CX Today January 5, 2012

  • USA Cycling to provide live online video of elite ‘cross championships
    USA Cycling to provide live online video of elite ‘cross championships:/

    Watch all the women’s and men’s action from Madison, Wisconsin

  • Studley Dominates Women’s Singlespeed USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals 2012
    Studley Dominates Women’s Singlespeed USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals 2012: For full coverage, schedules and information on the 2012 Cyclocross National Championships at Badger Prairie County Park in Madison, Wisconsin, visit our 2012 Cyclocross National Championships homepage. by Molly Hurford VERONA, WISCONSIN – To kick off the championship racing at Nationals, the 15-person deep women’s singlespeed field hit the chilly, cloudy course in Verona at [...]

  • Valverde: ‘I know I will win again … it’s a question of when’
    Valverde: ‘I know I will win again … it’s a question of when’:MADRID (VN) — Alejandro Valverde isn’t lacking self-confidence as he’s poised to return to racing later this month following his controversial two-year racing ban.

    The Spanish star debuted his Movistar jersey in a press conference Wednesday and said that he’s sure he will be able to reach his former level that saw him win the Vuelta a España and Liege-Bastogne-Liege before his ban.

    “I know I will win again, it’s a question of when,” he told VeloNews following a media presentation Wednesday at Madrid’s Telefonica headquarters. “I am not going to panic if a win doesn’t come in the first race or even the first few races, but I know I feel good and I am confident I will be able to perform at my old level.”

    Valverde, now 32, looked trim and fit — he tips the scales at a lean 61kg — as he and defending Vuelta champion Juanjo Cobo met with three dozen members of the Spanish media along with Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué.

    Valverde was caught up in a controversial ban after Italian officials matched blood samples taken during the 2009 Tour de France to blood bags held by Spanish officials dating back to the Operacion Puerto doping scandal of 2006.

    Valverde has long insisted on his innocence but he refused to answer questions about the case when pressed by VeloNews.

    “There’s nothing more to say about the case. Everyone knows what my opinion is and to keep talking about now won’t change anything,” he said. “It was hard at first, especially when I couldn’t race, but I’ve served my ban. Now I am only thinking about the future, with a lot of motivation to return to competition.”

    His ban ended December 31 and he’s set to return to racing at the Tour Down Under, with a heavy schedule of racing that will also include the Mallorca Challenge, the Ruta del Sol, the Vuelta a Murcia, the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al País Vasco before his first major goals of the Ardennes classics.

    Valverde is brimming with so much confidence that he’s ready to take on Philippe Gilbert, the Belgian phenomenon who swept the Ardennes classics this year.

    “Gilbert is so good he’s scary. Last year, when he attacked, it was ‘hasta luego’ and the next time you saw him was on the podium,” he said. “He will be hard to beat, especially if he’s at the same level as he was last year, but I am going to try. Those are my favorite races and they’re perfect for my characteristics.”

    Following the classics, Valverde will take a break before racing the Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse ahead of taking on the Tour. Once again, a confident Valverde isn’t holding back.

    “I know that the Tour podium is within my reach, so why not even more?” he continued. “I know there are a lot of time trial kilometers in this Tour, but I spent a lot of time during my ban working on my time trialing. I have improved my position and my strength.”

    After the Tour, Valverde will try to earn a spot on the Spanish Olympic team for London and then decide if he’ll race the Vuelta and/or the world championships in Valkenburg.

    Valverde’s biggest worry seems to be the question on whether he have the depth not to go the distance, but have the kick at the end of long, grueling races of 240km and 265km.

    “That’s the biggest doubt for me right, is whether I will miss that extra kick at the end of a long race,” he said. “I know I am strong right now and I am not in 100 percent form, so I am hoping that I will get that resistance in the opening races of the season to be in top shape for the season’s main goals.”

    Team boss Unzué was effusive about Valverde’s return to the team. Valverde was racing with the team under the former name Illes Balears and the squad stayed in close contact with Valverde during his ban to assure his return to the fold.

    “We built a solid foundation last year with the new sponsor, Movistar, but we lacked that leader that we needed to really get the big results,” Unzué said. “With Valverde and Cobo, we have two ‘cracks’ who will be able to deliver the wins that have escaped us and will put us back on the front line of the world’s best teams.”

    That’s a lot of pressure on Valverde’s shoulders, but he seemed ready to take it all on and more.

    “Having some time away from racing helped me realize how beautiful and grand cycling really is,” he said. “I am more motivated than ever to race again. I will be nervous when I am back at the start line, but you’re always nervous before a race. I won’t anxious at all about results; quite the opposite, I cannot wait.”

    Valverde’s return should make for some interesting battles against Gilbert, especially if he’s as good as he was before his controversial exit from the sport.

  • Women of cyclocross

    Women of cyclocross

    Cyclocross racers Meredith Miller, Nicole Duke and Kaitie Antonneau give their personal perspectives of what it takes to be among the best and what compels them to excel in the sport we love….

  • Glitter Legs! Now With More Sparkle!

    This New Year, I spent it racing. Racing cross at the Chicago Cross Cup’s New Years Resolution. Man was it fun. Being a special New Year race, I decided to bust out the embro and fancy it up with glitter. This time I came prepared with all three levels of DZ Nuts InHeat and dishsoap to wash the stuff off when I was done. Becky raced first, and at the start of her race it was sunny and 47 degrees. So some medium temp InHeat it was. With a boat load of glitter. Red and silver. Everything was going fine until during the race before mine, the temp dropped 20 degrees and I was now wishing for the high heat InHeat. It seems there is a time and a place for the hot stuff, and it was now. But too late for that. It is race time. We got staged by our cyclocross.com points, which I have very little of, so I was in back. I kinda like the back. I get to pass more people. Those folks in the front usually are faster than me.

    30 seconds…

    Go!

    The start is down pavement (I like this about UCI races), around the cart path and onto the golf course. Yes, we are racing on a golf course. Fast, flat, and with all the rain and temperatures staying above freezing, very muddy. We tore the up this course really good like. Some huge mud pits formed around the bike pit and continued to grow as dirty bikes got power washed. Mud is fun. But as I learned a race ago, Red cassettes suck in the mud. And I forgot to swtich mine out. So by the second lap, I was down to two usable gears in the back. My granny gear, and 7. Other than that I could switch in front. For most of the course it was doable. But for the pavement it was time to stand and deliver the big ring and 7 to not get passed. This was becoming more and more easier for me, seeing as I quit smoking and could now actually breathe while I was racing. Hot damn! What a difference oxygen makes.

    Get up, stand up. Stand up on your bike.

    And for the first time racing all season. I didn’t get lapped by those fast dudes. My last race (Afterglow) Barry Wicks & Super Fast SRAM Guy got me right before the finish. I was a lap down, but it looked like I came in 3rd. I’ll take that.

    Bill Draper takes badass pictures. Check out his work.

    I love cross. Looking forward to next season already.

  • Party With Cyclocross Magazine Thursday Night in Madison
    Party With Cyclocross Magazine Thursday Night in Madison: ATTENTION!: Due to the cancellation of the “Notnationals” races on Thursday January 5th due to sheets of ice covering their course (not unlike the real Badger Prairie National Championship course), Cyclocross Magazine and Norcalcyclingnews.com are changing the location of their happy hour from Smokey’s Club to the legendary and aptly-named Natt Spill, which is located in [...]

  • 2012 Cyclocross Championships: Wednesday Singlespeed Preview
    2012 Cyclocross Championships: Wednesday Singlespeed Preview: For full coverage, schedules and information on the 2012 Cyclocross National Championships at Badger Prairie County Park in Madison, Wisconsin, visit our 2012 Cyclocross National Championships homepage. Madison started to freeze as New Year’s activities came to a halt and the city started to head back to business. Down at the USAC Cyclocross Nationals venue, Badger [...]

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