Cyclo-Cross Commentator Ruben Van Gucht Discusses the New World Cup Changes

The new World Cup raises some questions. Then cyclo-cross commentator Ruben Van Gucht is the perfect person to provide answers.

1) Your first thoughts about the new World Cup?

“That change was chosen. After last season there was a consensus that that change was necessary. So, now you have to say: “Well done.”

“Whether that change will ultimately have the desired effect remains to be seen.”

2) Is this a palace revolution?

“I think that the format has clearly been chosen to be recognisable. The intention is to create the strongest possible competition in the long term.”

“In the past you sometimes had a period of 2 or 3 weeks without a World Cup. That is now over. Week after week there is now a World Cup cross on the program. This is also the case with other sports and competitions that are doing well. the case.”

3) A few heats have been canceled, deliberately?

“Lars van der Haar has often said that the World Cup calendar is too full.”

“There are other cyclo-cross riders who have skipped motos, so you certainly shouldn’t put more or as many World Cup races on the calendar.”

“I think the riders have been listened to. The UCI wants to create a competition where there are as many positive signals as possible.”

4) The World Cup starts later, why?

“I think that the question has indeed been taken into account: how can we get Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pidcock to start the World Cup as often as possible?”

“The World Cup starts on November 24, which is when the Big Three start their cross season.”

“This means there are potentially 12 opportunities for Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pidcock to participate in the World Cup cross-country. Last year there were only 9.”

5) Why a World Cup cross in Sardinia?

“I think it is important for Flanders Classics and the UCI to have a World Cup Cross in Italy.”

“There have been serious falls in the snow of Val di Sole. Riders may have given feedback about this. That may have led to the decision not to organize any more WB cross there.”

“It will also be warmer in Sardinia during that period than in Val di Sole. It will therefore be easier to convince cyclo-cross enthusiasts to discover a location like Sardinia than to go to the snow of Van di Sole.”

The snow cross in Val di Sole has disappeared from the World Cup calendar.

6) The World Cup remains Belgian in flavor, too bad?

“I still think that’s a bit of a missed opportunity.”

“I had hoped that the international contacts and the popularity of cyclocross
would take us to Luxembourg or Germany.”

“I also notice that Tabor is no longer on the calendar, while it was a permanent fixture. So we can speak of an impoverishment of internationalization.”

“I think 6 crosses for Belgium and the Netherlands together are more than enough. Now there are 8, that’s not necessary.”

“But I don’t think Flanders Classics had much choice either. Here, in Belgium, they are eager to organize a World Cup cross. Not abroad.”

7) Who will be unhappy about this new World Cup?

“Because 4 World Cup crosses will be given protected status, 3 other crosses (non-World Cup) will have to find another date. Because no cyclo-cross races may be organized the day before those 3 World Cup crosses.”

“1 of those 3 protected WB crosses falls in the Christmas period: the WB cross in Besançon on December 29.”

“This means that 2 crosses will have to move from our region: the cross on the day of Besançon and the cross the day before.”

“Last season, Diegem (Superprestige) was on December 28 and Loenhout (Exact) on December 29. Should they look for another date? That puzzle still has to be put together at a national level.”

The 2024-2025 World Cup calendar

date cross winner last year winner last year 24/11 Antwerp Van der Poel Van Empel 01/12 Dublin (Irish) Ronhaar Brand 08/12 Oristano (Ita) 15/12 Namur Pidcock Alvarado 21/12 Hulst (Ned) Van der Poel Pieterse 22/12 Zonhoven Van der Poel Pieterse 26/12 Gavere Van der Poel Pieterse 29/12 Besançon (Fra) 05/01 Dendermonde Ronhaar Alvarado 19/01 Benidorm (Spa) Van Aert Van Empel 25/01 Maasmechelen Van der Haar Van Empel 26 /01 Hoogerheide (Ned) Van der Poel Van Empel

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