On Saturday 23rd November, it will be the third round of the 2013/14 Cyclocross World Cup, on one of the hardest and most iconic CX courses on the calendar – Koksijde!
steep and vicious, the course twists and curves beautifully, and most of the course is on sand. Here’s the course map, and all those green sections are dune-grass, and underneath it, lovely, lovely sand which makes for fantastic viewing but super-hard racing!
And best of all? We get to see both the women’s and men’s races live, courtesy of the UCI’s youtube – commentated in English, no less! This is such a boon, having the World Cups streamed, it really helps internationalise the sport. Watch it here:
In European time, the women start at 13:30 (12:3o UK time, 7:30am USA Eastern, 4:30am USA PST and 11:30pm Australian AEDT) and the men start at 15:00 (2pm UK, 9am USA EST, 6am USA PST, 1am AEDT) but before the race, the video should be giving a live count-down to when the streaming starts, so you can work it out more easily – after it’ll be the archived race.
There’s a ton of information on the race website, and if you want the Flemish coverage and aren’t in Belgium, I’m sure streams of Sporza will appear in the usual places. There’ll also be really useful information on Sporza’s CX Match Center.
Last year the women’s race was won by USA star Katie Compton – who also won in 2008 and 2010. 2009 winner Marianne Vos won’t be racing, as she gets over some minor surgery to remove a cyst, and 2011 winner Daphny van den Brand has retired – will Compton finally win in an odd-numbered year, or will we see someone new on top of the podium?
On the men’s side, current World Champion Sven Nys won last year, retaining his 2o11 title and making it his sixth overall victory in the World Cup. But Niels Albert, who won in 2010, and on this course at the 2012 World Championships, really really wants the win too… It’ll be fun all the way!
If you want a taster before it starts, here’s video from that 2011 Worlds – highights of the women’s, won by Vos, and then the men’s. I was there, the atmosphere was incredible, and if you’ve never watched cyclocross before, I can’t imagine a better place to start!