The Kerstperiode continues this weekend in Belgium with the Bpost Bank Trofee - Azencross in Loenhout on Friday, the Versluys cyclocross Bredene and finally the Superprestige Diegem on Sunday. Also, on tap is the GP-5-Sterne-Region in Switzerland on Sunday.
Mud, mud and more mud is predicted for Bpost Bank Trofee – Azencross in Loehout on Friday, December 28. The almost 3-km course includes the whoops, (also called the washboard) and two hills. Will world champion Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) and current overall series leader win for the fourth time at Loenhout? Can Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) close down the gap of 51 seconds to Albert? Nys did just best Albert in their last race at World Cup Zolder with a blistering attack on a technical uphill feature before drilling a sketchy downhill on the final lap. Of course, others that will be looking for the win include Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor), Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept), winner of at Essen. Denuwelaere wants to be selected for the World Cup Rome.
Two Americans, Jonathan Page and Justin Lindine (Redline) as well as Belgian Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) will also be racing at Loenhout.
World champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank) and American champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective), ranked number 1 in the world, will be going head to head once again in the elite women's race. Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank) who skipped the last World Cup due to illness should be at the start. The fight to get selected onto Team USA for the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships continues with Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized), Crystal Anthony (cyclocrossworld.com), Nikki Thiemann (Team CF) and Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing) all lining up.
In the junior race, American champion Logan Owen will be trying to unseat world champion Mathieu van der Poel of the Netherlands who is undefeated this season in 18 races, so far.
The following day, the fourth edition of the Versluys Cyclocross will take place in Bredene, Belgium ffering C2 points for elite men only. Last year, Denuwelaere took the win in the C2 race by outsprinting Stybar.
Sunday brings the Superprestige Diegem, the second C1 race of the weekend and the night race for the elite men. Raced downtown, the course uses city streets and the neighborhood park to get elevation. Winner the past three years, Albert will be looking to add another victory to his palmares. With neither Compton nor Vos on the start list, the race is a perfect opportunity to claim a C1 win for a rider in the elite women's race.