The major Belgian cyclo-cross race series, the bpost Bank Trofee and Superprestige, as well as the UCI World Cup, are ready to bring their brands to the United States. Representatives of the series met with the UCI Cyclo-cross commission this weekend to discuss ways to expand the reach of the discipline outside of Belgium.
The only barrier to expansion across the Atlantic is the fatigue riders face due to the travel and time zone changes
Christophe Impens, who works with the bpost Bank Trofee, said there are two important conditions for bringing the races to the USA: "The three series - World Cup, Bpost Bank and Superprestige - must be part of a block, and there must be a ninth race. We do not want any of our current 'crosses to be lost for an American round," he told Sporza.be.
"We want to avoid the riders having to fly back and forth three times, and having to overcome jetlag. Therefore all matches must be completed within a period of 10 days, preferably sometime in September," Impens said.
In the early season, riders are not yet in top form, and the jetlag will be less of a concern. Riders such as Sven Nys, Lars van der Haar, Bart Wellens, and Rob Peeters have already tested the concept by racing in the season opener in Las Vegas, Cross Vegas, with little impact on the remainder of their season.
Impens clarified to Gazet van Antwerpen that the concept of a US round is only in the idea phase.
"We made it clear to the UCI that we are not reluctant to do a race in the US, but otherwise there was nothing discussed. What about our sponsors? Television? Logistics? We haven't talked about that."
The UCI had previously objected to adding another round to the race series, but now seems to be opening up to the possibility. "New bosses bring in new rules," UCI 'cross coordinator Peter Van den Abeele said, adding he had a good feeling about the conversation and the cooperation of the other series organisers.
"I still have over a month of work to do, because the new calendar will be presented on the eve of the world championships."