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Tech: Inside the Belgian headquarters at the cyclo-cross world championships

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Depending on what happens with the weather, Saturday's races could be monumentally challenging - for both the riders and the mechanics. Eva Bandman park clearly has more than enough mud and grass to go around and the freezing temperatures certainly aren't helping.

Depending on what happens with the weather, Saturday's races could be monumentally challenging - for both the riders and the mechanics. Eva Bandman park clearly has more than enough mud and grass to go around and the freezing temperatures certainly aren't helping.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This poor little sponge doesn't know what it's in for.

This poor little sponge doesn't know what it's in for.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Belgian national team took control of a sizeable conference room at the Sheraton Hotel in Louisville. Team mechanics were definitely happy to be working indoors.

The Belgian national team took control of a sizeable conference room at the Sheraton Hotel in Louisville. Team mechanics were definitely happy to be working indoors.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Somewhere in this mess are two chainrings, a crankarm, and a pedal - and maybe a front derailleur.

Somewhere in this mess are two chainrings, a crankarm, and a pedal - and maybe a front derailleur.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Consider this: compared to many bikes we saw coming off the course, this Belgian team bike is relatively clean.

Consider this: compared to many bikes we saw coming off the course, this Belgian team bike is relatively clean.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This looks like mud but what it actually is concrete disguised as mud. The bright sun and freezing temperatures wreaked havoc on bikes on Friday's training rides.

This looks like mud but what it actually is concrete disguised as mud. The bright sun and freezing temperatures wreaked havoc on bikes on Friday's training rides.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The only thing better than a pressure washer to a cyclocross team mechanic is one that pumps out heated water.

The only thing better than a pressure washer to a cyclocross team mechanic is one that pumps out heated water.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Before down below, and after up above. We sure hope those bottom bracket bearings are sealed well?

Before down below, and after up above. We sure hope those bottom bracket bearings are sealed well?
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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There is simply no substitute for highly pressurized water when it comes to getting bikes clean. Keep in mind, however, that all of these bikes are fully relubed and tuned after every wash, too.

There is simply no substitute for highly pressurized water when it comes to getting bikes clean. Keep in mind, however, that all of these bikes are fully relubed and tuned after every wash, too.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Real pro mechanics always make sure the undersides of the saddles are clean. Belgian team wrench Bart Risbourg has got this rider covered.

Real pro mechanics always make sure the undersides of the saddles are clean. Belgian team wrench Bart Risbourg has got this rider covered.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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"Never spray pressurized water directly at bearings." Uh huh.

"Never spray pressurized water directly at bearings." Uh huh.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Considering how dirty some of these bikes get, it's remarkable how clean they end up. Mechanics leave no stone unturned.

Considering how dirty some of these bikes get, it's remarkable how clean they end up. Mechanics leave no stone unturned.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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So what's it take to support a team of nine riders? The Belgian squad brought 60 bikes and 140 pairs of wheels - not to mention spare parts, mechanics, and staff.

So what's it take to support a team of nine riders? The Belgian squad brought 60 bikes and 140 pairs of wheels - not to mention spare parts, mechanics, and staff.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Belgian national team brought more gear to Louisville than some many US-based teams see all year.

The Belgian national team brought more gear to Louisville than some many US-based teams see all year.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Hopefully the Belgian national team's pit room has a seriously stout lock on the door.

Hopefully the Belgian national team's pit room has a seriously stout lock on the door.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Thursday's course recon was far more gentle on equipment.

Thursday's course recon was far more gentle on equipment.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Carnage awaits the team mechanics after riders' course recon on Friday. Bikes were coming back with 3kg of mud packed on, all of it frozen solid. And yes, we weighed the bikes ourselves.

Carnage awaits the team mechanics after riders' course recon on Friday. Bikes were coming back with 3kg of mud packed on, all of it frozen solid. And yes, we weighed the bikes ourselves.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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For sure this isn't a proper service course but all things considered, it beats working outside.

For sure this isn't a proper service course but all things considered, it beats working outside.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Belgian national team appeared to organize gear by trade team inside its hotel conference room compound.

The Belgian national team appeared to organize gear by trade team inside its hotel conference room compound.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Seriously, folks, the Belgians brought a massive pile of gear to Louisville.

Seriously, folks, the Belgians brought a massive pile of gear to Louisville.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Belgian national team rider Sanne Cant can not only ride rollers, she can do it no-handed while checking her iPhone.

Belgian national team rider Sanne Cant can not only ride rollers, she can do it no-handed while checking her iPhone.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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We shudder to think of how much it cost to get all of the team's equipment to Louisville.

We shudder to think of how much it cost to get all of the team's equipment to Louisville.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Belgian team mechanics are probably going to need these come race day.

The Belgian team mechanics are probably going to need these come race day.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Color coordinated bins help keep things orderly inside this parts box.

Color coordinated bins help keep things orderly inside this parts box.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Start doing the math here, folks. Keep in mind, too, that this is just one of several piles of wheels on hand.

Start doing the math here, folks. Keep in mind, too, that this is just one of several piles of wheels on hand.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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When a proper workstand isn't available, a fellow mechanic will do.

When a proper workstand isn't available, a fellow mechanic will do.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Pressure washers will be in high demand trackside on Saturday. Team mechanic Bart Risbourg will soon consider this one to be his best friend.

Pressure washers will be in high demand trackside on Saturday. Team mechanic Bart Risbourg will soon consider this one to be his best friend.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Hey, at least the chain is sort of clean.

Hey, at least the chain is sort of clean.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ever wonder what Belgians use to remove tubular glue? Here's your answer. Breathe deeply.

Ever wonder what Belgians use to remove tubular glue? Here's your answer. Breathe deeply.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The base of the truing stand arms are clamped in a vise in between aluminum blocks.

The base of the truing stand arms are clamped in a vise in between aluminum blocks.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Brass indicators are easily adjustable as needed. Beautiful.

Brass indicators are easily adjustable as needed. Beautiful.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Belgian team mechanic Dieter Clerx didn't built this truing stand with universal fitment in mind - one set of slots for front wheels, another for rears. Nothing more, nothing less.

Belgian team mechanic Dieter Clerx didn't built this truing stand with universal fitment in mind - one set of slots for front wheels, another for rears. Nothing more, nothing less.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Belgian team mechanic Dieter Clerx built this truing stand specifically for Louisville, knowing full well he wasn't going to have a solid bench-mounted vise on hand.

Belgian team mechanic Dieter Clerx built this truing stand specifically for Louisville, knowing full well he wasn't going to have a solid bench-mounted vise on hand.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Sven Nys has a chat with his mechanic, Dieter Clerx.

Sven Nys has a chat with his mechanic, Dieter Clerx.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Check out the file work on the back of this housing stop.

Check out the file work on the back of this housing stop.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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We've seen bikes that don't look this clean when new, let alone after they've been ridden on a horrendously muddy course. These team mechanics are magicians.

We've seen bikes that don't look this clean when new, let alone after they've been ridden on a horrendously muddy course. These team mechanics are magicians.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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How big time is Niels Albert? Yep, the current UCI world champion even gets custom brakes.

How big time is Niels Albert? Yep, the current UCI world champion even gets custom brakes.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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It's only because of the slight glint of red that we can identify this as an FSA crankset.

It's only because of the slight glint of red that we can identify this as an FSA crankset.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Belgium-themed Colnago Prestige belongs to Belgian junior racer Yannick Peeters. Given the early start time on Saturday and the cold overnight temperatures, we're thinking his bike will come out much cleaner than it did on Friday.

This Belgium-themed Colnago Prestige belongs to Belgian junior racer Yannick Peeters. Given the early start time on Saturday and the cold overnight temperatures, we're thinking his bike will come out much cleaner than it did on Friday.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Even training wheels are cleaned after each session.

Even training wheels are cleaned after each session.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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We wonder what the Belgian national team paid for the security deposit. Hotel staff may have wanted to cover a little more of the floor with plastic than they did.

We wonder what the Belgian national team paid for the security deposit. Hotel staff may have wanted to cover a little more of the floor with plastic than they did.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Spic and span.

Spic and span.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Team mechanic Dieter Clerx uses a flat file to reveal fresh braking surfaces for Niels Albert. Note the two-handed technique.

Team mechanic Dieter Clerx uses a flat file to reveal fresh braking surfaces for Niels Albert. Note the two-handed technique.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Shipping boxes weren't just used to transport gear. They also make convenient work benches, too. Note the numbering on the ends of the boxes, too - and no, they didn't stop at 43.

Shipping boxes weren't just used to transport gear. They also make convenient work benches, too. Note the numbering on the ends of the boxes, too - and no, they didn't stop at 43.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Team mechanic Dieter Clerx preps the Colnago Prestige of current UCI world champion Niels Albert.

Team mechanic Dieter Clerx preps the Colnago Prestige of current UCI world champion Niels Albert.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Why mark the seatpost position with just one strip of tape when you can use three? Preferably ones in national team colors, too.

Why mark the seatpost position with just one strip of tape when you can use three? Preferably ones in national team colors, too.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Even brakes are given the Belgian treatment on Yannick Peeters' Colnago Prestige.

Even brakes are given the Belgian treatment on Yannick Peeters' Colnago Prestige.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Homemade sealed cable sets keep water and dirt out of the housing.

Homemade sealed cable sets keep water and dirt out of the housing.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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We saw several bikes with Belgium-themed handlebar tape treatments, which is completely allowed since these riders are actually racing for the Belgian team. Chances are, however, that you are not.

We saw several bikes with Belgium-themed handlebar tape treatments, which is completely allowed since these riders are actually racing for the Belgian team. Chances are, however, that you are not.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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It's difficult to see here but there's a strip of protective tape on top of the top tube to keep the brake cable from scuffing the paint.

It's difficult to see here but there's a strip of protective tape on top of the top tube to keep the brake cable from scuffing the paint.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.com

Consider this: the Belgian national brought 20 riders to Louisville, Kentucky, for the first-ever UCI cyclo-cross world championship to be held on US soil. What's it take to support 20 riders? Try 66 bikes, 140 sets of wheels (all with tires mounted, mind you), countless spare parts and repair equipment and an army of team mechanics and staff. The Belgians aren't just coming – they're here, and in a big, big way.

We took a tour of their team area, which occupied a sizable conference room inside a local hotel. While it's not a proper service course by any means, it's awfully impressive considering the logistics of getting all of these people and gear here. Sit back and be awestruck.

Also, stay tuned for more in-depth features on some key Belgian team bikes, too. We're just getting started here.

Click here for our gallery.