Preview: Cyclo-cross World's in Italy

There's been a shake-up in the favourite's column this week

The 2008 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Treviso, Italy this weekend will offer some surprises, seeing that pre-race favourites Sven Nys and Katie Compton are paying the price for their season-long domination.

Returning champion Erwin Vervecken and local boy Enrico Franzoi are heavy favourites in the elite men's race on Sunday. Fatigue and injury plague Nys and Compton, but as we witnessed at the World's in Belgium last January, fate, luck and pure power will whisk the pre-destined champions to victory.

American silver medalist Jonathan Page is having a mediocre season, with compatriots Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers race-ready but not up to form to gain the podium against formidable racers like French fave Francis Mourey.

Like Nys, Compton dominated the bulk of the UCI calendar, but a muscle disorder may put the kibosh on her podium hopes in Treviso. Reigning women's world champ Maryline Salvetat may be running out of steam, opening the door for late-season bloomers Daphny Vanden Brand or Hanka Kupfernagel.

For a complete pre-race overview, check out our sister site cyclingnews.com. Tune in for complete results over the weekend.

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