Yes, yes, you're reading that correctly. Cross is back! Like, really back! Things are kicking off with Ruddervoorde, the first Superprestige race of the season, described by someone like this:
Sunday 9 October: Ruddervoorde (Superprestige)
Whiiiii, the cross season is now truly under way, with the first race which is part of one of the big series: Ruddervoorde. The parcours has a long asphalted finish line, a few hills, three bridges crossing a stream, a deep sand patch, washboards and cobbles. Oh my, cobbles. Cobbles AND cross. I love this. Oh, and there's a house. Pretty much on the course. Which is slightly crazy, but hey, that's cross for you.
Starttime: elite women 12h30, elite men 17h15 (all starttimes are CET)
Last three winners elite men: Zdenek Stybar (2010), Sven Nys (2009) and Sven Nys (2008)
Let's take a slightly more detailed look... below the jump.
Firstly, a look at the Superprestige series. It consists of eight races throughout the season. Points per race are distributed as such:
First place: 15 points, second place: 14 points, third place: 13 points... fourteenth place: 2 points, fifteenth place: 1 point.
Nice and straightforward, right? If you win the Superprestige series at the end of the season, you get €26,000. Not bad eh? But there's a bit more at stake in this race, cause after Ruddervoorde come two World Cup races in Pilzen (Czech Rep.) and Tabor (Czech Rep.), so this is the only high-profile shot the riders have got to prove they're worthy of a selection.
But, enough with the Czechs, back to Belgium. You can watch the final two laps on youtube here, including the inconveniently placed house where the second part of a 90° turn should've been. Also included: a whole lot of twisting and turning up and down a small hill, three bridges over a stream, washboards, a patch of cobbles, a sandpit, more bridges, more washboards and a long stretch of asphalt for finish-sprints.
Startlists for all categories can be found here.
The race starts at 17h15 CET and can be watched live and legally via www.vt4.be (I'll get you the exact link once it's time). Coverage starts at 16h40 CET.
For a little extra, if you tune in at 16h o'clock you can watch an overview of last year's Superprestige series.