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Cyclo-cross Worlds course dubbed 'nutty' after pre-ride - Gallery

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Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) balances on the off-camber

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) balances on the off-camber
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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US champion Katie Compton signs autographs

US champion Katie Compton signs autographs
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Katie Compton (USA)

Katie Compton (USA)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The riders head out on course for training

The riders head out on course for training
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Katerina Nash (Czech Republic)

Katerina Nash (Czech Republic)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Ellen Van Loy (Belgium)

Ellen Van Loy (Belgium)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Ellen Van Loy tried the high line but it didn't work out

Ellen Van Loy tried the high line but it didn't work out
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sven Vanthourenhout joined the Belgian team for the pre-ride

Sven Vanthourenhout joined the Belgian team for the pre-ride
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars van der Haar (Netherlands)

Lars van der Haar (Netherlands)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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After several rounds, a rut was established at the top

After several rounds, a rut was established at the top
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sanne Cant (Belgium)

Sanne Cant (Belgium)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There is plenty of elevation on the course in Bieles

There is plenty of elevation on the course in Bieles
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu and David van der Poel test the stairs

Mathieu and David van der Poel test the stairs
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Hanka Kupfernagel and Mathieu van der Poel pose with children

Hanka Kupfernagel and Mathieu van der Poel pose with children
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The kids watch the riders take on the tricky parts of the Bieles course

The kids watch the riders take on the tricky parts of the Bieles course
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The French team puzzles over the off-camber

The French team puzzles over the off-camber
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jonas Degroote (Belgium)

Jonas Degroote (Belgium)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Maud Kaptheijns (Netherlands)

Maud Kaptheijns (Netherlands)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mathieu van der Poel displays his hip flexibility

Mathieu van der Poel displays his hip flexibility
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders take varying lines down into the off-camber

Riders take varying lines down into the off-camber
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jonas Degroot (Belgium)

Jonas Degroot (Belgium)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lindy van Anrooij had a spill

Lindy van Anrooij had a spill
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lindy van Anrooij (Netherlands) slides down the hill

Lindy van Anrooij (Netherlands) slides down the hill
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars Boom (Netherlands)

Lars Boom (Netherlands)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The course for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Bieles, Luxembourg, was open for practice this week, and the riders who got their first glimpse at the snowy, frozen, off-camber sections found a course that American Stephen Hyde called "nutty" and "way harder than it looks".

The championships kick off on Saturday with the junior men, U23 and elite women's races, and finish on Sunday with the U23 and elite men. View the official start lists here.

On Friday, the Dutch, French and Belgian teams took to the course, with Mathieu van der Poel, Wout Van Aert, Lars Boom and Sanne Cant all puzzling over the best way to tackle the technical sections.

Riders skittered down the frozen off-camber descent, looking less like bike racers and more like ballet dancers trying desperately to remain upright. The UCI shifted the course slightly to improve matters, but there were still some hairy sections, according to Katie Compton's partner Mark Legg.