UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup leaders Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and Sanne Cant (Enertherm - BKCP) will aim to win their respective titles upon the series’ sixth and final round at the GP Adrie van der Poel in Hoogerheide, Netherlands on Sunday.
Pauwels is leading the elite men’s series with 370 points, 80 points ahead of Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) and 87 points ahead of Corné Van Kessel (Telenet Fidea).
Pauwels placed second at the opener in Valkenburg behind Van der Haar and second again in Koksijde behind Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace). He went on to win the third round in Milton Keynes and won the fourth round in Namur. He finished second place in Heusden-Zolder, again behind Van der Haar.
There are 80 points awarded to the winner at the finish line in Hoogerheide, so even if Van der Haar wins, Pauwels only needs to finish the race with one point in order to secure the overall title.
Under-23 riders Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) have decided to compete in the elite races at both the World Cup in Hoogerheide and the upcoming World Championships in Tabor. However, both riders are not in contention for the elite men’s World Cup title.
The second-placed rider in the under-23 World Cup series is Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) and he now has the best chance of claiming the overall title. He has a lead of 15 points over Laurens Sweeck (Belgium), who is out of the race after being implicated in a long-running investigation involving Dr. Chris Mertens. The doctor is accused of providing illegal ozone treatment to his athletes.
Clément Venturini (France) is sitting in fifth place in the under-23 standings, 44 points behind Vanthourenhout.
Cant is aiming to win her first World Cup title in the elite women’s category, and needs to finish no less than top five in order to do so. She is leading the series with 206 points, 29 points ahead of US champion Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) and 30 points ahead of Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea).
With the late-season additions of Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv Women Cycling), who won the World Cup in Heusden-Zolder, and Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), who won the World Cup in Namur, the race for the overall title is far from over.
The World Cup in Hoogereide is also the last chance for the racers to test themselves against one another ahead of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic from January 31 to February 1.