Men’s Preview: The Pro Men Set For A Muddy Fayetteville Debut
The men have arrived in Fayetteville, ready to contest the second World Cup race of the 2021/2022 UCI World Cup Series and the first chance to preview the 2022 World Championship course. The city is buzzing with excitement for what many are calling a dress rehearsal before the big day next year, in only the second time the United States have hosted the World Championships. The men taking the start Wednesday will gain a serious advantage three and a half months before they return in January. Rain and high winds are expected Wednesday, for what is sure to be a thrilling day in the mud.
Current European Cyclocross Champion, Eli Iserbyt of Belgium (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) is ready for the start, after his impressive win at UCI World Cup #1 at Waterloo, Wisc., over the weekend. Iserbyt beat his Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammate Michael Vanthourenhoet of Belgium, excelling in the muddy conditions to cross the line for a solo win. The duo will have all eyes on them, as they fight for another victory ahead of their rivals including countryman Quinten Hermans (Tormans-Circus) third last weekend, and The Netherlands Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) who finished fourth. Belgian Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions) will also be hoping to move up in the World Cup standings before heading back to Europe.
Cycling and cycle-cross superstars Alpecin-Fenix’s Mathieu van der Poel and Jumbo-Visma’s Wout Van Aert, opted to sit out the American races to rest after a highly contested road season and only a couple weeks after racing Paris-Roubaix. Also missing in the bunch is the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Mountain Bike Gold Medalist, Tom Pidcock. The Trinity Racing rider is nursing a minor knee injury, making the decision to skip the US races shortly before the season began to allow for a full recovery. Van der Poel will have the advantage of having his teammate, Niels Vandeputte, racing the course tomorrow.
The World Cup race will be the international debut of the newly designed course for Worlds. The course includes a 34-stair climb quickly followed by one of the steepest drops that will surely be a focus on the course. The American riders will have the home field advantage with the current US Cyclocross Champ Gage Hecht (Aevolo) hoping to better his placing in Wisconsin, finishing just outside the top 20. Joining him will be Kerry Werner (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano), the top finisher for the US last weekend, and Curtis White (Cannondale Cyclocross World). Both White and Werner have won at Fayette Cross but on a different course prior to the re-design.
Women’s Preview: Fayetteville’s World Cup Kicks Off World Championships ’Test Event’ and Unveils New Gold-Standard for Cyclocross-cross Courses
The second leg of the UCI’s Cycle-cross World Cup kicks off at Centennial Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Wednesday, October 13, 2021, and will feature some of the most dominant women of the past decade. The women’s race unveils the new gold-standard for cyclocross-cross and will feature the course for the UCI World Championships course, January 28-30, 2022.
Defending world-champion Linda Brand of The Netherlands (Baloise Trek Lions), six-time cycle-cross world-champion Marianne Vos of The Netherlands (Jumbo-Visma), three-time cycle-cross world-champion Sanne Cant of Belgium, 2020 Olympic gold-medalist in Mountain Biking Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing), silver medalist at ’19 World Championships Annemarie Worst of The Netherlands (777), and former Worlds podium finisher Denise Betsema of The Netherlands (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), highlight the women’s field.
The entire podium (Vos, – 1st, Brand – 2nd, and Betsema – 3rd) for the UCI’s World Cup this past weekend in Waterloo, Wisconsin, will be racing. Neff, who has been injured on and off this season, was the Olympic gold medalist in mountain biking at the Tokyo Games. The versatile Vos won two major races on the road this season: Ghent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold and has proven she’s in great form entering Wednesday’s race. Brand, perhaps the consistent performer on the world level for the past five years, enters the race as a co-favorite with Vos. Belgium’s Cant is especially tough in the mud, and with forecasts for possible rain, will no doubt play a factor for the win.
Last season’s Americas continental champion Maghalie Rochelle of Canada is the field’s dark horse. Czech Republic’s Katrina Nash is the oldest woman in the field at age 43 while Canada’s Ava Holmgren is 16.
The top American women will be represented and feature the Cannondale/Crossworld trio of Katie Clouse, Clara Honsinger, and Kaitlyn Keough, and Madigan Munro of Trek Factory Racing CX.
The new course will feature some unique elements including “Fayetteville’s Stonehenge” (yes, it resembles the iconic marker) and a challenging steep 39-stair climb peaking out at 31% stair-over-stair with a drop after of 21% that is the envy of any American skate park. The race features 33% of wooded canopy with a 400m climb per lap. The course is 97% grass with 3% asphalt.
After a short preview this afternoon, racing will kick off at 12:30 CDT LIVE on FloBikes. Connect with us direct from Fayetteville on our social media links as well as our featured content at www.cyclocrossfayettevillear2021.com.
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