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Notes From the Field Desk

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Patrick Verhoest

As the calendar turns to October, it's time to start questioning whether road cycling is still the only game in town. Fields are getting muddier as the sun's warmth dissipates. Snow will appear on the Cascades any moment now. People whose homes are no longer on fire will start calling global warming a hoax again. It's all part of nature's cycle.

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Sneeuw!

And so, forgive me if my thoughts are turning to cyclocross. If that's wrong... say it with me... I don't want to be right.

  • World Champion Zdenek Stybar, pictured above to make sure the ladies are paying attention, has said that he'll use what's left of his road season form to ride a couple early Crosses, in Ronse (October 12) and Ardooie (October 16). Not sure what hope there is for later races, but he's trying to get out there, so stay tuned.
  • Wout Van Aert, current U23 champion and part of the team of kids who might someday take over if Sven Nys ever relinquishes his stranglehold on the sport, may be off to a bit of a slow start. Racing for the Vastgoed service squad, managed in the CX season by Niels Albert, Van Aert broke his collarbone in training last month and is just beginning to pick up the pace. He does expect to make his debut this weekend, riding the U23 race.
  • This weekend? Yep, it's starting already. Gieten is the first stop on the Superprestige calendar. It's sandy as hell:

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via www.cyclocrossgieten.nl

  • Not excited for Cross yet? Worried that the loss of Stybar and now Albert has left the entire sport in the hands of Sven Nys? Well, you might like to know that Mathieu van der Poel is riding the elite race Sunday, and tweets that he's all ready to go. So is Philip Walsleben, Wietse Bosmans, and of course the still not at all old Lars van der Haar.
  • Coming soon: a more thorough website devoted to information about 'Cross: http://www.procxstats.com/. Launch due this Friday.
Ok, bring on the mud! Well, and the Italian classics. More on that in a sec.