Following the success of the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky this month, the UCI has expressed its hopes that the USA and Great Britain will host World Cup rounds in the 2014-2015 season.
Speaking to Cyclingnews upon the release of the World Cup calendar for 2013, UCI ‘cross coordinator Peter van den Abeele explained why there are only seven rounds next season rather than eight as in past years.
“We had some options but nobody could organize [a race] on the 1st of December. Although we were very close to having an event in Great Britain next season, unfortunately it didn't happen but we will try to make it happen for the 2014-2015 season, as we will do for an American World Cup round for '14-'15 season.”
The Worlds in Kentucky demonstrated to the Europeans that it is possible to travel the long distance across the Atlantic to compete, and still race at a high level. After the race, there was talk of starting the World Cup in the USA.
It is not the first time the concept has been put forth: in 2008 Providence, Rhode Island had the support of the UCI to become a World Cup but the designation fell through.
CrossVegas was discussed as a possible World Cup for 2009, but once again the designation never materialized.
CrossVegas promoter Brook Watts confirmed to Cyclingnews that he is “engaged in a period of investigation and due diligence” to host the World Cup there, but said, “A commitment like that has to be a sound business decision, not a rash ego move.”
“[CrossVegas] has the biggest crowd of any non-Euro race,” Watts said. “No other event could attract that scale of crowd even with the halo of a World Cup, non-cross fans wouldn't know a World Cup from a local race anymore than I'd know high school tennis from a Davis Cup match.
“The tie-in with Interbike is a natural to draw fans, especially with the new consumer day at Interbike beginning in 2013. Of course the travel is a bit more but it's early season and the return to Europe before the major races start is really the only window of opportunity for a US stop.”
Seven rounds for all four fields
Although the World Cup has been reduced to seven rounds, there have been some changes made: The Dutch town of Valkenburg will host the opening round with the Caubergcross on October 20.
Round 2 will move to the Czech Republic for the round in Tabor a week later and, after a month-long gap, Koksijde will host round 3.
Namur and Zolder will hold their World Cups over the Christmas holidays on December 22 and 26, respectively, but those will be the last World Cups inside Belgium.
The Rome World Cup is slated to take place over two days, January 4-5, and Nommay, France will hold the final round on January 26, 2014 before the World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands on February 1 -2.
“It's important to have a new event in Netherlands with Valkenburg, keeping in mind the great results of the young Dutch riders and the female top star Marianne Vos, looking towards next year's world championships in Hoogerheide,” van den Abeele said.
“Having Rome back on the World Cup calendar with its great potential venue and the easy travel access maintains the Italian ‘cross development process. The French World Cup will be hosted in Nommay, it will serve as the World Cup finals. Cyclo-cross is popular in this area and it's close to Francis Mourey’s hometown.”
For the first time the World Cup will have the same number of races for all four categories: juniors, under 23s, elite women and elite men. In the past there have been elite men-only races in Spain, and this season two rounds had only elite men and women, Roubaix and Namur.
“Indeed we opted to host all seven World Cup rounds for Men and Women Elite but also for the Junior and U23 category, it makes the World Cup more complete. Definitely keeping in mind that some of the organisers already hosted side events for Juniors and U23.”