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Peter van den Abeele, the UCI cyclo-cross coordinator
Vegas World Cup still a possibility
The UCI today announced the schedule for the 2014-2015 Cyclo-cross World Cup, naming Milton Keynes in the UK as the first venue outside of continental Europe to host a round.
CrossVegas was heavily rumoured to be the site of the first race in the series on September 10, but the confirmation of that round is yet to me made. UCI cyclo-cross coordinator Peter Van Den Abeele explained to Cyclingnews that the UCI Mangement Commmittee has only approved seven of the races, and they are still holding out hope that the eighth will be in Las Vegas.
"The United States is not excluded because we only have seven of the eight rounds filled in, so there's still one round available," Van Den Abeele said.
"I would definitely not exclude that (having the USA host a World Cup round for 2014-15 season), but we have to be realistic that the longer the clock ticks the more it's going to turn to a no."
Defending world champion Sven Nys has been a proponent of globalizing cyclo-cross by extending the World Cup to America, but the well-entrenched calendar of Belgian races provides numerous road blocks for adding new races, especially ones that involve such extensive travel for the racers.
The position of CrossVegas in the very early season, well before the classic Belgian 'cross races, makes it more amenable to inclusion.
"I think that if there is an American World Cup round it has to be early season and the one most favorable is of course the [Las] Vegas one. It doesn't block anyone on the international calendar which is a huge advantage because it's on a Wednesday. It's early in the European season as well so it's very attractive calendar-wise. And of course for the industry there's Interbike so that is very attractive."
Van Den Abeele expects a decision to be made quickly on whether or not CrossVegas will be in the World Cup.
"Bearing in mind that CrossVegas is an early date in September then at least it should be figured out by the end of cyclo-cross season by the 21st [of February] or something."
Currently, the 2014-2015 World Cup opens in Valkenburg on October 19, followed by Koksijde on November 22, Milton Keynes on November 29, Namur on December 21 and Heusden-Zolder on December 26.
The new year sees Roubaix return to the World Cup before Hoogerheide hosts the final round on January 25 before the World Championships in Tabor on January 31.