Our look back over the 2012/13 Cyclo Cross Season.
Suddenly, and we will no doubt feel the same next time, the 2012/13 Cyclo Cross was upon us. Prior to that we had received many e-mails during the summer highlighting that expectations were high even to the point that some people seemed to be wishing the summer away. (what summer you might say?)
Balint Hamvas 2011/12 Annual of Cyclo Cross is a must have for fans and he has continued his efforts through the 2012/13 season. Amongst so many great shots is our favourite, this is of Zdenek Stybar on the pump track at round 5 of the bpost bank Trofee, the Azencross or Cross des as Loenhout. The picture is pure excitement showing the effort and skill required to be a crosser
Funny UK Weather
The season started dry at Herne Hill and the new venue of Bethelem Hospital, but if there was a reminder from the heavens regarding the British weather, then it was at the Lee Valley Youth CC, 'Hoggenberg Cross' held over the weekend of September 22/23. The Saturday saw sunshine seeing us wearing shorts, and t-shirts, but next day the rain fell, rather it poured down throughout resulting in a cold and muddy day of action.
The changing weather at this weekend should have got our suspicions up that 2012 would end as the second wettest year on record and would 'suffer' one of the mudiest winters we have known.
Bike of the year
Once more we believe the Specialized ally Crux offers high performance with value for money and it's no surprise that many normal mortals have chosen it for their endeavors. (see also Best Rider's bike below) This is the second year we have selected it as our 'Bike of the Year'.
Best Riders Bike
We saw many cool bikes during the season and although Dan Braid's Specialized Crux is not the latest whiz-bang carbon edition, what it shows is the attention to detail of a cross affectionado. Dan speced his bike with excellent kit and he even reprogrammed the Ultegra DI2 electric gears to suit his needs.
There can be little doubt that Sven Nys was the rider of the season winning his usual haul of races and then he rounded it off with the World Championship title in the USA (only his second). He has confirmed that he intends to continue through 2015, contradicting rumours that this would be his last season.
Honourable mentions also to Marieanne Voss and Katy Compton for their domination of the women's races.
Best UK Rider
No doubt about it, it has to be Nikki Harris. The Telenet Fidea rider won top class races and placed on a number of podiums, she even dethroned long time champion Helen Wyman to claim the UK National Championship.
We felt that Nikki would do well in 2012/13, but didn't want to tell her in case we jinxed her season! Fingers crossed we can see her taking an even bigger step up in 2013/14.
Cycling, tea and cakes are the happy triangle in our sport and the bedrock of any sport are clubs, and so when a cub makes a real effort to provide a selection of home made cakes then it needs to be celebrated. This season we saw many good spreads but top for the second year running, although they were challenged closely by Team Darenth at London/SE round 9, were London Phoenix and Lee Valley Youth CC's joint selection of fancy edibles at the Gunpowder Cross.
Best International Race 1
For us the epic last lap of round four of the bpost series held at Essen featuring Zdenek Stybar and Jan Denuwelaere was breathtaking and ended in a crash, that saw the best of Denuwelaere and Stybar, the former accepting it as a genuine accident and the latter's profuse apologies and a gift of a special cake clearly spelling out his feelings.
Best International Race 2
The 5th round of the Bpost series at Loenhut was marked by Sven Nys going into the crowd to remonstrate with a beer throwing fan and more importanly a great race between Niels Albert and Zdenek Stybar.
The Under 23 race at Lille had everything, including elbow rubbing (maybe shoving is a better word), judicious use of bike position to run opponents wide and a race win celebration one lap too early. (plus a false start) Click on 'Een pijnlijke vergissing: Bosmans juicht ronde te vroeg' at http://www.sporza.be/permalink/1.1515376
Old School International Race
The citadel at Namur is true old school with riders plugging away in the mire and fighting the course.
UK Race of Season
Despite a massive rain storm the Rollapaluza 'Muddy Hell' race meeting, held mostly in the darkness at Herne Hill Velodrome, was again our favourite race offering spectacle with a strong reference to grass roots racing and community.
Not far behind was the Rapha Supercross held at Ally Pally.
Both races offer something special to the cross scene.
All who ride or help put on a cyclo cross race are heroes in our eyes, but do spare a thought to Crawley Wheelers who made sure that the 'show must go on' when they hosted the London/SE Team Champs in pouring rain that turned parts of the course into rivers and tracks into mires.
UCi World Championships
UCI World Cup
3 Hamme Zogge
1 Ronse - GP Mario De Clercq
2 Koppenberg Cross
6 Sven Nys Grand Prix
2013/14 World Cup Dates.
The Cauberg joins the series and the Czech's lose one of their two rounds - Dates
Finally... did we mention that it rained alot?
Tracks turned into rivers