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The ABC of CX: a who's who of the European cross peloton

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Because the more people understand what's happening, the more people I have to talk 'cross with. And that's a good thing. Now, even though most of the time they are all men-shaped mudhills on bikes, there are still some things you can recognise.

But first: pop-quiz! Can you tell me who these two are?

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ZDENEK STYBAR

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Team: QuickStep
Colours: White and blue
Special kit: World Champion
Could be confused with: no one. Both rainbow kit and QuickStep jersey are unique in the field.

NIELS ALBERT

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Team: BKCP Powerplus
Colours: White with black accents
Special kit: Belgian Champion
Could be confused with: no one, not as long as he's Belgian Champ. We'll talk again if he loses it half-way through the season.
How to pick him from a line-up: has a little golden cross (the religious cross, not the mud cross) charm dangling from his helmet

SVEN NYS

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Team: Landbouwkrediet
Colours: Dark green
Special kit: Rainbow armbands
Could be confused with: Vincent Bastaens, Sven Vanthourenhout
How to pick him from a line-up: His rainbows and the fact that he's usually ahead of his teammates

BART WELLENS

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Team: Telenet-Fidea
Colours: Yellow, white and blue
Special kit: World Champion bands
Could be confused with: Tom Meeusen, Rob Peeters, though Wellens is the only one with rainbows.
How to pick him from a line-up: Better runner than his teammates. Better runner than anyone else in the peloton, these days. Oldest of the Fidea lads.

KEVIN 'YOAH' PAUWELS

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Team: Sunweb-Revor
Colours: White, red and blue
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: Klaas Vantornout, Jim Aernouts
How to pick him from a line-up: Looks like he can't give interviews which consist of more than one syllable. Klaas VT is taller and older.

TOM MEEUSEN

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Team: Telenet-Fidea
Colours: Yellow, white and blue
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: Bart Wellens, Rob Peeters.
How to pick him from a line-up: Youngest of the Fidea bunch. Total babyface. Great at bunnyhopping.

KLAAS VANTORNOUT

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Team: Sunweb-Revor
Colours
: White, red and blue
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: Kevin Pauwels, Jim Aernouts
How to pick him from a line-up: Most confusion will occur between him, Sven and Dieter Vanthourenhout, a fact not helped by the similarity of their names. In his own team, Klaas is taller and lankier than the others.

SVEN VANTHOURENHOUT

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Team: Landbouwkrediet
Colours
: Dark green
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: Sven Nys, Vincent Bastaens
How to pick him from a line-up: Most confusion will occur between him, Dieter and Klaas Vantornout, a fact not helped by the similarity of their names. On his own team, he'll usually be behind his BFF 4EVAH, Sven Nys.

IAN FIELD

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Team: sponsored by Hargroves cycles
Colours: Red and yellow
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: Random Spaniards

BART AERNOUTS

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Team: Rabobank Offroad
Colours: Blue and orange, like an inverted Rabo kit
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: Gerben De Knegt
How to pick him from a line-up: Squarer head, sillier grin.

GERBEN DE KNEGT

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Team: Rabobank Offroad
Colours: Blue and orange, like an inverted Rabo kit
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: Bart Aernouts
How to pick him from a line-up: More of the tall tree Dutchman type than Bart. Tall, slim guy, long long legs.

JONATHAN PAGE

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Team: sponsored by BikePlanet
Colours: white
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: The BKCP-boys, maybe, but the BikePlanet logo is pretty obvious

FRANCIS MOUREY

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Team: FDJ
Colours: Like you don't know
Special kit: French champion
Could be confused with: no one

STEVE CHAINEL

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Team: FdJ
Colours
: seriously?
Special kit: /
Could be confused with: no one

PHILIPP WALSLEBEN

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Team: BKCP Powerplus
Colours: White with black accents
Special kit: German champion
Could be confused with: no one

 

 

 


Utterly hilarious Nys & Albert picture by Peter Huys, used under a creative commons license
Stybar picture by Patrick Verhoest
Niels Albert picture by Cindy Trossaert, used under a creative commons license
Sven Nys picture by Peter Huys, used under a creative commons license
Bart Wellens picture by Ronnes, used under a creative commons license
Kevin Pauwels picture from www.ktpauwels.be
Tom Meeusen picture by ednl, used under a creative commons license
Klaas Vantornout picture by Luc Timmermans, from www.klaasvantornout.be
Sven Vanthourenhout picture by Cindy Trossaert, used under a creative commons license
Ian Field picture by ednl, used under a creative commons license
Bart Aernouts picture by Peter Huys, used under a creative commons license
Gerben De Knegt picture by tgsgirl, who is me, so I'm allowed to use it
Jonathan Page picture by ednl, used under a creative commons license
Francis Mourey picture by Petit Brun, used under a creative commons license
Steve Chainel picture by Laurie Beylier, used under a creative commons license
Philipp Walsleben picture sramses177, used under a creative commons license