In the shadow of the end of the road cycling season with the world championship in Belgium, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Lombardy, cyclo-cross has resumed its rights for a little over a month already. After several “small” events in Belgium and the Netherlands which allowed Toon Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout and Eli Iserbyt to clinch their first successes, the cyclo-cross World Cup kicked off on the week -end last in the United States at Waterloo.
In the absence of the tenors, Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert or even Tom Pidcock who are resting after a very long season on the road, it is Eli Iserbyt who won the 1st of the 16 rounds of this ranking of regularity. The American tour continues this week with the round of Fayetteville this Wednesday and that of Iowa City this Sunday. But in addition to the purely sporting interest, this second round will be followed with attention by the followers. Indeed, it is on this course in the city of Arkansas that the World Cup of the discipline will be contested on January 30th.
“If conditions remain as they are now, the course is tailor-made for Wout Van Aert”, estimates the double world champion Sven Nys who is currently there with his Baloise – Trek Lions team and describes a very unusual course: “I had never seen anything like it in my career, it looks like a video game because everything is artificial and a lot of investments have been made to develop a cyclo-cross course.”
A course for powerful runners
If the layout of the Mondial should undergo some changes compared to that of the World Cup round on Wednesday, the riders will already be able to take their bearings on this rocky course. Directly after the start, a long descent awaits the riders with many turns in a wood, “at this point, you can reach dizzying speeds all the way down”, explains Nys. In the process follows a long ascent before arriving on a plateau where most of the course is traced.
Overall, the course is made for powerful runners like Wout Van Aert: “It is not twisty or technical and it will not play out on the explosiveness at all. It is about long efforts of 40 to 50 seconds which suit Wout Van Aert perfectly even if Mathieu van der Poel can pull his plan on all terrains “, preface Nys which had been titled in 2013 in Louisville during the previous (and so far only) edition of the World Cup on American soil.
If they are therefore not present in Fayetteville and will not resume in the plowed fields before the end of November at least, it is a safe bet that Van Aert and Van der Poel will be very attentive to the progress of the test on Wednesday which could Already giving them many indications for the World Cup … They who are not yet certain of making the long trip to the United States at the end of January so close to the start of the road season.