Week 10 actually began on Monday, October 28th with a Toi Toi Cup round in Slany. The C1 race was well attended with more than 50 riders in the elite men’s field and over 40 riders in the elite women’s. All eyes then shifted to Belgium for the first round of the DVV Trofee at the infamous Koppenbergcross. Saturday only featured three UCI races. The Canadian National Championships took place in Peterborough, the Really Rad Festival of Cross kicked off in Massechusts and there was a C2 race in Spain. Sunday saw seven UCI races, including a round of the Superprestige in Ruddervoorde. That race saw the return of Mathieu van der Poel.
Here’s what you need to know from Week 10:
The champ is here.
We admitted in our race predictions that we believed the hype. And it paid off. Van der Poel played it slow, getting back in the rhythm and hanging with the lead group. Mid way through the race he accelerated and hit the sandy section hard. The section starts out flat and then gradually goes up hill. Van der Poel rode the whole thing and with four laps to go he was gone. One could argue that this wasn’t vintage van der Poel, where he would attack from the gun. However, his performance shows that the wonder kid is still the king of cross.
Canadian Nationals round up.
We didn’t do any predictions for Canadian Nationals, but our eyes were on Maghalie Rochette and Michael van den Ham. Needless to say, both riders won. Rochette was the heavy favorite as the defending champion. She has had a great start to the season and even went to Europe for the third round of the World Cup. Rochette came back for the last C1 in North America (Cincy), Nationals and the Pan-American Championships. She will then head back to Europe. Jenn Jackson, who also has had a great season, was second at 38 seconds. Sandra Walter was third at an astonishing 3:24 behind Rochette.
A nearly 30-rider strong elite men’s field took the start line in Peterborough for their shot at the title. Van den Ham came in as the heavy favorite since he was the two-time defending champion. Van den Ham has had a relatively quiet season thus far, but made it clear that he wanted the Maple Leaf jersey and the Pan-American title. Like the women’s race, it became a two man battle between van den Ham and Marc Andre Fortier. Fortier would eventually fall off the pace and come in 24 seconds behind van den Ham. Alexandre Vialle came across the line in third, 2:52 behind the winner.
Most, if not all of the Canadian riders will remain up North ahead of this weekends Pan-American Championships, which are once again in Canada.
White continues to win.
With Kerry Werner taking the weekend off, all eyes were on Curtis White to keep the streak alive at the Really Rad Festival of Cross. As we mentioned last week, White and Werner have dominated the elite men’s fields this year. We only predicted Sunday’s race, but we knew White would take the top step. On Saturday, White got away from the lead group to win by 31 seconds. Tobin Ortenblad came across the line in second after out sprinting Sam Noel.
Sunday’s race played out in a similar fashion. White won convincingly. He finished ahead of Lane Maher by 1:16. The battle for the remaining spots on the podium was very close. Tobin Ortenblad was third coming five seconds behind Maher. Sam Noel ended up fourth, one second behind Ortenblad.
All of these riders are headed to the Pan-American Championships this upcoming weekend. It will be interesting to see how they do, especially with riders like Kerry Werner, Stephen Hyde and Jamie Droiscoll back in the mix.
The home “team” won the weekend.
Of the thirteen races this past week, only three were won by riders not in their home nation. Vincent Baestaens (Belgium) won the Toi Toi Cup round in Slany (Slovakia) on Monday. Sunday’s Superprestige round in Ruddervoorde (Belgium) was won by Dutch national champion Mathieu van der Poel. Finally, Emil Hekele (Czech Republic) won the small C2 race, November Cross, in Mcasasa, Romania.
Seven riders defended their home turf by winning eleven races in their native country. Eli Iserbyt kicked things off with a win at Koppenbergcross on Friday. Cristian also picked up a win on Friday at the GP Citta Di Jesolo in Italy. Spain’s Felipe Orts was won of several riders who won multiple races last weekend. He was the most dominant racer picking up wins on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He won the Gran Premi Les Franqueses, Ciclocross Manlleu and Gran Premi Internacional Ciutat de Vic.
In North America, Canada’s Michael van den Ham won the national championships on Saturday and won PTBOCX on Sunday. As previously mentioned, Curtis White won both days of the Really Rad Festival of Cross.
The last pair of winners are Steve Chainel (France) and Hijiri Oda (Japan). They won the 2nd round of the Coupe de France Cyclo-cross in Andrezieux-Boutheon and Yowamushi-Pedal Makuhari Cross p/b Champion System, respectively.
Continental Championships are the next big showdown.
This Sunday the top riders in North American and Europe will compete in their respective Continental Championships. In North America, the Pan-American Championships will return to Midland, Ontario, Canada. The UEC European Championships will take place in Silvelle, Italy on a brand new course. With snow and rain expected in Canada, Sunday’s race promises to be muddy, but still fast course. In Italy, the virtually flat track is expected to be very heavy due to a lot of rain arriving later in the week.
Curtis White and Maghalie Rochette look to defend the titles they won in Midland a year ago. In Europe, Mathieu van der Poel looks to win his third straight European title. On the women’s side, there has been a different champion every year since Sanne Cant won back to back titles in 2015 and 2016. Annemarie Worst looks to buck that trend with a win in Italy on Sunday.