For the first time in cyclo-cross history, the elite women have been assured full television coverage of most of their major races - the World Cup, Superprestige and Bpost Bank Trofee races.
The UCI has previously shown live streaming of the men and women's World Cup races, but most of the coverage for the Superprestige and BPost Bank Trofee races has been limited to recaps shown in the minutes leading up to the elite men's broadcast.
Sporza and Telenet have taken over television rights for the Superprestige, and will broadcast the elite women's race live for all eight Bpost Bank races the three Superprestige events it will air - Ruddervoorde and Gavere in November, and Hoogstraten in February.
Belgian champion Sanne Cant is happy to finally have live coverage, and emphasised to Sporza the importance for racers and their sponsors. "It's great news that our women's crosses will be seen live on television," Cant said to Sporza. "We have come a long way, and are happy with every step we take now."
The women's coverage begins with this weekend's GP Mario De Clercq in Ronse, the first race in the Bpost Bank Trofee, and will also be available via livestream online.
Van Aert aiming for five of five
Wout Van Aert may have missed out on the rainbow jersey, but the Vastgoedservice Golden Palace rider has shown himself to be the top rider so far this season, with four victories to his name so far.
After taking out the opening World Cup in Las Vegas, his first Belgian races in Neerpelt and Erpe-Mere last month, and the first Superprestige round in Gieten, he is now taking aim at the Bpost Bank Trofee opener in Ronse on Sunday.
"I'm not overconfident, but I'm not nervous either," Van Aert said to Sport.be. "To have a few victories in my pocket so early in the season gives me peace. I can't be afraid they will ride me off their wheels on Sunday. But getting five out of five in Ronse would be great."
Van Aert hasn't had the best luck in Ronse - he was only seventh last year, over two minutes behind in the time-based series, but he is keen to take out the Bpost Bank series again after his come from behind win last season.
"It's pretty much my favourite overall classification. The Bpost Bank Trophy has its roots in the Kempen and many races are near my neighbourhood," Van Aert said.
Van Amerongen disqualified in Gieten
Dutch rider Thijs van Amerongen was struck from the results page after the Superprestige round in Gieten last weekend - the reason? Because he had a camera installed on his bike that broadcast live images from the race.
Because permission was not granted in advance by the UCI, the race jury disqualified Van Amerongen, who finished 12th behind Wout Van Aert..
Van der Poel, Nys to act as ambassadors at European Championships
For the first time, the European Cyclo-cross Championships will have an elite men's field, and two of the sport's biggest names will help promote the race - current world champion Mathieu van der Poel and Belgian Sven Nys.
The race will take place in Huijbergen in the Netherlands on November 7, near where van der Poel's father Adrie grew up. "I am honoured to be the ambassador of the European Championship," said van der Poel. "I know the course with its beautiful dunes, that are only a few kilometres from my place of residence, and look forward to fight early in the season for the first European title in cyclo-cross for elite riders. As reigning world champion, I'm going to try to win the European jersey that day in front of my home crowd."
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