Hell of the North, 'cross-style

World Cup leader Sven Nys

World Cup leader Sven Nys (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)

By Peter Hymas

The eighth round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup takes place this Sunday in Roubaix, France, on the grounds of the legendary Roubaix velodrome, a locale synonymous with professional cyclists battling the elements and crossing the finish line covered in mud.

While the legendary Paris-Roubaix classic doles out the suffering over expanses of pavé in northern France, the cyclo-cross edition of Roubaix concentrates all of the mud and adverse terrain on the grounds of the Roubaix velodrome, albeit with the same velodrome finish line.

The Roubaix World Cup will be the penultimate event for the Elite men and Elite women, while the U23 and Junior men conclude their abbreviated four-race World Cup season.

Sven Nys comfortably leads the men's World Cup and will wear the white leader's skinsuit at next weekend's final event in Milan, Italy even if he fails to score a single point in Roubaix. Only six other elite men have a mathematical chance of dethroning Nys for the series title and Nys only needs to accumulate 78 points in the final two rounds to clinch the World Cup. Nys has finished on the podium in five of the first seven World Cup races and has never finished worse than sixth place, so barring catastrophe Nys should wrap up the World Cup in first place.

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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.