Heavy Mud in Hoogerheide

For Immediate Release

Contact: Vicky Sama, JAM Fund Media Coordinator, jamcycling@gmail.com

Above photo by Phillippe Thys

Ellen Noble and Scott Smith of JAM/NCC/Vittoria represented Team USA at the Cyclocross World Cup series finale in Hoogerheide, Netherlands on Sunday. And it was brutal. The course was challenging with thick, heavy mud and a 45-stair run-up. It was Noble's third trip to Europe since November and her fifth time racing in the World Cup this season.

"Even after a disappointing race, there are still many reasons to smile," Noble said. "I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be here."

Noble is now ranked 22nd in the world.

Scott Smith welcomed the mud and ruts in his first-ever World Cup race. Photo by Kristel Van Gilst.

Scott Smith welcomed the mud and ruts in his first-ever World Cup race. Photo by Kristel Van Gilst.

Smith made his World Cup debut in Hoogerheide, finishing 41st among the U23 men--not bad for his first time on the European circuit.

"It was a great experience," Smith said. "The course was hard and fun. I felt like I averaged around a 50 cadence for the whole race."

Two weeks ago, Noble and Smith were racing in the slick mud at the U.S. National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina, where Noble defended her U23 Cyclocross National Championship. Smith got 4th. Now the two of them are preparing for the season's final test in Europe: the World Championships in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. Noble races on Saturday, Jan. 30 with the U23 women, who, unlike in the World Cup, will race in their own category separate from the elite women. She has the advantage of having raced in Zolder last month, which will be the same course this weekend with a few minor changes. Smith will race in the U23 men on Sunday, Jan. 31. Race organizers say 70,000 spectators could be at the race this weekend.

Bring on the cowbells!

Watch the highlights of the women's race in Hoogerheide above and see Noble's strong start (on the right side of screen).