The bpost Bank Trofee will kick off on Sunday with the GP Mario de Clercq in Ronse, when the top names of cyclo-cross will come together for the first time in the season. Formerly known as the GvA Trofee, the series is in its 26th season, but just the second in its current incarnation.
An overall time classification which was applied to the men's series for the first time last year, will be part of the women's series this season. The U23s and newcomers will still race on points for the series overall.
The series will include the usual eight races, starting in Ronse, then moving to Oudenaarde for the Koppenbergcross on November 1. The races in Hasselt (November 17), Essen (December 22) and Loenhout (December 28) are followed by the GP Sven Nys in Baal on New Year's Day, and the Krawatencross in Lille and Sluitingsprijs in Oostmalle after the world championships.
Series coordinator Erwin Vervecken said that there will only be small changes made to the series this year, with the addition of the time classification for women and a course change for the GP Rouwmoer in Essen the main alterations.
"The cyclo-cross in Essen will undergo a metamorphosis. The new site is located at the station. Last year we had a lot of logistical problems in Essen. Everything will now be a lot better. Not only for the campers of the riders but also for the public. It will be a largely flat course, but there will be some technical sections."
There will also be additional security for the riders at the Azencross in Loenhout, with changes being made to the beer tent to prevent the kind of incident which took place last year when a spectator threw beer on Sven Nys.