In a few short weeks, the UCI Cyclocross World Championships will be taking place in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville has hosted USGP cyclocross events in the past, and was host to the 2012 World Masters Cyclocross Championships, earning them the bid for the elite event this year. This is a big deal for several reasons:
- This is the first time that Elite Cyclocross Worlds has been held outside of Europe… EVER. Europe, and specifically Belgium, is the Mecca of cyclocross. As most Americans sit and watch college football games during the fall, Belgians stand in the cold, wet conditions of their native land, just to cheer on their favorite cyclist to victory. Cyclocross has seen a huge surge in popularity in the United States over the last few years, which certainly helped lead the UCI to choose Louisville as the host for this year’s World Championships.
- Home Field Advantage! Domestic cyclocross racers have raced this venue for several years now, including preview races earlier this season. It would be akin to a professional automobile racer driving on his favorite backcountry roads back home… the domestic pros know the lay of the land, potential conditions, and how to do well in Louisville.
- The US has riders with the potential to win a World Championship. Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) is getting all the press lately, including being cover-boy on several major cycling publications this month, and as current National Champ, he deserves it. We shouldn’t sell our other racers short, however. Jonathan Page, one of the most seasoned CX racers from the US, spends most of his year training and racing in Belgium, and has results to show for it. On January 1st, Page finished 9th at the GP Sven Nys in Baal, Belgium, against some of the best Europeans that will be in contention in Louisville on February 2nd and 3rd. One of my dark-horse favorites is Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld). I worked with Tim during his season on the Jittery Joe’s/Kalahari road team, so he’s a sentimental favorite for me, not to mention he has stood on a World Championship Podium as a U23 racer, is a former national champ, and is one of the most consistent racers in the country. On the women’s front, our best chance for the gold medal is Katie Compton (Trek). She’s won 8 consecutive national championships, is the leading the World Cup rankings, and has had more than her share of World Cup and USGP wins this season.
If you can make the trip to Louisville for Worlds, it will be an experience you will not soon forget. A world-class event on US soil, with a chance for American racers to bring home the gold medal… I won’t miss it, that’s for sure. Myself and several other friends are going to make the drive up to Louisville and immerse ourselves in the experience. Join us if you can. Leave a comment on the blog if you’ve got plans to attend.
For more information about the 2013 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, visit http://www.louisville2013.com/site/.