The second round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup takes place tomorrow in Plzen, Czech Republic and as snow falls on an already muddy course, the technical skills of the riders and their mechanics will be put to the test.
The riders took to the course on Saturday to preview the route, which was made a bit more compact this year to help spectators view the race, but still includes the massive 23-step staircase as the main obstacle.
In start contrast to last year's warm, sunny weather in which Sven Nys and Katie Compton prevailed, Sunday will favor the mudders.
World Cup leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) has shown his skill in wet conditions, as has his teammate Klaas Vantornout, who won a messy race in Ardooie last week before heading to the Czech Republic for the opening World Cup in Tabor.
World Champion Niels Albert will hope to distance his rivals early, rather than fall victim to the team tactics which hurt his chances in Tabor, while Belgian champion Nys will look for a mechanically flawless race, putting the broken chain of last week behind him.
Compton will also hope to separate herself from her tenacious rivals, including Sanne Van Paassen, who out-sprinted the American champion last week to claim the World Cup lead.
British champion Helen Wyman honed her mud skills in Providence, Rhode Island earlier this season, and gave the course a good testing today.
Racing begins at 10AM local time with the junior men, followed by the U23 riders at 11:10, elite women at 1:30PM and elite men at 3:00PM.