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Gallery: Cyclo-cross riders preview muddy Plzen course

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(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Niels Albert gets a good preview of the course in Plzen

Niels Albert gets a good preview of the course in Plzen
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Some riders ended up getting even muddier than planned

Some riders ended up getting even muddier than planned
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Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Revor) earned a place on the Belgian team for Plzen

Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Revor) earned a place on the Belgian team for Plzen
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Petr Dlask (Cze) Madeta - Fitness / Specialized

Petr Dlask (Cze) Madeta - Fitness / Specialized
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Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus) runs the stairs

Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus) runs the stairs
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Martin Bina (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tábor

Martin Bina (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tábor
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Helen Wyman (Kona) in the Plzen snow

Helen Wyman (Kona) in the Plzen snow
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Niels Albert braved the snow to preview the course

Niels Albert braved the snow to preview the course
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team

Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
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Helen Wyman seems to enjoy the conditions

Helen Wyman seems to enjoy the conditions
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It's beginning to look a lot like…

It's beginning to look a lot like…
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Winter came early to Plzen ahead of the World Cup

Winter came early to Plzen ahead of the World Cup
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Niels Albert tests out the big staircase in Plzen

Niels Albert tests out the big staircase in Plzen
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The course turned into a slip-n-slide

The course turned into a slip-n-slide
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Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Melbotech Prorace CT

Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Melbotech Prorace CT
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Dieter Vanthourenhout ascends the giant staircase in Plzen

Dieter Vanthourenhout ascends the giant staircase in Plzen
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Karel Hnik (Sunweb Revor)

Karel Hnik (Sunweb Revor)
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Helen Wyman seems to enjoy the conditions

Helen Wyman seems to enjoy the conditions
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Snow fell on the Plzen course ahead of the World Cup

Snow fell on the Plzen course ahead of the World Cup
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Niels Albert covered head to toe in mud in Plzen

Niels Albert covered head to toe in mud in Plzen
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Dieter Vanthourenhout ascends the giant staircase in Plzen

Dieter Vanthourenhout ascends the giant staircase in Plzen
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Revor) earned a place on the Belgian team for Plzen

Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Revor) earned a place on the Belgian team for Plzen
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Robert Gavenda (Svk) Dukla Trencín Trek

Robert Gavenda (Svk) Dukla Trencín Trek
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) takes it slow on the steps in practice

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) takes it slow on the steps in practice
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus

Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor)

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor)
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Sophie de Boer (Ned) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team

Sophie de Boer (Ned) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
(Image credit: Photopress.be)

The second round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup takes place tomorrow in Plzen, Czech Republic and as snow falls on an already muddy course, the technical skills of the riders and their mechanics will be put to the test.

The riders took to the course on Saturday to preview the route, which was made a bit more compact this year to help spectators view the race, but still includes the massive 23-step staircase as the main obstacle.

In start contrast to last year's warm, sunny weather in which Sven Nys and Katie Compton prevailed, Sunday will favor the mudders.

World Cup leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) has shown his skill in wet conditions, as has his teammate Klaas Vantornout, who won a messy race in Ardooie last week before heading to the Czech Republic for the opening World Cup in Tabor.

World Champion Niels Albert will hope to distance his rivals early, rather than fall victim to the team tactics which hurt his chances in Tabor, while Belgian champion Nys will look for a mechanically flawless race, putting the broken chain of last week behind him.

Compton will also hope to separate herself from her tenacious rivals, including Sanne Van Paassen, who out-sprinted the American champion last week to claim the World Cup lead.

British champion Helen Wyman honed her mud skills in Providence, Rhode Island earlier this season, and gave the course a good testing today.

Racing begins at 10AM local time with the junior men, followed by the U23 riders at 11:10, elite women at 1:30PM and elite men at 3:00PM.