While the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships course was being tested in a final dry run at the USGP Derby City Cup in Louisville this weekend, the racing continued with five more events in Europe.
In Saturday's Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel, the elite men's race which sometimes seemed to be more a footrace than a bike race, exploded on the third lap when Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet), a four-time winner in Niel, made the first major attack. He was soon joined by more riders, and a few laps later, the front group was down to three riders, world champion Niels Albert ( BKCP - Powerplus), Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) and Nys. The trio was still together on the bell lap but Albert put in a massive acceleration that no one could match after the pit and soloed to his first victory in Niel, Belgium, and his sixth victory of the season. Aernouts was second and Nys third. American Jonathan Page was 18th.
In the elite women's race Nikki Harris (Young Telenet Fidea) claimed her third victory of the season at the Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel in Belgium. The British rider led from start to finish and crossed the line with over a minute on second place Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Orange Babies Cycling Team). More than one minute later, Ellen Van Loy (Melbotech Prorace CT) took third.
Also on Saturday, Martin Bina (CEZ CT Tabor) took the win at the Toi Toi Cup #5 in Kolin, Czech Republic ahead of Tomas Paprstka (Remerx-Merida) and Michael Boros (CEZ CT Tabor).
Sunday brought the only C1 race in Europe this weekend, the Superprestige Hamme-Zogge in which Nys simply dominated. Lap and after lap, the Belgian champion increased his lead on a three-rider chase group of Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor), Lars Van der Haar (Rabobank) and Aernouts. Meanwhile, after missing his pedal at the start, Albert was forced to chase until he made junction with the trio with six laps to go. Then, first Pauwels, then Aernouts fell off the pace leaving only Albert and Van der Haar in the chase group. Nys continued to ride smoothly and strongly to make it three for three in th Superprestige series. Albert was second and Van der Haar, third. Page finished 28th.
Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank) won the elite women's race at Hamme-Zogge ahead of Pavla Havlikova (Young Telenet-Fidea). One lap into the six-lap race, van Paassen, Havlikova, Harris, Sanne Cant (Veldritacademie Enertherm - BKCP) and Sabrina Stultiens (Rabobank) were together at the front of the race. Mid-way through the race, only van Paassen and Havlikova were left in the lead group. A bobble in the final lap closed the gap that van Paassen had managed to create but the young Dutch rider held on for the win. Cant was third. American Amy Dombroski (Young Telenet Fidea) was 8th.
Going solo on the second lap, Frenchman Francis Mourey (FDJ-BigMat) won the muddy Internationales Radquer Frenkendorf in Switzerland ahead of Simon Zahner and Marcel Wildhaber. Swiss champion Jasmin Achermann won the elite women's race with Marlène Petitgirard, second and Elisabeth Brandau, third.
Vojtech Nipl (Tschechien) soloed away to win the Entega City Cross Cup in Germany on Sunday. Michael Schweizer (Stevens Master Team) was second and Pieter Ghyllebert (Prov. AFD West Vlaanderen WB), third. Five-time world champion Hanka Kupfernagel (Radsport) also claimed a solo win, crossing the line almost one minute ahead of second place Sabrina Schweizer. Martina Zwick was third.