Friday 31 October 2008

Euro pros - men for all seasons?

I have been subscribing to a newsgroup for a few years now and courtesy of a nice Dutchman called Ed, have built up a fairly comprehensive collection of Euro races from the last few seasons. One of the things I have noticed is the diversity of conditions that cross presents to the rider over the course of a season. Whilst no-one is necessarily at home on all surfaces and in all conditions, to perform at the highest level requires skill accross the board, from the fast criterium conditions of early season races to the mudbaths of December and January requiring finesse on foot too. Something worth bearing in mind as you go about your season preparations in the summer as well as during the season itself as conditions change? The trouble is, this year December arrived in September at the NW League first race in Scorton, perhaps catching a few people out who hadn't spent much time on their feet over the summer. Climate change is definitely making cross more interesting.......................

Neerpelt is the big season opener in Belgium (in early October) and is fast, technical and sandy. The speed of the opening lap in this clip is pretty impressive (though not as fast as the Kalmthout World Cup later in the month) and it doesn't let up for the rest of the race.

Compare that with this from Hamme Zogge (Belgian National Champs) in 2007......


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