Cyclocross under floodlights - SuperPrestige Diegem, LIVE!!!

Dieter Vantourenhout, Diegem 2012 - Balínt Hamvas, http://cyclephotos.co.uk/2012/12/superprestige-6-diegem-2/

One of the things I love about this time of year isn't just that there are so many races, but they're so different. Today's race is Diegem, the sixth race in the SuperPrestige series and the last race of 2013 - and it's later than normal, and the men race in the dark under floodlights - always exciting, and it's streamed live!

29th December, 17:30 CET (4:30pm UK, 11:30am USA EST, 8:30am USA PST, 3:30am Monday, Aus AEDT)

The SuperPrestige series is streamed on fabulous Belgian tv channel vier.be, and it's usually streamed free and un-geo-restricted right here, and the stream starts half an hour before the race does (so 17:00) with highlights of the women and the junior and u23 men.

So, what's the race like?  Here's gs' description, from her CX calendar:

Superprestige Diegem, aka "the one in the dark". Yep, Diegem is raced at night (well, around 17:30h local time, at which hour le Belge is pitch black in winter*). So instead of the sun it is floodlights that illuminate this race, which brings with it a special atmosphere. It's that gimmick that's kept it on the calendar for this long I presume, because apart from the lack of light there really isn't too much to remark about this one. Obstacles of a miscellaneous nature.

*we are the most light-polluted country in the world, which brings me much sadness

I enjoyed the map of the course in the technical guide, which is great for spotting VIP tents and such, but less good on telling us what's on the course!  But each 3km lap there's 1,013m on tarmac, 1,345 on grass, 575m on gravel, 45m on sand and 21 steps - and some nice wiggly sections.

In the SuperPrestige series, Niels Albert is leading on 66 points, with Sven Nys and Klaas Vantornout in joint second place on 58, and Philip Walsleben and Lars van der Haar on 53 - and all of them are on the provisional startlist.   Niels should be feeling pretty confident here, as he won for the last four years in a row - although Nys has won 4 times here too, and the last non-Niels winner, Zdenek Stybar, is on the startlist too.  Styby says he's riding for fun, but all that tarmac should play to his road strengths...

The women aren't racing in the dark, and they're starting super-early, at 13:00 - we'll know who has won well before the men start (I don't like the SuperPrestige way of starting the women first, when the crowds are sparse, before the junior and u23 men.  Juniors, beloften, women, men is how these things should be run!)  I don't think there's a women's overall SuperPrestige competition either, which seems a bit odd too - so we'll have to see who's racing this and who takes a break before Wednesday's GP Sven Nys and Sunday's Rome World Cup.  Katerina Nash won last year, and Marianne Vos in 2011...

There's more information on the race website, and of course, we'll be here to talk through the race in the comments.  Come and join us!

Here's the Vier trailer, with Niels Albert focusing on his game...

Photo by Balínt Hamvas, cyclephotos.co.uk, from his Diegem 2012 article.  Used with very kind permission, not to be re-used.  Thanks Balínt!

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