There are only three events left on the GCN+ broadcast calendar in the US and six in the UK before the streaming service shuts down for good, but this weekend’s Superprestige round in Boom is going to offer up an ‘epic’ wintry spectacle.
Temperatures will dip below freezing overnight, and the grounds, which have been soaked by rain in the past few weeks, will thaw by race time, making for treacherous conditions and exciting racing.
Former World Champion Erwin Vervecken is concerned riders could expose themselves to hypothermia.
“When it is extremely cold and freezing, you’re riding on a frozen surface. That’s not too bad, because as a cyclocross rider, you can protect yourself against the cold by wearing multiple layers,” said Vervecken to Sporza.
“But if it freezes at night and the temperatures during the day are just above freezing, you get hellish conditions. Riders get muddy while it is already cold – you cannot protect yourself against that and so you can get hypothermia.”
Vervecken was the designer of the World Cup course in Namur in 2019, reversing the normal route but the race ended up in heavy, ice-cold rain with mud up to riders’ axles. Eli Iserbyt dropped out with hypothermia and then-World Cup leader Toon Aerts crashed and fractured a rib.
Adrie van der Poel, father of race winner Mathieu, criticized the course, saying, “Nothing they have brought in added any value. It’s just dangerous, looking for sensation and has nothing to do with cyclo-cross.”
Iserbyt leads the Superprestige series after winning the rounds in Overijse, Ruddervoorde and Niel with a 20-point lead over Laurens Sweeck. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado leads the women’s series after a trio of wins in the last three rounds, most recently in Merksplas.
Riders will be battling through the cold and wet conditions on Saturday with the women’s race broadcast starting at 1:30 pm CET/7:30 am EST and the men’s at 3 pm/9 am.
The other remaining cyclocross races you can watch in the US before GCN+ shuts down are the men’s and women’s races at Exact Cross in Essen, where Wout van Aert will make his off-road debut for the season, and the men’s and women’s race at the X2O Trofee Herentals, where Tom Pidcock stars his schedule.
In the UK, fans will be able to watch the three aforementioned events available in the US alongside the men’s and women’s races at World Cup rounds in Flamanville, Val di Sole and Namur on December 17.