2018-2019 Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup: All you need to know

Waterloo (USA)The 2018-2019 Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup gets underway in Waterloo, Wisconsin, on September 23rd. It’s the fourth year the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup visits the USA. In Waterloo, riders will be racing on the same challenging course which they discovered at last year’s second World Cup round of the season. The course in the backyard of the Trek Headquarters features a great combination of straight-forward racing and technical obstacles. Last year, the winners in Waterloo ended up being the overall UCI World Cup winners: Mathieu van der Poel and Sanne Cant. Van der Poel skips the two first rounds of the season after capturing XCO bronze at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships presented by Mercedes-Benz.

Iowa City (USA)It is the third time that Iowa City is part of the UCI World Cup. Over the past three years, the course at the Johnson County Fairgrounds has proved to be one for the climbers. ‘Mount Krumpit’ and the ‘Holly Jolly Hell Hole swamp mud pit’ are unforgiving climbs which allow only the strongest riders to win. Last year those winners were Mathieu van der Poel and Katerina Nash.

Bern (SUI)One month after the two rounds in the USA, the UCI World Cup heads to Europe for some racing action in Bern, Switzerland. It’s the first time Bern hosts a round in the UCI World Cup. The race venue is situated downtown, at the Weyermannshaus open-air pool, the largest of Switzerland; there are multiple popular side events. The 2820 metres long course is quite similar to the one of the 2019 UCI Cyclo-cross World championships in Bogense. It features multiple off-camber sections and barriers, twisting and turning around the pool. Last year, home riders Jolanda Neff and Marcel Wildhaber won the race that was part of the EKZ-CrossTour.

Tábor (CZE)The fourth UCI World Cup round of the season is contested in Tábor, which has a lot of high-level cyclo-cross history. The Bohemian Czech city has hosted no less than three UCI World Championships: in 2001, 2010 and 2015. The World Cup has already visited Tábor nine times, although the last World Cup round dates back to the 2013-2014 season. The fast course is designed in a hillside park on the outskirts of town near the Lužnice river. There’s sufficient elevation and enough technical sections to make the difference if the weather is dry, but halfway through November there could well be additional ingredients added into the Bohemian mix.

Koksijde (BEL)One week after Tábor, the first of three Belgian World Cup rounds is contested in Koksijde, in the dunes close to the North Sea. Koksijde is one of the monuments in the UCI World Cup season, together with the final round in Hoogerheide. This former World Championships course demands a lot from the riders and the bikes. There’s no other course in the cyclo-cross season that features this much sand, and when it’s wet the non-sand sections turn into mud pools. Last year, Mathieu van der Poel managed his third World Cup win in a row while Maud Kaptheijns captured a very commanding first-ever World Cup win in Koksijde.

Namur (BEL)During the end-of-year holiday, cyclo-cross is massively popular in Belgium. On December 23rd, Namur is host to a World Cup round for the eighth time in a row. The spectacular climber’s course between the trees on the slopes of the Namur citadel is always a guarantee for splendid racing action. At nearly every point in the course a rider can make the difference, be it the tricky long off-camber descent, the steep climbs and drops or the longer climbs. Apart from the physical aspect, the mechanical part of the sport also plays a major role in Namur due to the countless hidden rocks and roots. Last year, Evie Richards emerged as new kid on the block by winning the Women Elite race while Wout Van Aert captured his first World Cup win of the season.

Heusden-Zolder (BEL)Heusden-Zolder hosts a World Cup round for the 10th time in a row. As is the tradition, the athletes will gather in Heusden-Zolder on December 26th (Boxing Day). The course around the former F1 car racing track is blistering fast while including some technical sections. The race is often decided on the back-end of the course where several steep climbs and drops await the riders, including a characteristic off-camber climb. Last year, Mathieu van der Poel and Sanne Cant both bounced back with a victory after difficult rides in Namur.

Pont-Château (FRA)The penultimate UCI World Cup round of the season will be contested in France, on the Coët-Roz circuit in Pont-Château, near portal town Saint-Nazaire. Pont-Château was part of the first-ever World Cup at the beginning of the century. They hosted the 2004 UCI World Championships and a second World Cup round in 2011, with Kevin Pauwels and Marianne Vos as winners. Back in 2016, Toon Aerts and Thalita de Jongh captured the European titles in sunny Pont-Château when the course was dry and extremely fast, forcing riders off their bikes only at the stairs.

Hoogerheide Provincie Noord-BrabantOne week before the 2019 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Bogense, the final World Cup round is contested in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. The mixture of final battles in the World Cup and fine-tuning ahead of the UCI World Championships always makes for interesting racing. Mathieu van der Poel and Sanne Cant won the UCI World Cup final last year on a fast though somewhat slippery course.

Elite Men

Mathieu van der Poel (NED)

Overall World Cup winner

7 x winner (Iowa City, Waterloo, Koksijde, Bogense, Heusden-Zolder, Nommay, Hoogerheide

Wout Van Aert (BEL)

Overall World Cup runner-up

2 x winner (Zeven, Namur)

2018 UCI World Champion

Toon Aerts (BEL)

Overall World Cup third

1 x second (Namur)

3 x third (Bogense, Zeven, Nommay

Laurens Sweeck (BEL)

2 x second (Iowa City, Heusden-Zolder)

Lars Van der Haar (NED)

1 x second (Koksijde)

Elite Women

Sanne Cant (BEL)

Overall World Cup winner

2018 UCI World Champion

5 x winner (Waterloo, Bogense, Zeven, Heusden-Zolder, Hoogerheide)

Kaitlin Keough (USA)

Overall World Cup runner-up

3 x second (Iowa City, Waterloo, Nommay)

1 x third (Bogense)

Eva Lechner (ITA)

Overall World Cup third

1 x second (Hoogerheide)

2 x third (Namur, Heusden-Zolder)

Katherine Compton (USA)

1 x winner (Nommay)

1 x second (Heusden-Zolder)

1 x third (Zeven)

Evie Richard (GBR)

1 x winner (Namur)

1 x third (Hoogerheide)

The winners

The series

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