Cyclo-cross will now take on the Cauberg, familiar to the pro road peloton from the Amstel Gold Race, with a new event scheduled for February 19 for the first time.
Former road and 'cross rider Adrie van der Poel explained that the race will be held for a least three years and that organisers hope to eventually hold a World Cup event or even the world championships on the course.
Van der Poel, the world 'cross champion in 1996, has set up a 2.7 km course. “We don't want too hard a course at the end of the season,” he told the Belga news agency. “Because we can get bad ground when it rains, I have set he uphill parts on paved roads and we downhill through the fields.
Jo Römling of the Valkenberg Cycling Federation said that the aim to get the best riders available. Zdenek Stybar won't be there, although “We have the top Belgians in Sven Nys, Bart Wellens and Niels Albert; we have the French champion Francis Mourey, the best Dutch riders and many others. That should be enough.”
The women's race is expected to include Daphny van den Brand, Sanne van Paassen and Hanka Kupfernagel, with Lars van der Haar, Vincent Baestens, Joeri Adams and Wietse Bosmans riding the U23 race. There will also be races for juniors and amateurs, he said.