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Rain and wind are in the forecast for the second round of the cyclocross World Cup, which kicks off Wednesday in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The course used for the World Cup will also be used later this season for the world championships, in what will mark only the second time the United States have hosted the worlds.
This World Cup course was designed for worlds, and includes a 34-stair climb followed by a steep drop.
Iserbyt leads the men’s favorites
European champion Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) is the clear favorite for Wednesday, following his solo win at the opening round of the UCI World Cup, in Waterloo, Wisconsin this past weekend.
His teammate Michael Vanthourenhoet, second in Waterloo, is also one to watch, along with Quinten Hermans (Tormans-Circus) and Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions) of Belgium and Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) of The Netherlands.
Notably absent from the opening U.S. round are Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), and MTB Olympic gold medalist Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing).
American riders on the start list include U.S. national champion Gage Hecht (Aevolo), Kerry Werner (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano), and Curtis White (Cannondale Cyclocross World). Both White and Werner have won in Fayetteville but on a different course.
Can Brand top Vos?
An incredibly deep women’s field includes a host of current and former world champions and Olympic medalists.
Current world champion Linda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) will line up with past champions Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and Sanne Cant of Belgium. Also notable are Olympic MTB gold medalist Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing), Annemarie Worst of The Netherlands (777), and Denise Betsema of The Netherlands (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal).
Brand and Vos are the favorites, but Cant is particularly good in the mud.
Multi-time Canadian and Pan American champion Maghalie Rochette (Specialized) should not be counted out. Czech Republic’s Kateřina Nash is the oldest woman in the field, at age 43, while Canada’s Ava Holmgren is 16.
The top American women will include the Cannondale/Crossworld.com trio of Katie Clouse, national champion Clara Honsinger, and Kaitlyn Keough, along with Madigan Munro of Trek Factory Racing CX.
You can watch the racing live on FloBikes beginning at 12:30 CDT.