By Adam Newman. Photos by Ethan A. Glading.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you may have heard the UCI Cyclocross World Championships were held this past weekend for the first time ever in the U.S. Though the weather caused a few headaches for racers and promoters alike, the even was a smashing success and a great opportunity for the U.S. ‘cross scene to show the world how much it loves the sport.
Our photographer on the scene captured some of the excitement from Eva Bardman Park in Louisville, Kentucky.
The drama began in earnest on Friday, when the race promoters realized the rising floodwater of the nearby Ohio River threatened to swamp the course. They moved all the races from Sunday to Saturday and immediately began building levees. The effort continued throughout the races.
Though Dutch riders won the Juniors, U23 Men’s, and Elite Women’s races, the Belgians were a show of force all weekend. Here juniors Nicolas Cleppe leads and Ben Boets.
Belgian U23 rider Michael Vanthourenhout finished 8th.
Giant photographs of racers faces were a popular fan accessory. Here some fans sport the likeness of Zach McDonald, who finished 11th in the U23 race, the highest-placed American.
Those heads get heavy quick though.
Dutchwoman Marianne Vos is widely regarded as the most accomplished female cyclist of all time, and she dominated the Elite Women’s race to capture her fifth straight World Championship win. Her trophy will go along side her two World Championship wins in road racing and her two Olympic gold medals. At only 25, she’s got a lot more winning to do, and says she is thinking of trying mountain bike racing next.
American Georgia Gould had a tough day, getting caught in a huge pile-up crash in the first 30 seconds of her race. She went on to finish 17th.
Through the course of the day the temperature warmed and the course changed dramatically, from frozen ruts in the morning to a soft, slick mess by the time the Elite Men’s race started. It didn’t stand a chance against a committed Sven Nys though.
It wasn’t just the racers that had to deal with slippery conditions. Here a Belgian mechanic takes a tumble.
Belgian Bart Wellens tackles the limestone steps in the Elite Men’s race on his way to a 4th place finish.
The Belgians dominated the Elite Men’s race, taking three of the top four spots. Sven Nys—seen here leading countryman Klaas Vantornout—went on to take the win, his second World Championship.
Though the racing more than lived up to expectations, it was the fans who made the event so special, with many flying in from Europe to support their favorite riders and countrymen.