Worlds on a String : 2016 UCI CX World Champs

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2016 NEW LIJN UCI Cyclo-cross WCh EN Linear-RGB

Heusden-Zolder lies in an area which used to be known as the
Land of Birdsong

The Cyclocross worlds are almost upon us. As I type, the Junior race starts in approximately 36 35 hours, and by late Sunday afternoon all the rainbow jerseys will have been dished out. Will Mathieu van der Poel double up and take the stripes for the second year running (& riding)? Can Sanne Cant crown a superlative season with the worlds jersey, to go match her Euro Champs version? (The absence of Marianne Vos & Pauline Ferrand-Prevot will surely help her).  The way this season has went it would be mad to bet against these two, but there are plenty of riders on the start line who will make life difficult for the two hot favourites.

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DoonBank Trofee : Super Quaich Rd2

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The first iteration of the DoonBank Trofee was held in late 2014, and was one of mud, mud, off-camber, and mud. It holds a place in my mind as Doom Bank, due to how tough the course was. The organizers of the 2016 version had chosen to move the race to a new location in Rozelle Park. I was keen to see how the course would run, given my experience last time out: more mud? more doom?

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Hoogerheide Cyclocross World Cup

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GP Adrie van der Poel

And so, my friends, it is time to prepare for the final round of the Cyclocross World Cup. It has been a rollercoaster of a season, which has taken us from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the Las Vegas desert to a French menagerie.  And now we get to do it all one more time, until next season of course, at Hoogerheide: one of the classic locations.

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Rouken Glen : Super Quaich Rd 1

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Today was my first taste of competitive cyclocross action in 2016. And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  Rouken Glen is a fantastic, natural arena, and the course organizers made great use of the features to create a challenging parcours that was also fun to ride. The icing on the cake was the snowfall during Saturday, which gave the race an extra dimension, while lending itself to beautiful, snowy, race imagery.

RGCX is part of the Superquaich series of races, with an A&B race, of mixed age and gender in each round, with points availale as well as promotion, relegation and bragging rights. I was allocated a place in the B race.

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Lignieres-en-Berry Cyclocross World Cup

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First of all a ‘Happy New Year’ to all you lovely people out there who are reading this- welcome to the first post of 2016 on moto3.

It has been a busy few weeks since my last post. ‘Holy Week’ has been and gone, and we had the small matter of the various national championships being hotly disputed across the northern hemisphere. So there is plenty to talk about in previewing this weekend’s UCI World Cup action. Before that lets have a look at the venue for Sunday’s excitement.

 

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Zipping around Zolder : UCI CX WC roundup

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It was a great day’s racing at Zolder in Boxing Day for the UCI CX World Cup. The course was running dry and fast with little in the way of mud to deal with. Physically less demanding than last week at Namur, but with a sting in the tail in the shape of a strength-sapping run up (no steps here like last year) and a steep, but rideable section to get to the top of the course.

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Heusden-Zolder UCI CX World Cup Preview

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The Christmas meal has been eaten, some grilled turkey and a sprout shake? Presents exchanged- a multi tool perhaps? And Christmas songs sung… “We three Kings of Orient are, one by bike and one by car…” of course. And that’s it- Christmas is already almost over- but for all ‘Cross fans the most wonderful time of the year is about to start!

Heusden-Zolder is where the world’s best ‘crossers will re-engage in their battle to win the UCI World Cup. This is the first race in a busy period dubbed Holy Week. It will give a good indication of who is on form for the packed calendar of races leading up to the National Championships, and who hit the Christmas pies too hard (guilty as charged).

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The Holy Week of Cyclocross

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Boxing Day,  26 December, sees the start of the busiest period on the European cross calendar.

It all kicks of with a round of the UCI CX World Cup at Heusden-Zolder, and ends a breathless 8 days later on Jan 3rd at the Soudal Classic in Leuven, with another four races in between. During the festive race card there are two rounds of the bpost trofee, including Sven Nijs’ own race on New Years Day, and a round each of the Superprestige and the World Cup.

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Cross at the Castle – Namur roundup

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Women’s race

The start  of the women’s race saw Eva Lechner and Christine Majerus set the early pace along with Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris. Wyman managed to get tangled in the tape at the top of one of the characteristic drop-offs, and lost some positions she would never regain. World Cup leader Sanne Cant was still suffering muscle pain from a crash a couple of weeks ago. Despite a strong showing  at the Scheldecross she would not feature at the pointy end of this race.

Nikki Harris came to the front toward the end of the first lap and followed up with a huge uphill dig early in the second to gap teammate Helen van Loy as well as the early leaders.  The Brit quickly built some rhythm and a lead to remain comfortable for the remainder of the race. Continue reading

Storming the Castle- Namur World Cup CX preview

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After a month’s hiatus the UCI Cyclocross World Cup is once again in the minds of the ‘cross toppers. The citadel of Namur provides a stunning backdrop to one of the toughest courses on the calendar and riders will be wary of the numerous steep upward and downward sections as they wind their way through the muddy forest and around the imposing stronghold.

 

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