Saturday 11th December, 15:00 CET, 14:00 GMT, 09:00 USA Eastern
Essen. In Belgium, but so close to the border that if you lean just a little to the left (or the right, depending on which way you're facing), you'll see windmills and clogs everywhere. Essen, home of Aernouts, Stybar and Meeusen, so you'll see crossfans everywhere. It's partly a forest race with small stairs (right around a u-corner, haha), and some good steep climbs; and partly a field race with a bridge.
I'm not sure that you'd need any more info than that, but on the off-chance you do....
Sven Nys first won here in 1998, and for most of the decade, wins have come in triplicate - Bart Wellens won 2003-5, then Sven took over for 2006-8... When Niels Albert won last year, was he setting himself up for another threesome, or will 2010 prove it was a coincidence rather than a pattern?
Here's what the course looks like this year:
And the riders who'll be facing the course can be found here.
The current GVA Standings look like this:
|1 (1)||Zdenek Stybar||Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||70|
|2 (2)||Kevin Pauwels||Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||66|
|3 (6)||Sven Nys||Landbouwkrediet||49|
|4 (5)||Bart Wellens||Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||47|
|5 (4)||Bart Aernouts||Rabo - Giant Offroad Team.||46|
|6 (3)||Klaas Vantornout||Sunweb Revor||40|
|7 (9)||Niels Albert||BKCP-Powerplus||39|
|8 (8)||Gerben De Knegt||Rabo - Giant Offroad Team.||36|
|9 (7)||Enrico Franzoi||BKCP-Powerplus||35|
|10 (10)||Rob Peeters||Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||32|
But with Styby's knee problems still playing havoc with his season (do we even know if he's riding?) all this can change. As a reminder, the first 20 riders across the line score points, running from 1-20 thusly:
25-22-19-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 and 1 point.
There are other in-race competitions, such as the sprint points laps - if you're interested, have a look at the full GVA rules
If you're looking for live coverage, try Cycling Fans or BVLS - they're always fabulous. And if you haven't watched a Cross race before, and want to know more, it's highly likely there'll be Café regulars turning up here to answer any questions you may have (or in my case, ask really stupid ones). Give it a go, you'll love it!
If you're bored waiting, head over & read my interview with British cyclocross racer Gabby Day - or you can peruse the GVA website for interesting facts, watch the final lap from last year's race... or you can do what we always do & talk nonsense in the thread until the race starts - it's up to you!