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Preview: UCI World Cup cyclocross opener – Waterloo

USA plays host to opening rounds of marquee 'cross series with Waterloo and Fayetteville races on back-to-back weekends.

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Have we all recovered from road season yet?

If not, buckle up, because cyclocross season is already knocking at the door, and the opening UCI World Cup race is kicking things off this weekend in Waterloo, Wisconsin, on October 7 to 9. The first round of the UCI men’s and women’s cyclo-cross event will be the grand finale of a weekend full of racing, clinics and more in Southeast Wisconsin.

The Waterloo World Cup is one of two UCI World Cups to be held in the U.S. this year, with the second the following weekend (October 15-16) in Fayetteville, Arkansas, host of the world championships earlier this year.

From the US, those elite men and women racing in the UCI World Cup circuit will head to Europe for the rest of their 14-race season, where the rest of the calendar sees them travel to the Czech Republic, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Spain and France.

The World Cup race course will be held in the backyard of Trek’s global headquarters and will offer an equal payout for both men’s and women’s elite categories, which is a first for a World Cup cyclocross event.

Also read: Gallery: 2021 Waterloo World Cup

The City of Waterloo’s motto is “Find Your Path Here,” which couldn’t be a more fitting saying for this year’s course – a testing and undulating circuit with short run-ups and plenty of technical sections. However, the weather is forecasted to be mild this weekend, so the riders will escape slick and muddy conditions. On Saturday, the high is predicted to reach 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius), and Sunday will be even warmer at 68 degrees (20 Celsius). Partly cloudy skies and zero percent chance of rain will make the conditions fast and perhaps dusty as the weekend wears on.

Despite a few top names opting to skip the short trip to the U.S. for UCI points, there will still be plenty of firepower on the line in Wisconsin.

The 24-year-old Belgian powerhouse Eli Iserbyt, who rides UCI Continental team Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal will be back to defend his title from last year, as will 2021 world champion and last year’s series-winner, Dutch star Lucinda Brand of Baloise Trek Lions.

The U.S. stars Curtis White (Steve Tilford Foundation Racing) and national champion Eric Brunner (Blue Competition Cycles p/b Build) will also take the start line, and Clara Honsinger will be another US rider to watch coming off a successful road season with EF Education TIBCO SVB.

The UCI Waterloo World Cup will be broadcast live on GCN+ for European viewers, and will be the streaming service for American and Canadian fans.

Racing starts with the elite women’s race at 12:30 pm Central Time followed by the men at 2:00 p.m.