Saturday, November 16, 2013

Keep on Svenning.

Nys leads his nemesis  Albert through the heavy sand at  the BPost trofee GP Hasselt 2013. Photo credit: Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Sven Nys continued his winning ways in todays GP Hasselt. The BPost Bank Trofee event in Belgium was another all Belgian affair with only the Dutchman Corne Van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) crashing the Belgian party in 5th place. He and 4th place Tom Meeusen (again Telenet-Fidea) managed to reach the leading power trio of Vantornout, Albert and the aforementioned Nys on the last lap, but a vicious response from Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) put an end to any thoughts the TF duo had of making the podium. His attack was covered by both Vantornout (Sunweb-Napolean games) and Nys (Crelan KDL) and the podium group was sealed with the only thing left to decide was who ended up on which step. 

Sven took the lead and tried to seal the deal himself on the last long and deep sand pit, but Albert was game and kept Nys' wheel until a slight bobble on the last turn out of the pit gave Sven the breathing room he needed. The rest was a formality as Sven sprinted - or rather survived? - and gathered his 5th win of the season. 

One interesting note - In today's race Nys had yet another early race mechanical (this one was a flat) and had to work his way back from deep in the field to reach the leaders. It does not bode well for his competition that once he gets those issues sorted and starts having clean early laps he could be even stronger than he has already shown this year. 

Sven is scary. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Cross hairs cycling (or CXHairs cycling) has been promoting the cyclocross scene first as a team and now as a website and brand for only a little over a year and a half. In that time they have become a go to resource for any and all things cyclocross, including both Domestic and International racing info. They've recently come out with a book covering the basics of the sport and their recent series of "Svenness" videos have taken their knowledge of the tactics, strategies and overall experience of cross racing to a larger audience in a thoroughly enjoyable way. 

The title pays homage to the great Sven Nys and the videos do him justice. It's cyclocross racing explained in a most easily understandable fashion. If you're interested in learning more about the nuances of CX racing, or you know someone who is, do yourself/them a favor and head over and take a look at the series. Any of them are great, but #2.6 above is my current favorite.

Oh, and while you're there take a look at their shop, they make some great products (a Lloyd Dobler/Cyclocross tshirt? Genius!) and it just so happens that they are not only CXHairs, but they also are the brains behind the great WTF Kits brand as well. 

Mud at the Marktcross.

Sven Nys getting dirty on his way to a 5th win at the Soudal Jaarmarktcross - photo credit:

Sven Nys thrives in bad weather. The uglier and muddier it is the more it suits his powerful riding style. It's his ability to win with his head or his legs that has made him the legend of cyclocross that he is. On fast and dry races where he may not be the fastest rider on the course at this stage of his career, he can out think his competition and be in the right place at the right time, but on days like today his unmatched skill and power shows and he often can ride through sections where everybody else has to portage. It's always so impressive to see him power through tire swallowing mud, leaving the competition behind in his tracks. At today's Soudal Jaarmarktcross he rolled in a solid 21 seconds ahead of a very impressive 19 year old Wout van Aert (Yet another talented Telenet-Fidea rider) in a very much deserved second placen - keep an eye out for this young one in the future. Rolling over in third was Rob Peeters (yes, another TF crewman) to make the podium an all Belgian affair (Surprise!). It was definitely a ride to remember on the Belgian "Day of remembrance" holiday (that's why they were racing on a Monday) and was yet another feather in the headress of a cap that Nys (Crelan KDL) has built for himself during his illustrious career. 

Watch the last lap footy here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

La beauté de l'acier

Here at La vie de la bicyclette, we believe that steel is the real deal. That there is no better material to translate the feel of the road through your body and deep into your soul. Are there lighter materials? Of course. Stiffer compounds? Undoubtedly, but there is arguably no substance that that connects you to the ground and consequently to the world like Steel. When I heard about the "Show of Steel Bicycles" taking place here in lovely Orange County on November 17th I have to admit I was stoked beyond belief. I don't know much about it other than it is sponsored by, but what do you really need to know? There will be steel bicycles on display and it is free. It's from 12 to 4pm on Friday November 17th so you'll need to take off early from just keeps getting better and better. 

See you there!

11.12.13 UPDATE: This show is actually this coming SUNDAY November 17th, not this Friday as I had erroneously reported above. Sorry for any confusion to my massive viewing audience.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

De zonhoven veldrijden was schlect ass

Sven is back in the winners circle @ Zonhoven - Photo credit: Bart Hazen

Sven Nys is a hero in the world of veldrijden, or cyclocross as we call it here in the States. He is arguably the best cyclcross racer, or veldrijder in the history of the sport. His duels with the likes of Lars Boom, Neils Albert and Zdenek Stybar over the last 6 or so years are the stuff of legend. While they have all had their time in the sun, and in the world championship stripes, Nys was easily the most consistent of the group. He rides with a ferocity that belies his cunning. Tactically there are few better, and that is what allows him to continue winning the sports biggest races as he heads towards the tail end of his fourth decade. 

Todays race on the sandy slopes of Zonhoven in round 3 of the Superprestige series was a perfect example. An early flat and some heavy traffic meant he spent most of the race working his way up to the leaders. To be honest he didn't look to have much of an impact on the race whatsoever and Klaus Vontornout and Lars van der Haar applied heavy pressure at the front to insure that it stayed that way. As usual however, Nys did not panic and slowly picked his way back to the wheel of his long time foe Albert. by the time the last lap came up the two had caught on to the leaders and then launched a brutal counterattack. Van der haar was instantly unhitched but Vantornout was game and struck out behind Albert with Nys slyly hanging back. about a third of the way through he punched around Vantornout and bridged up to Albert who didn't stand a chance. On a slight left hand uphill turn he applied the final screws and went around his Belgian compatriot, led out the sprint and never looked back. The two would finish with the same time but there was no doubt that Nys was going to win. Even slipping a pedal could not change the outcome, the current world champ calmly reset and pulled away from the broken Albert who crossed the line with head down and arms straight completely spent. You can check out the last lap in all it's glory here:

Next up for the Superprestige is the Hamme-Zogge Bellokescross, which from what I can understand has something to do with beer as the winner is handed a large mug of the stout stuff to drink. Always a fast race, it nonetheless seems to calm things down after the frenetic experience of this weekends monumental races. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cobbles and 'Cross - a match made in heaven.

Rob Peeters (Telenet Fidea) works to crest the grassy side of the Koppenberg climb - Photo Credit:

The Koppenbergcross leg of the BPost Bank trofee cyclocross series is always a highlight of the European cyclocross season. Much like a win in a road cycling classic, a victory at the Koppenberg can make a Cyclocross specialists season a success all on it's own. - especially if you're from Belgium. Needless to say Belgian Tom Meeusen must be pleased tonight after capitalizing on all of the potential shown in his young career by taking his biggest win so far on the hills around Oudenaarde. He showed a finishing strength that we hadn't seen from him in the past and rode away from compatriot Kevin Pauwels to take the top step on a hotly contested final lap. Current Superprestige series leader Klaus Vantornout finished out the podium ahead of the German Philipp Walsleben in fourth and the World Champ Sven Nyes only 10 seconds back in fifth, no doubt a disappointment to the defending Koppenberg champion and winner of 8 of the last 9 editions. 

Although the BPost Bank trofee is the newest of the big CX series on the European calendar, it is arguably as important as any of the others. With races like the Koppenberg taking a back seat only to the World Championships and maybe few other events, it's a series to pay attention to as the season progresses. 

Take a look at some raw footy from Cyclocross Online here:

Oh - and Sunday follows this race up with the always epic Zonhoven Superprestige. A sandy beast of a course that always equals mayhem and provides some of the best racing and viewing of the year. Head over to to check it out.