European Cyclo-crossers freeze in National Championships: Lars Boom, Philipp Walsleben, Francis Mourey, and Hanka Kupfernagel prevail
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

European Cyclo-crossers freeze under storm Daisy

by Bjorn Haake at 2:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results

This weekend the low pressure system Daisy made its way through Europe and the national cyclocross championships in many countries were dominated by ice and snow. The championships in Great Britain had to be postponed. In the Netherlands, Germany and France the favorites made the best of the icy conditions.

Netherlands: Boom Dutch Champion yet again

In the Netherlands, Lars Boom has simply no competition. On Sunday he won the national cross title again, despite concentrating on the road in 2009. It was only the second cross race for Boom this winter, who beat his Rabobank teammate Gerben de Knegt as well as Thijs Al and Thijs van Amerongen in a tight sprint.

Boom has won a national title every year since 2001, when he took the junior's race. Sunday's win was his fourth consecutive elite men's title. Because of the few races, Boom was forced to start from the last position, but this didn't stop him.

"Before race I was hoping for such a scenario [a sprint]," he said on "But I knew it was going to be tough. I was also a bit lucky."

He wasn't lucky in the middle part of the race, though, when he dropped back due to a mechanical. "I thought it was over. But I saw that the guys in front didn't make too much headway and I took all risks. I sat well on the bike and came back."

The course was a good fit for Boom. "It was a nice parcours. If I'd do specific cross training then it would be perfectly made for me." Boom was not surprised that his first cross last weekend in Gestel didn't go so well. He finished 23rd. "The first cross in a winter the technique isn't so good. I was counting on such a result." Boom said it was not an automatic guarantee that he would do so well a week later. "This title really means a lot to me."

Both Rabobank riders (de Knegt and Boom) picked Thijs Al for the strongest rider of the day. "I agree absolutely. Thijs rode 70 percent of the race on the front and really hurt us. Thijs was really strong, Gerben a little less. You could tell that Thijs had a good because he made very few mistakes."

Boom dismissed any options to ride the Cross Worlds. "I chose to go on the road. Wednesday the team's training camp starts and it last for two weeks. Then the road season starts for me and there is no room for a single cross race."

Germany men: Walsleben again

Last year's German champion Philipp Walsleben also prevailed this year. The cross specialist dominated the race and won with a decisive gap over Christoph Pfingsten and Milram road pro Paul Voß.

The start on the very icy and snowy parcours in southern Germany was a bit rocky. "When I was alone in front in the third lap, things started to go well," Walsleben said to

Voß is mostly busy with getting ready for the road season, so he was quite pleased with a repeat result from last year. "I am very satisfied with my bronze medal. I had hoped for a podium place," said a happy Paul Voß after the medal ceremony. "I could not be sure, though. In the last weeks I have trained more for the road season and so wasn't really in form for the 'cross races. The difficult course was good for me and after some problems at the start I could really use my good condition and strength."

After starting in the last row, he ran into a tree right after the start, but fought hard throughout the nine-lap race.

Kupfernagel again

Hanka Kupfernagel took home her 31st national title when she won Sunday's cyclocross championships in the women's race. Kupfernagel overcame an early crash to finish ahead of Elisabeth Brandau and Martina Zwick.

The start was not great. "Already in the first problem turn, which I discovered during the inspection, I slipped," Kupfernagel told Afterwards she rode better and better. "Before Christmas I went to go training on Mallorca. Maybe I was lacking some zap because of that."

Branday was almost two minutes behind, Zwick two and a half minutes. Birgit Hollmann was considered as one of the favorites but was already far back in the first lap and abandoned the race.

Kupfernagel enjoyed the icy conditions ahead of the Worlds in Tabor, Czech Republic. "This was a good test, because I believe the condition will be about the same.

France: Mourey defends title

Old and new champion in France is Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux), who beat Steve Chainel (Bouygues Telecom) in a sprint - just like last year. Nicolas Bazin (CC Villeneuve-Saint-Germain) was third, 22 seconds back. It is Mourey's fifth national cross title.

Mourey already looked like the sure winner mid-way through the race, when he had a commandable lead. A flat front tire put him back into the race with Chainel and Bazin. The latter crashed and Mourey decided to not attack again. "I decided to play it all in the sprint," Mourey said to L'Equipe. "I recovered well in the final laps. I knew I had good chances to win in the sprint. Psychologically, I dominated him last year - I had a larger gear. Also, the freshness played a role," Mourey said.

Mourey used his experience and his memories - he took his first French title at the same venue five years ago. "In 2005, I was the first one out of the off-road section [before the sprint]." This time, he played an aggressive finale again. "I knew if I would launch the sprint, Steve would have a hard time coming back to me."

Results France men

1. Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux) 1h00'40" (avg: 28,648 km/h)
2. Steve Chainel (Bouygues Telecom)
3. Nicolas Bazin (CC Villeneuve-Saint-Germain) 0'22"
4. David Derepas (UVCA Troyes) 0'34"
5. Arnaud Labbe (GSC Blagnac) 0'38"
6. Arnold Jeannesson (Caisse d'Epargne) 0'50"
7. Jean-Eudes Demaret (Cofidis) 1'00"
8. Laurent Colombatto (AC Besançon) 1'00"
9. Guillaume Perrot (Ec Saint-Etienne-Loire) 1'00"
10. Julien Roussel (VC Rouen 76) 1'12"
11. John Gadret (AG2R) 1'25"


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