross World Cup ahead
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Exciting battle in cyclocross World Cup ahead

by Bjorn Haake at 8:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross

Sunday's World Cup race in Kalmthout, Belgium, is the sixth out of the nine World Cup races on offer this season. With his two recent wins, Czech rider Zdenek Stybar has come to within five points of leader Niels Albert.

Icy and snowy conditions are expected and could help Stybar, who won the race in 2007. Paul Herygers, winner of the first ever cyclo-cross World Cup in 1994, certainly thinks that way. "In his youth years, he proved that he is a real iceman," Herygers told belga. "Stybar grew up on snow and ice. Undoubtedly, that will be to his advantage on Sunday."

Others think that Nys will be the best to adapt to the wintry conditions in Kalmthout. He has the experience on the course, having won the race five times, including last year. But he is already one hundred points behind in the overall, in part because of a lackluster start to the season.

Albert can't be counted out, as his double win last weekend showed he is back onto the form of the beginning of the season. Stybar on the other hand is on a World Cup roll. He won the last two races in the series in Igorre, Spain, and Koksijde, Belgium. A win is worth 80 points, whereas the second and third placed riders get 70 and 65, respectively. The points go down to the rider in 50th position, who receives one point.

Albert leads with 370 points, ahead of Stybar (365) and Klaas Vantornout (279). Nys is in fourth (270) and Francis Mourey is in fifth (256). Our diarist Jonathan Page's form is rising - he currently lies in 24th spot (119). But he may feel the jet lag from his whirl wind tour across the Atlantic to attend Nationals.

The race in Kalmthout was first held in 1978, but took a timeout from 1979 to 1995. It was added as a World Cup race in the 2005/2006 season.

In the women's category, Kathie Compton has a commanding 25-point lead over Daphny van den Brand and 45 points over  Sanne van Paassen. Marianne Vos is in fourth, 55 points behind.


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