The organizing committee of the cyclo-cross world championships in St. Wendel, Germany, had to rebuild parts of the course early on Sunday morning after vandals had caused damage overnight. During Sunday's racing action there will be more marshals and assistance from the German police.
During the first days of worlds the marshals had trouble to keep control of the enthusiastic fans. Several people were spotted neglecting the orders from the marshals and taking positions along the course wherever they wanted to. A corner with Shimano-wiring collapsed under the pressure of fans, which brought back memories to the overcrowded course of the cyclo-cross world championships from Hooglede-Gits in 2007.
The number of people attending the racing action on Sunday is expected to be much higher than on Saturday. The UCI and the organizing committee are very cautious.
UCI off-road discipline manager Peter Van den Abeele was surprised by the behaviour of the fans and explained action would be undertaken in order to prevent problems on Sunday.
“When we walked parts of the course to check the condition I was surprised when arriving near the so-called 'Villa Belgica' party tent. Lots of course wiring was damaged and poles were pulled out of the ground. Some mobile toilets were pushed on their side. Actually I was feeling ashamed to be a Belgian.
“The organizers wanted to fix it right away but I told them to wait until Sunday morning because these fans weren't planning to head to bed right away.
“The organizers are a bit surprised too as they haven't organized a cyclo-cross event in recent years. Since their worlds in 2005 and now the cyclo-cross crowd has changed a lot. But they're reacting well and requested more assistance from the police for Sunday,” Van den Abeele said.
More than half of the crowds in St. Wendel are coming over from Belgium, more specifically Flanders. It's no secret that a large contingent focuses on consuming the German beer rather than enjoying the sporting action.