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From the Pages of Velo: How Lousiville became the first American host of ‘cross worlds

Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared in our guide to the 2013 UCI Elite Cyclocross World Championships in the February 2013 issue of Velo magazine. Since the issue went to print, Bruce Fina and Joan Hanscom have handed over management of the world championships to USA Cycling following the departure of title sponsor Exergy Development Group. USA Cycling vice president of national events Micah Rice is the acting race director, while Hanscom continues to fulfill a support role.

‘Crossing the pond

Abandoned cars. Trashed washing machines. Thick, litter-strewn underbrush and vagrant camps.

Six years ago, what was to become Eva Bandman Park was nothing more than a neglected patch of land on the southern banks of the Ohio River, just outside of downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

On February 2-3, 2013, the park’s miraculous transition will be complete, as the best cyclocross racers in the world will descend on the small plot of renovated property for the first world cyclocross championships held on anything other than European soil.

How did this small city in the central United States — world famous as the host of that iconic American race, the Kentucky Derby — come to host the world championships of one of the most deeply rooted European niches of cycling?

Like any good cyclocross race, it is a circuitous tale involving diverse terrain and numerous barriers, one where the most determined competitor came out on top.

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