Wow what a weekend for the US! First Danny Summerhill takes silver in the junior race then Katie Compton takes silver in the women’s race, and Jon Page takes silver in the men’s elite race. All three had a chance for the victory. Local Portland racer Rhonda Mazza rode to a very respectable 11th in the women’s race. Erik Tonkin (43rd) and Ryan Trebon (23rd) finished on the lead lap in the men’s race. Suggesting that three US riders would medal would have been preposterous so this was huge. There’s a nice bit about the race at Pez as well.
Page was helped by Bart Wellens’ and Sven Nijs’ woes. Wellens crashed in the second lap and broke his wrist and still managed to finish fourth. Nijs crashed into Wellens and then twice more before giving up and coming across in 11th. Video of the Wellens crash here.
Wellens is talking about sueing (perhaps Fidea instigated?) the Worlds promoters for negligence. He’ll miss seven races worth of start and prize money. Look at the video — the camera motorbike knocks a poorly secured barrier into Wellens’ path. Those camera motorbikes are a staple at televised races and the barrier configuration is probably pretty standard too. I think the case is pretty weak.
I know that this is probably the most circulated crash video of the season but I’ll link it here anyway. The weekend prior to the Worlds, the conditions at Hoogerheide were awful. Early in the first lap, there was a major stack-up at a nasty corner at the bottom of a steep descent. Watch it here. As Terry K. mentioned, that corner likely wasn’t new to them yet it ate up a number of the best cross racers in the world.