Europe gets ready for the muddy cyclo-cross World Cup

Sven Nys is the dominant factor in cyclo-cross

Sven Nys is the dominant factor in cyclo-cross (Image credit: Isosport)

While most of the road cyclists are slowly getting tired both physically and mentally by the end of the summer when there's only the Giro di Lombardia and foul weather left, some cyclists seem to be fresh and keen on riding some races. It's that time of the year again for cyclo-cross. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé will guide you through this rather mysterious discipline.

The World Cup – which is more of a European Cup – has ten events of which three are in Belgium, two each in The Netherlands and France, one in the Czech Republic and one in Italy. In Spain there's only a men's race. The last couple of years there has been a lot of talking about a World Cup in the USA and it seems like Cross Vegas has the biggest chance of gaining a spot on the World Cup calendar in 2009. For now the World Cup stays in Europe and the first stop is in Kalmthout, Belgium, on Sunday October 19, 2008.

Peter Van den Abeele, a Belgian former professional rider who is the cyclo-cross coordinator for the UCI, is on a mission to internationalise the sport. Last year he managed to introduce a name sponsor, resulting in a changed name: the UCI World Cup presented by Safety Jogger. This year Van den Abeele managed to sell the TV-rights to more than twenty channels who will be showing a race report of 26 minutes in the United States, South Africa and countries in Asia. In Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, where veldrijden is unbelievably popular all World Cup events will be shown live on TV.

Van den Abeele opted to stop the confusion that existed around the World Cup and the UCI-ranking during previous years. Until last year there was a blue jersey for the leader in the UCI-ranking, which included all UCI-races and not only the World Cup events. The World Cup on the other hand didn't have an overall ranking.

This year the leader's jersey of the UCI-ranking has disappeared. The blue jersey has been swapped with a white jersey for the leader in the World Cup. The start money riders receive at the World Cup races is decided by this World Cup ranking as well. But the UCI-ranking remains extremely important as well since it decides the starting position in all UCI-races around the world, including the world championships.

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