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De Cross Gaat Door: GP Mario De Clerq Preview

This Sunday will feature the next installment in the GvA Trophy, the GP Mario De Clerq, taking place near Ronse in the southwestern end of the Vlaamse Ardennen. You could ride from Tuesday's Koppenbergcross to Ronse on your CX bike with little trouble -- heck, you could just cut through farmers' fields and then you'd look the part as well. In other words, what we saw earlier this week is at least a little indicative of what's coming.

The Ronse course takes place on the Hotondberg, the highest point in East Flanders at 145 meters (not a typo). But being high up doesn't automatically translate into long climbs, and the course is more of a rolling route over the hilltop with a few particularly nasty ramps, forcing the riders to "run" up at speeds topping 1km per hour. Check it out! 


Video of last year's muckfest:

Cyclocross Super Trophy Ronse 2010 - Final 2 laps (via cyclocrosschannel)

Climbing chops are what this race is about, albeit in small doses at several places on the course. There is a nice moment where Nys, last year's winner, hulks it over a small incline near the finish, while Albert, desperately chasing, gets nearly over before putting a foot down. That's selection, cross-style. Kevin Pauwels' excellent performance Tuesday makes him a contender here, along with Nys, Stybar and I suppose Albert, despite running 7th last year. The usual suspects. But that's not to say that Koppenbergcross, with one long ascent each lap, is the same as GP MDC, with its endless ups and downs. Should be a fun one, regardless. Especially if there's mud. Ronse forecast: rain overnight tonight, decent on Sunday. Close enough.