Who Is The Best Cyclocross Rider Of All Time? | GCN’s Cycling Race News Show

Who Is The Best Cyclocross Rider Of All Time? | GCN’s Cycling Race News Show


– Welcome to the GCN Racing news show. Coming up this week, who
is the best cyclo-cross rider of all time. We’re comparing the
heavyweights of the sport. (electronic beeping) Before we get into today’s show, we want to hear from you,
we love an epic montage at GCN Racing but we
want to put one together containing all of you. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this amazing bunny hop
video by Tom Meeusen on a recent game of B.I.K.E. with Jeremy. The Ice Man has always
been one of the most technically gifted riders on the circuit. He’s cleared 80 centimeters in the past, so get your clips. If you’re practicing your bunny hops and nailing them or not,
like John here in Japan, you can upload them to
the cyclo-cross section of the app or via the
uploader at GNC.eu/upload. Okay, onto business. The Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup took to the iconic sand dunes of Koksijde up for round five. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado took her first World Cup victory after making it into an all-Dutch leading
group that also contained Lucinda Brand, Inge van der Heijden, Yara Kastelijn, and Annemarie Worst. After a great battle with Brand it came down to minutest of details on one of the sand sections with Brand, then overcooking it and going down on a turn close to the finish. On a day of comebacks, Alice Maria Arzuffi carved her way back through the field to finish eigth after
being in 33rd position. What did we learn from the men’s race? Well, we learned Mathieu van der Poel basically doesn’t need a
favorable grid position or to have obstacles to
overcome to take victory. After a third race start and being delayed by a crash on the first corner between Nicolas Cleppe and Tim Merlier, he was in about 38th position. By the end of the first
lap he was in first and that was about it. He gave us another veritable
master class in sand riding to take his 33rd straight
cyclo-cross victory and his sixth straight win
of the 2019,’20 season. One of the rides of the day, though, was from Creafin-Fristads Tim Merlier. Dead last after his crashing in the region of 35 seconds down and
in need of a new bike, the Belgian rode champion set about making his way back through the field and was locked in a great
battle with Tom Pidcock for ninth with Merlier getting the better of the Trinity racing
man on this occasion. It’s this ride, though, that in my eyes gives Tim Merlier GCN Rider of the Week. World Cup leaders Katerina Nash and Eli Iserbyt retained their leads in the World Cup standings overall, but Nash now has Anna Kay
snapping at her heels. Iserbyt can only finish 13th on the day while van der Poel,
after missing the first three rounds but winning the last two is now in 17th spot. Next up for the World Cup is another of my favorite courses at Namur on the 22nd of December while our next live GCM Racing broadcast is the new urban cross from Kortrijk on Saturday, which is the next round of the DVV trophy. As it’s cross season, we
thought we’d poll you guys to see if you agree with our selection on who might be the greatest
cyclo-cross rider of all time. Now, when you watch
cyclo-cross these days, you’d be excused for
thinking that the dominance of Mathieu van der Poel is something new. Well, it’s not. Another wonder kid was
dominating the sport in a similar manner back
in the 1960s and ’70s. His name was Erik De Vlaeminck. Born in 1945, De Vlaeminck was from Eeklo. He had a younger brother,
Roger, who went on to be an incredibly successful road and cross rider himself. De Vlaeminck won his
first cross title in 1966 at the age of just 20 and it was the start of an incredible career that netted him seven world titles, four Belgian titles, and 201 career victories. He only missed out on the 1967 title because his bike was
damaged during the race. He led a high octane
lifestyle, to put it mildly, and it got him into a
fair degree of hot water, both on and off the bike, and there’s many an urban
myth surrounding him. Next up, it’s The Cannibal from Baal. When I first started commentating,
Sven Nys was the daddy. I’ve been lucky enough
to call some absolute belters in my career, Sven
crossed the line first in many of them. 294 wins, 500 podiums in total, a figure that seems too neat to be true. But it is, he was so consistent. Dominant, there’s that word again, but in a career-spanning 19 seasons between 1998, when he
turned pro for Rabobank, to 2016 when he finished his career, a year didn’t go by where
he didn’t win a race. His final season, it was
the Koksidje World Cup, he was a phenomenon. There goes that word again,
but he only, and only, won the world title twice. Sorry if that sounds odd, but
from his super consistency, you would have expected
him to have won more. Third rider on our list is current cross and pretty much every thing else sensation Mathieu van der Poel. His dominance, again, people say is boring or damaging the sport, I
wholeheartedly disagree. Mathieu is a breath of fresh air. He’s doing what female pros
have been doing for years, racing multiple disciplines
and being successful. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot
held the cross, road, and mountain bike titles in one season. Could Mathieu become the first
male rider to do the same? He came pretty close in
Yorkshire, the road Worlds, and he’s targeting the
Olympic mountain bike title in Tokyo, but I’m
focusing on cross here. In the 2018,’19 season he won 32 races, including the national,
European, and world championships for a second time. So far, in the 2019,’20 season he’s won seven races from seven starts including defending his European title. And let’s not forget the unbeaten streak of 33 cyclo-cross races
that he’s won in a row. He’s not lost a race since October 2018. Going on wins alone, though,
he’s got some way to go before he surpasses De Vlaeminck and Nys with 116 career wins to his name so far, but considering the
fact that he’s only 24, there’s plenty of time
for him to catch up. Understateably brilliant,
I’m including Sanne Cant. I’ve followed her throughout her career and commentated on many victories. She is a pure cross rider,
10 times Belgian champion. Before that, she was three
times junior champion. Three times world
champion and has finished on the podium six times. She has got 141 career
victories and 247 podiums. A rider who many see as
the greatest of all time, and not just in cyclo-cross, yes, it’s Dutchwoman Marianne Vos. Marianne has been at the top of the world since she was 18, really. That was the year she won her first elite European cyclo-cross title. She was junior road world
champion the year before this in 2004 in Verona. The world elite championships was hers for the first time in 2006 at 19. She also won the road
championships that season as well. She’s won that rainbow
jersey and cross seven times, in addition to four road titles so far. Because she’s still only 32. In total, she’s has 116
victories and 201 podiums. Now it’s up to you, get your
vote in for your favorite. You can do that on the GCN
app, which you can get now. This is our short list,
would there be others who you would have included or who would have made the long list? Moving away from cyclo-cross now, after the Olympic road race
course for men and women was criticized for the difference in the severity between the two, you would’ve thought
that someone might have flagged up that the
allotted places available for each race to prevent
the similar reaction. Unfortunately, no one
got that memo at UCI. For Tokyo 2020, there will be 130 men and 67 women on the start. 67, my mind is boggled yet again. As you can see in this
tweet from Kathryn Bertine, who also wrote an empassioned article for Bicycling Magazine, there are many others who are also baffled. The women’s road race
was introduced in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics. There were 45 riders on the start line, so in 36 years the sport has apparently only developed enough to give an additional 22 riders
Olympic opportunity. Let’s not shy away from this. Winning the Olympics is life-changing. It can and does set a rider
potentially up for life. So why are the women being
denied that opportunity? There are in the region of 200 spots available to be allocated. It’s time that these should be split 50-50 between the men’s and
the women’s road races. Do you agree? We’d love to know what your thoughts are in the comments section below. The Rás makes a welcome return to the UCI calendar in 2020. Established in 1953
and won by our very own Simon Richardson in 2009, the
race lost its title sponsor An Post after the 2017 race. It was kept alive thanks to a reserve fund the following year, but the
2019 edition was canceled due to a lack of funds
and no title sponsor. But it appears to be back next year, albeit in a slightly shorter format than the usual eight-day stage race. Onto some transfers and retirements. Something that seems to
becoming the norm now, Team Ineos have signed young Spanish rider Carlos Rodríguez on a four-year contract straight from Alberto Contador’s Kometa development team. He will skip the under-23 ranks, going from junior to world tour. We’ve seen this in other sports such as football for a long time, and it does mean that teams can control their race program,
monitor their development, and make sure that they’re
not being over-raced by having to battle their way through third division Conti teams. One of Great Britain’s
most respected riders, Steve Cummings, announced last week that he’s hanging up his wheels. The 38-year-old turned pro with Landbouwkrediet in 2005. Like most British riders
of his generation, he was initially a member of the team pursuit team on the track, taking silver in the Athens Olympics. And he was also a world
champion in that discipline before carving out a career
for himself on the road. He finished, having won 17
races including two stages of the Tour de France,
a stage in La Vuelta, and many more besides, including his home Tour of Britain in 2016. At 39, Italian Daniele Bennati also announced his retirement. He was one of 20 active
riders to have won stages in all three grand tours. Turning pro in 2002, he was a formidable sprinter in his day. He recorded 52 victories in total, the last of which coming in 2016. Enrico Gasparotto has changed
nationality from Italy to Switzerland in time
for the Olympic games, a practice which is not
that unusual in cycling where riders have switched allegiances, largely to open up doors of opportunity which may otherwise stay shut. It’s as old as the sport itself. The winner of the Tour of
France in 1907 and 1908, Lucien Petit-Breton, switched from being Argentinian to French at
the start of his career in an era where races
routinely lasted for 24 hours. Now, if you’re looking for
something else to watch, and if you want to know what it’s like to ride for 24 hours and if you also like seeing Hank in pain,
then you can watch him on another epic ride with Mark Bowman by clicking the link on your screen now. I know you won’t be disappointed. Before we go, if you’re
liking our limited edition Black Friday range, it’s selling fast and you’ve only got a short time to get yours at the
introductory offer price before it expires on the 4th of December. You can click the link on your screen now to order if you want to. Don’t forget, subscribe to GCN Racing, hit that bell icon so that you’re notified of our live races or when
we upload something new. Thanks for watching, have a great week. I’ll see you soon.