There are 3 big European Cyclo-Cross competitions that run through the European season - the World Cup, the GVA-trofee and SuperPrestige - and this is a big weekend for crazy Belgian races, with GVA Koppenbergcross tomorrow (yes, it's a course that includes *that* Koppenberg) and today, SuperPrestige Zonhoven. These are two of the classic insane 'Cross races... What should we expect from today? Here's what our resident Belgian 'cross nut, tgsgirl has to say:
Zonhoven? Freaking madness. Long, slippery insane descents, retardedly steep climbs. It. Is. Awesome.
Some bits where they struggle to walk up with their bikes, so they're almost on all fours.
Sunday 31st October, 15:00 CET, 14:00 GMT; 10:00 US Eastern. More details below, including how to see it!
So, it's crazy! You can find links to pretty much everything through the official website, including the course, and photos from previous years so you can get a flavour of what's to come.
Last year Sven Nys won the race, with Zdenek Stybar and Kevin Pauwels rounding out the podium. This year, World Champion Stybar has been on fire, seemingly unstoppable in the early races... but we're back on home soil for the Belgians, and they'll be going all out to beat him. Can they manage it? Is Styby unstoppable? This is a TOUGH race, even by 'Cross standards (and after the kinda dull World Cup Plzen round last week, we are ready for some of that!)
They've already had the women's race, and this one was won by Daphny van den Brand, with recent Podium Cafe interviewee Helen Wyman in 2nd and Saanne van Paassen 3rd.
One of the reasons I love the SuperPrestige series is the fact it's all streamed completely freely and unrestricted, by Belgian tv channel VT4. Last year, before each race, they'd send a Crazy Camera Guy round the course, with cameras strapped all over his bike & helmet, to show us how mad the course is, so it's always worthwhile checking in a little early. He wasn't there for the 1st race of the season, but cross fingers that was a temporary glitch! If that doesn't work for you, BVLS and CyclingFans have links as well - but I'm sure you won't need them!