The second oldest series of Belgian cyclo-cross has a new sponsor, a new name and a novel way to determine the overall classification. The former GvA Trofee, named after newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen, has become the bpost Bank Trofee, and the overall winner will be the one not with the most points, but with the lowest cumulative time for each of the eight races in the series.
The new sponsor was announced on Wednesday for the series which begins on Sunday, with the GP Mario De Clercq in Ronse, where the time classification will have its first test for the elite men. The women and under 23 men will still contest the series on points.
The riders can lose a maximum of five minutes per race, and if they drop out or do not start a race, they will receive a five minute penalty.
The intermediate sprint prize will remain in place but riders will be awarded 15, 10 and 5 seconds for first through third places in the sprint
Erwin Vervecken, the now-retired former world cyclo-cross champion, helped to design the time classification, and believes it will give new names an opportunity to succeed, rather than Sven Nys or Niels Albert.
"We have compared our new way to the times of last season and would see the same top five," said Vervecken. "I don't see it happening that way. In the first two hard 'crosses, all the minutes will be juggled.
The prize for the elite men has gone up as well. "We have a total of 35,000 euros more prize money this year. The winner of the bpost trofee in the pro's this year will receive 30,000 euros. The second 20,000, third 15,000 euros. The women also get a hefty raise," said organiser Christophe Impens.
bpost Bank Trofee 2012-2013:
October 14: GP Mario De Clercq in Ronse-Kluisbergen
November 1: Koppenbergcross in Oudenaarde
November 17: GP Hasselt
December 22: GP Rouwmoer Essen
December 28: Azencross Loenhout
January 1: GP Sven Nys in Baal
February 9: Krawatencross Lille
February 24: Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle