Clara Honsinger, Eli Iserbyt, Lucinda Brand, and a huge set of stairs take center stage at the Fayetteville round of the UCI World Cup on Sunday.
The UCI’s premier series returns to Centennial Park, Arkansas this weekend for the second of two stops on U.S. soil before racers pack up for a European winter.
U.S. national champion Honsinger, World Cup dominator Iserbyt, and former world champ Brand top a deep startlist that sees a strong showing from the home nation.
Sunny Gilbert, Erica Zaveta, and Raylyn Nuss are among the 15 U.S. riders set to start the women’s race, while men’s national champion Eric Brunner captains the 14-rider home selection for their ‘cross.
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As always, all eyes will be on the Dutch in the women’s event.
Fem van Empel won last weekend’s World Cup in Waterloo after a breakout season last winter. The 20-year-old is likely to play protagonist Sunday as last year’s Fayetteville World Cup winner Brand looks to challenge. Also put your bets on Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Denise Betsema being at the front of the pack.
Reigning world champion Marianne Vos didn’t make the transatlantic trip after a busy road season.
Iserbyt is expected to continue his crushing season start in the men’s race. The Belgian finished top-two in all three of his Belgian warm-up races at the turn of the month and kicked to victory in Waterloo last weekend.
Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweeck, and Thibau Nys will lead the pack wanting to disrupt the dominance. None of Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert or world champion Tom Pidcock are racing.
If it ain’t broke – Same course as last time
The course Sunday is expected to be the same as that which saw Vos and Pidcock ride into the rainbow bands at the start of this year.
A towering set of 39 stairs dominate the circuit in Centennial Park, with the steep “Electric Avenue” mountainside kicker the other key feature on the 3km purpose-built loop.
Sunday’s weather forecast currently calls for a morning of heavy rain, which could convert the grassy, dirty track that took Pidcock and Vos to the top of the world in January into the swampy consistency that was seen in Arkansas’ World Cup this time last year.
World Cup Fayetteville race schedule (Central Time)
- 9:15am – Junior Men 17-18
- 10:15am – Junior Women 17-18
- 12:30pm – Elite Women
- 2:00pm – Elite Men
2022-23 World Cup schedule:
- 9 OCT 2022: Waterloo (USA)
- 16 OCT 2022: Fayetteville (USA)
- 23 OCT 2022: Tabor (CZE)
- 30 OCT 2022: Maasmechelen (BEL)
- 13 NOV 2022: Beekse Bergen (NED)
- 20 NOV 2022: Overijse (BEL)
- 27 NOV 2022: Hulst (NED)
- 4 DEC 2022: Anvers (BEL)
- 11 DEC 2022: Dublin (IRL)
- 17 DEC 2022: Val di Sole (ITA)
- 26 DEC 2022: Gavere (BEL)
- 8 JAN 2023: Zonhoven (BEL)
- 22 JAN 2023: Benidorn (ESP)
- 29 JAN 2023: Besancon (FRA)