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Organisers confident Zolder course will be good to ride

Niels Albert during the sixth World Cup round in Kalmthout, Belgium

Niels Albert during the sixth World Cup round in Kalmthout, Belgium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Race organisers are confident that the World Cup cyclo-cross race can be held Saturday in Zolder, despite the winter weather which has had a hold on northern Europe. They received special permission to use salt on the course, which runs over the motorsport race track.

Earlier this week, World Champion Niels Albert said that he would not ride if the course was still so icy. He called it very dangerous, and added “I do not want to break my legs here” after going only halfway around the course on a test ride.

Salt is not usually allowed because it could damage the track, but the publicity generated by Albert's remarks convinced the mayor of Heusden-Zolder and the race track management to allow it be used.

“We have deployed three salt trucks and plowed the snow away. These measures has been effective and the course is ice-free,” race organiser Koen Monu told Sporza.

“Strewing the salt was the ultimate answer. We tried it first with a machine that blows hot air, but it only thawed in places, and was still frozen a few metres away.”

The weather forecast is also helping, with temperatures due to climb well above freezing over the weekend, and no precipitation predicted.

“It snowed a little here Friday morning, but it has stopped and the temperature is now 2°C,” Monu said Friday afternoon. “I am already confident.”