The top three Belgian riders world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), Belgian champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) , dominated the Kerstperiode which ended January 1, 2013. The trio won all but one of the eight races over 13 days of racing. Another Belgian Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) took the win, in tumultuous sprint, at the bpost bank trofee GP Rouwmoer.
The period saw the return to the top step of the European podium of both world champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank) and Katerina Nash (Luna), as well as the continued domination of American champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) in the world cups.
Definitely the strongest rider in the junior races, World champion Mathieu van der Poel of the Netherlands continued to be undefeated but American champion Logan Owen made his presence known, racing to second places.
Albert made his move on the final lap to drop Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to win the very muddy Azencross on Friday. Pauwels was third. However the talk after the race was on how a dropped Nys got off his bike to have a a chat with a fan that had been throwing beer at riders lap after lap until it became too much. Nys pulled out of the race soon after. Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Veldritacademie Enertherm – BKCP) claimed the win outsprinting Nikki Harris (Young Telenet Fidea) at Azencross. Nash was third. The three were together along with Compton in a lead group heading into the final lap until Compton went down and had to settled for fourth.
On Saturday, Nys outsprinted Albert to win the 4th edition of the Versluys Cyclo-cross in Bredene. Stybar was third. No elite women's race was held at Bredene.
Albert soloed to win Sunday's Superprestige Diegem for the fourth year in a row at the race under the lights in front of a huge crowd in downtown Diegem. Albert, who chased back onto the lead group, was the only rider able to match the attack of Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) on the fourth lap. Then, Albert put in a massive acceleration, building quickly a gap of 40 seconds with two laps to go. There was no stopping the world champion. Pauwels was second and Stybar, third. Both Compton and Vos skipped the Diegem. Nash was the strongest, winning by four seconds ahead of Cant in Diegem. The two riders, along with Lucie Chainel and Sabrina Stultiens (Brainwash wielerploeg) formed a lead group on the first lap, with Ellen van Loy (Melbotech Cycling Team) chasing close behind. The situation remained unchanged for a few laps until Cant and Nash pulled away. Chainel was third.
Though the race was named after him, an ailing Nys did not start in Baal on Tuesday. Pauwels soloed to the win, only the third time in the race's 14-year history that someone other than Nys stood on the top step. Pauwels made his move on the fourth lap, leaving Stybar and Albert to take second and third. Nash made it two wins in a row at Baal with Harris second, and Cant, third.
Three other UCI races – all C2- were also held these past five days in Europe, the GP 5 Sterne Region and Cyclo Cross Bussnang in Switzerland, and the Grand Prix Hotel Threeland in Luxembourg.
Francis Mourey (FDJ-BigMar) won both of the races in Switzerland, the GP 5 Sterne Region in Beromünster on December 30, and the Cyclo Cross Bussnang on January 2, 2013. Marcel Wildhaber was second in Beromünster with Simon Zahner, third. The two Swiss riders reversed their podium spots in today's race. Swiss champion Jasmin Achermann (Rapha-Focus) soloed to win the the elite women's GP 5 Sterne Region, beating by over one minute second-place Katrin Leumann. Marlène Morel Petitgirard was third. Leumann outsprinted Morel Petitgirard for the win in Bussnang. Sabrina Schweizer was a close third.
Frenchman Nicolas Bazin (BigMat-Auber 93) soloed to win the Grand Prix Hotel Threeland, in Petange Luxembourg. Sascha Weber (Stevens Racing Team) was second and Petr Dlask (Madeta - Fitness / Specialized), third. Vos led the elite women's race from start to finish, crossing the line with the win with over four minutes on Achermann. Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus) was third.