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Louisville USGP final test run for 'cross Worlds course

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The USGP Derby City Cup finish line structure was erected on Friday which involved closing down a section of River Road.

The USGP Derby City Cup finish line structure was erected on Friday which involved closing down a section of River Road.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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It's a short sprint to the finish line after transitioning from grass to asphalt at the end of the lap.

It's a short sprint to the finish line after transitioning from grass to asphalt at the end of the lap.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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This section of the course through the woods is hard-packed and very fast.

This section of the course through the woods is hard-packed and very fast.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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As riders make this right hand turn to approach the pits for the second time they can see the Ohio River straight ahead.

As riders make this right hand turn to approach the pits for the second time they can see the Ohio River straight ahead.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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This section of ashphalt was the start/finish straight last year, but now is run in the opposite direction late in the lap.

This section of ashphalt was the start/finish straight last year, but now is run in the opposite direction late in the lap.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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When the riders turn left at the end of this short straight they'll be back on River Road for a short sprint to the finish line.

When the riders turn left at the end of this short straight they'll be back on River Road for a short sprint to the finish line.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The off-camber section following the 180-degree turn will be a tricky affair.

The off-camber section following the 180-degree turn will be a tricky affair.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The penultimate power climb, late in the lap and back in the woods.

The penultimate power climb, late in the lap and back in the woods.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The drop down from the penultimate climb to the last rise on the lap.

The drop down from the penultimate climb to the last rise on the lap.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The final sting in the legs on the Louisville USGP circuit is this punchy ascent several hundred metres from the finish line.

The final sting in the legs on the Louisville USGP circuit is this punchy ascent several hundred metres from the finish line.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The view down pit lane for the riders' first pass through the pit area.

The view down pit lane for the riders' first pass through the pit area.
(Image credit: Lyne Lamoureux)
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The calm before the storm - Louisville, Kentucky's Evan Bandman Park in the early stages of USGP course set-up this week.

The calm before the storm - Louisville, Kentucky's Evan Bandman Park in the early stages of USGP course set-up this week.
(Image credit: Lyne Lamoureux)
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Deep sand on rolling terrain will test the USGP 'crossers.

Deep sand on rolling terrain will test the USGP 'crossers.
(Image credit: Lyne Lamoureux)
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The flyover is a permanent fixture at Eva Bandman Park.

The flyover is a permanent fixture at Eva Bandman Park.
(Image credit: Lyne Lamoureux)
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Spigots in the pit area will provide water for bike washes no matter how cold the temperature gets.

Spigots in the pit area will provide water for bike washes no matter how cold the temperature gets.
(Image credit: Lyne Lamoureux)
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A blazing fast section of hardpack on the Louisville USGP circuit.

A blazing fast section of hardpack on the Louisville USGP circuit.
(Image credit: Lyne Lamoureux)
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Beautiful fall foliage in Eva Bandman Park.

Beautiful fall foliage in Eva Bandman Park.
(Image credit: Lyne Lamoureux)
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The course utilises a section of woods in Eva Bandman Park.

The course utilises a section of woods in Eva Bandman Park.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The limestone steps are negotiated immediately after descending off the embankment and making a 180-degree turn back up the slope.

The limestone steps are negotiated immediately after descending off the embankment and making a 180-degree turn back up the slope.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The embankment on the edge of the park closest to River Road was well-utilised for its elevation change opportunities - including this steep descent to a 180 turn, followed by a run-up.

The embankment on the edge of the park closest to River Road was well-utilised for its elevation change opportunities - including this steep descent to a 180 turn, followed by a run-up.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The transition from grass to asphalt at the course's final left turn onto the finishing straight.

The transition from grass to asphalt at the course's final left turn onto the finishing straight.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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After the peloton flies down the opening stretch of pavement on River Road, they'll turn left onto the grass and into Eva Bandman Park.

After the peloton flies down the opening stretch of pavement on River Road, they'll turn left onto the grass and into Eva Bandman Park.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The twin towers of cyclo-cross, former teammates Barry Wicks, left, and Ryan Trebon, right, preview the course on Friday.

The twin towers of cyclo-cross, former teammates Barry Wicks, left, and Ryan Trebon, right, preview the course on Friday.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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A lenghty section of sand over rolling terrain will put one's power and bike handling skills to the test.

A lenghty section of sand over rolling terrain will put one's power and bike handling skills to the test.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The expansive pit area, which the riders will pass twice per lap.

The expansive pit area, which the riders will pass twice per lap.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The permanent flyover at Evan Bandman Park was extended to provide riders more time to re-mount on the horizontal section after running up the stairs.

The permanent flyover at Evan Bandman Park was extended to provide riders more time to re-mount on the horizontal section after running up the stairs.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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A smooth transition from the flyover's descent to the grass.

A smooth transition from the flyover's descent to the grass.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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A lengthy out and back section of grass early in the lap.

A lengthy out and back section of grass early in the lap.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Riders face a second, shorter sand section later in the lap.

Riders face a second, shorter sand section later in the lap.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The lone section of barriers are negotiated after the riders pass the pit area for the second time.

The lone section of barriers are negotiated after the riders pass the pit area for the second time.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The view for the first pass through the pits (entrance to right of flag).

The view for the first pass through the pits (entrance to right of flag).
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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One of several steep, punchy ascents on the Louisville USGP circuit.

One of several steep, punchy ascents on the Louisville USGP circuit.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Better have your tubulars glued on tight for this off-camber section.

Better have your tubulars glued on tight for this off-camber section.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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A sliver of asphalt can be utilized along the left side of the course on this straightaway.

A sliver of asphalt can be utilized along the left side of the course on this straightaway.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Riders will ascend and descent the embankment several times per lap.

Riders will ascend and descent the embankment several times per lap.
(Image credit: Lyne Lamoureux)

The final test run for the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross Championships is being held this weekend at Eva Bandman Park in Louisville, Kentucky. The Trek US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Derby City Cup offers up a chance for racers and spectators alike on Saturday and Sunday to experience the course that will be used for the world championships to be contested February 2-3, 2013.

Eva Bandman Park has been the site for previous UCI-sanctioned cyclo-cross races but this weekend will be the first time that the course designed for Louisville 2013 will be tested in race conditions. Warm, dry conditions will be on offer this weekend, however, making the course lightning-fast and according to Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld pro Tim Johnson conducive to pack riding and a tactical outcome, but that's fine with Bruce Fina, Louisville 2013 Executive Director.

"The riders have seen a lot of mud in the last few weeks so they're happy to have it be dry and the other part was, one concern we had was we didn't want to tear the park to bits three months before the Worlds," Fina told Cyclingnews. "We'll have [inclement] weather in January and then we won't have to worry about after that.

"The goal when we designed the Louisville 2013 course was to make a competitive course that is fair for everyone. Though last year's USGP didn't use the same course, it utilized many of the same features. I talked to Katie Compton, Ryan Trebon Jeremy Powers and everybody said the features were good, and that it would be a good race. Simply the best racer is going to win."

While a handful of Europeans have made the trip to Louisville, most notably British champion and recently crowned European champion Helen Wyman (Kona), the stalwarts of the Euro men's field have opted to stay overseas. While an equal amount of UCI points are on offer on both sides of the pond, with the USGP operating a C1-ranked race on Saturday followed by the C2 edition on Sunday while in Belgium there's the C2 Fidea Jaarmarktcross Niel on Saturday and the C1 Superprestige Hamme-Zogge on Sunday, it comes down to the question of money.

"Actually, I'm a little surprised there aren't any Belgians here to see what this course looks like and to understand it," said Fina. "But money talks - they can race at home and make a few grand this weekend and they're not going to spend a few grand to come over here.

'We have some pretty competitive riders in the U.S., both men and women, and the chance to have the Worlds in the U.S. will make them that much more competitive. I truly think that some of the Europeans - not all, but some of them - don't have their travel legs, whereas our guys they live with travel legs."

The Eva Bandman Park venue has had additional permanent fixtures added to the grounds in preparation for Worlds, and Fina had nothing but praise for the Louisville Metro Parks staff's zeal and enthusiasm. On display this weekend are a permanent fly-over, a railroad tie run-up, a limestone steps run-up, frost-proof spigots for water in the pits plus native sand dunes and grasses.

"That's the only part I'm sad about not having mud this weekend is the chance to show off the pit wash," said Fina. "The city parks ran two inch water lines down there, underground and below the frost level, and it has frost-proof spigots. There are three frost-proof spigots down there that can run 10 or 12 power washers off of them, there's enough flow and pressure.

"Then there's a built-up bed with drainage, it's like a built-up flower bed with gravel with French drains underneath that run out to the river. It's amazing. We had such a mess at Masters Worlds with the weather - freezing and thawing and everything else that made the bike wash a challenge and it also made a mess on the grounds with no proper drainage. The parks department took a look at that and said 'we can clean that up and make that nice'.

"Every time I turn around and have an idea they say 'well let's do it'. They've done that with every single thing: the stone staircase, the flyover. The flyover used to be 16 feet across the top and it's a big, chunky steel thing. A couple of people made the comment that you lost your momentum because you couldn't remount in time before you went down the other side. Marty from the [Metro] Parks heard that and I told him it's not a must, but he said 'we want to make it perfect'. They got the cutting torch out, cut it apart, added length on to the top of, put it back together and painted it.

"They're going to re-seed a lot of what we use this weekend and grow more grass between now and January - just to make it look nicer."