International Cyclocross Weekend Preview

Photo courtesy of Tim Van Wichelen

On Saturday, Middelkerke, Belgium plays host to the final installation of the Cyclocross Superprestige. Last weekend, in Hoogstraten, Sven Nys clinched his victory, holding his hands in the air to indicate his tenth overall victory in the Superprestige. Regardless, start contracts remain in place, so the big guns will still toe the line, and besides, the battle for second place remains wide open, with Zdenek Stybar, Kevin Pauwels, and Niels Albert all within striking distance. Of the three, Kevin Pauwels has the most to gain – Stybar has won the rainbow jersey, and Albert won the UCI World Cup. A second place in the Superprestige would be a nice honor for Pauwels, and would bode well for his chances of taking on Nys in the finale of the GvA Trofee next week.

On Sunday, a smaller group of elite riders head to the Grote Prijs Heus in Heerlen. Some big names toeing the line there, notably Stybar, Pauwels, Mourey, Aernouts, de Knegt, and Walsleben, but with a smaller field, we might be in for some surprises in the top ten – perhaps even American Jonathan Page, who rode to 10th place in Hoogstraten last weekend. Also on Sunday is the C2 race GP Stad Eeklo, which promises appearances from top riders including Stybar and Pauwels, but considering the fact that those two are also on the start list of Heerlen, I’m not sure what to expect.

Overall, it’s a quiet weekend – Superprestige is all but determined, and the finale of the GvA Trofee is not until next weekend. It’s possible that some of the biggest engines will be easy on their legs and we may see some perpetual top-five or top-seven level racers making their way to the podium. There’s nothing I’d like more than to see a big, late-season win from a rider who rides in the long shadows of the biggest names in the sport.

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