Two big UCI races this weekend in Europe, the UCI World Cup returns to Belgium for its third round on Saturday November 24, with the tough, sandy course at Koksijde, the location of the 2012 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. Racing continues on Sunday with the the Superprestige in Gieten in the Netherlands.
Last February, the Belgian riders simply dominated the Elite men's race with Niels Albert ultimately winning the right to wear the rainbow stripes. Albert (BKC-Powerplus), the current World Cup leader, is certainly a favorite going into the race but the man to beat is Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) who has been on a winning streak. Though Nys complained about being sick at the beginning of the week, he later tweeted that he was fine and ready to race this weekend. Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor), who is tied on points with Albert, will be looking to reclaim the white World Cup leader's kit. Injured two weeks ago, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) will be returning to racing this weekend also. The only American to start is Jonathan Page.
In the elite women's race, US champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective), the current World Cup leader, might be facing jetlag after just returning to her base in Belgium for the second phase of her season. One of Compton's major goals this season is to win the World Cup overall. She'll have tough competition in Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank Women Team), European champion Helen Wyman (Kona) and Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) who just took impressive victories last weekend. Wyman could also be facing jetlag having just returned from a two-week racing trip to the United States.
Also on the start grid will be Americans Amy Dombroski (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Christine Vardaros (Baboco Cycling Team).
Reigning Under23 USA champion Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) will be taking on the espoir field while Logan Owen and Curtis White will be starting in the men junior 17/18 race.
Sunday's Superprestige race brings the return of world champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank) from a well earned break. Though just starting her cross season, Vos is always formidable. Most of the top racers, except for Compton, will also be racing at Gieten.
Will Nys claim the 60th Superprestige victory on Sunday? After a perfect two days of racing last weekend, the 36-year old Belgian champion seems poised to set another high bar in his career at Diegem, a race he has already won eight times – so far – in his career. Nys has a commanding lead in the series after winning the first four races.
Americans Page, McDonald and White will also race at Gieten.