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The Cyclo-Cross World Cup must be reworked: everyone is (finally) agree

Like last year, the penultimate round of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup disputed under the Spanish sun of Benidorm offered a lot of spectacle both for women (success of fem van empel at the elbow with puck Pieterse) that among men (victory of Wout Van Aert… without saddle, in front of Michael Vanthourenhout). The Spanish round is one of the great satisfactions of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and Flanders Classics, in charge of the organization of this cyclo-cross World Cup. In two seasons, the test disputed on the sidelines of the teams at the start of the season of the teams, now almost all located in Spain during the months of December and January, was able to convince by its career, its ideal weather conditions and its place in the calendar. The example of what is suitable for both cyclists and publics.

Despite this success, the Cyclo-Cross World Cup version Flanders Classics has trouble convincing distance. Passed at 16 and then 14 rounds, the regularity challenge does not attract the big stars from October to January as some hoped. And the desired internationalization remains for the moment very Eurocentrée, confirming the difficulty of detaching itself from the Belgian-Dutch roots of this winter sport.

This is explained, for the first criticism, by the diversification of the main figures of the cyclo-cross, Mathieu van der Poel, Wout Van Aert and Tom Pidcock in mind, which have objectives on the road, in mountain biking or in Gravel, and chain marathon seasons. The body and head must also cut, and return to the turbine for four months during the winter imposes a rhythm incompatible with a peak in shape on other moments of spring or early fall. It is not for nothing that Wout Van Aert decided this season to resume the cyclo-crosss in early December, to conclude its season less than two months later, to recover as well as possible in view of the Flanderian classics. The sorrowful spirits will reply that Van der Poel did not need these sacrifices to win Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix, last year, in addition to its title of world champion in the Laborés. Whatever, even Van der Poel lightened his program this winter, taking the races in December to chain over two months then, to the world championships.

Regarding the second criticism, on internationalization, we can argue that the trials of Dublin, Ireland, Val di Sole, in the Italian mountains, and Benidorm, in Spain, brought a breath of freshness in the calendar, that Only the World Cup has been able to bring so far. At the same time, the trip to the United States which so far opened the calendar has been reduced to a single round, reducing the American market a little more, which sometimes resembles isolated land between September and December, before arrival On the old continent for the splendid Christmas period.

A final criticism this time emanated from organizers and teams specializing in the discipline: 14 Sundays allocated to World Cup races, this requires racing choices. Difficult to chain a classification race (superprestige, X2O badmers trophy …) on Saturday to fly to Ireland, Italy or Spain the next day. The teams also argue from a limited portfolio, which prevents certain trips, notably to the United States or Italy, for a single race.

These numerous spouts around the World Cup led the UCI and Flanders Classics to think about a new reform. It remains to be seen under what conditions. The runners and managers of specialized teams call to be heard, to assert their arguments as to an improvement in calendar, for their well-being, but also for the good of their sport. The UCI, by the voice of the director of sport Peter van den Abeele, confirms for its part in an interview with Wielerflits that discussions are underway and that they risk lasting beyond the world championships in Tabor in early February , preventing the publication of the calendar the day after the rainbow races, as is normally tradition.

Peter van den Abeele does not want to get wet as much as the number of ideal sleeves, citing rather between 10 and 12 races for a better balance in the calendar. He notes that “times have changed”, that we must “offer opportunities to these runners (who diversify) to continue to participate in large cyclo-cross”. This argument is however kicked out in touch by Tom Pidcoc

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