World Cup Preview: Round 4 – Igorre, Spain

Photo by Balint Hamvas | cyclephotos.co.uk

The UCI Cyclocross World Cup heads to Iggore in the Basque region of Spain for round number four. After last weekend’s battle in the sand of Koksijde, all eyes will be on Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels. This is the eighth time Iggore has hosted a world cup round and Nys has won half of those races. However, the last time he took the top step of the podium was in 2008. Zdenk Stybar won in 2009 and Niels Albert took the victory in 2010. With Albert still healing from a broken wrist, Stybar will be one of a few riders looking to upset Pauwels and Nys.

After several days of heavy rain, the course in Iggore will once again be extremely muddy and challenging, making the battle for the win and the overall even more spectacular. Currently Pauwels leads Nys by a slim five point margin, with Stybar a distant third, 25 point behind Pauwels. Francis Mourey, who finished second in Iggore last year, sits fourth overall, 50 points back. Mourey has had a solid season and would love to podium again in Iggore.

Outside of the affore mentioned riders, look for Klass Vantornout to contend for victory, especially if the conditions are as muddy as predicted. Bart Wellens has had previous success in Iggore, but struggled last weekend and appears not to be on top form right now. American Jonathan Page is another rider who seems to ride well in the Basque region and would love to have some success as he rebounds from a poor start this year.

Jeremy Durrin is the only other American taking the start in Iggore as he begins a mid-season European campaign. Brit Ian Field has elected not to take the start in Spain. The last time a Spanish rider landed on the pdoium in Iggore was in 2004 with David Seco. Despite having eight starters, it would be surprising to see any Spaniard inside the top ten.

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