On November eight, the inaugural Red Bull Velodux, a relay cyclo-cross event, will take place in the Swiss town of Estavayer-Le-Lac with former road race World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and current cross country World Champion Julien Absalon taking part.
The Red Bull Velodux will take place in and around the Estavayer castle over a 2.8km loop that features cobblestones, stairs, jumps and a wall ride while a section of the course will be watered down to further challenge the riders.
The race is set to last for one hour plus one lap which will determine the winning team. 30 teams of two will fight for the victory with riders needing to pass a baton to each other upon the completion of each lap.
Gilbert will be riding with his BMC teammate Danilo Wyss for his first cyclocross race in six years and first relay race in his career.
"It will certainly be comical," Gilbert told the RedBull website of his return to the sport. "I will not touch the bike the night before. We will train on the course and it should go ok. Last year, I rode a few hundred meters in a parking lot with a BMC cyclocross bike and I immediately had a good feeling. I look forward to test all of this in real life.
"We'll see what happens. I find the idea excellent."
Absalon (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team) will be patterned with one of his teammates, either Lukas Flückiger or Ralph Näf and is focused on enjoying the race rather racing to win as he normally does.
"Cyclocross specialists will be unbeatable at Red Bull Velodux," Absalon said of his own chances. "But it will be interesting to see cyclists on the road and all the other pros. I like it when athletes from various disciplines compete for the same race.
"As a junior, I started winter cyclocross training because I had a deficit in terms of power," Absalon added. "Now, it helps me keep in touch especially with the competition so starting the new season of mountain biking is easier.
"The cyclocross is so specialised that we have no chance against the specialists. They focus all their preparation in relation to the winter season. But I'll do the best on the day."
While Gilbert may be in the midst of the off-season and unwilling to take any risks, he is looking forward to a new kind of race.
"I'm absolutely not fit, but we are cyclists," Gilbert said of his chances. "So we'll give everything, even if it is primarily for fun and not necessarily to win.
"[The course] will be interesting, but we will not take too many risks. We don't want to hurt ourselves."
The Red Bull Velodux is a free spectator event with the men's race starting at 2pm.
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