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Battle on Armistice Day: Niel cx live

Cross on a Tuesday? Well yeah, if that Tuesday is the birthday of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Butan, or Japanese Pocky Day, or Armistice Day. Each year on 11 November the tiny village of Niel holds a Jaarmarkt or yearly market, and that market comes with an international cx race.

Sanne Cant in the sand of Ruddervoorde.
Sanne Cant in the sand of Ruddervoorde.
Balint Hamvas

Dansel says:

This has to be the most horrifying course in the sport. Not horrifying as in "I can't wait to watch!" but horrifying as in "why would anyone want to ride that?" The annual, stand-alone event in Niel, held on Armistice Day along with the once-a-year market day, isn't the biggest deal around, but Tuesday is a good day for a stand-alone. And as for why anyone would want to ride it, the answer is money. Well, and a good workout. The course is a smorgasbord of bad 'Cross surfaces: asphalt, farmers' field mud, farmers' field grass, nasty off-cambers, and a parking lot with tractors moving around. Even if they decide to park the tractors, it's still bad. Oh, and then there's the flying bridge, built for the competition, and filled up with sand. Why? I don't know, because it just means they have to run it. All told, it's just a heavy, heavy course.

It has actually changed from last year, The sand is new, and the asphalt has been reduced in favor of more field. Whether any of that is good news is for you to decide.

Often a one-off race will struggle to attract riders, but this year's Tuesday placement means it's palatable to several of the big names. Sanne Cant will come in as the favorite on the women's side, but she'll have Helen Wyman, Sophie de Boer, and the Telenet-Fideas (e.g. Nikki Harris) to deal with. On the elite men's side, Sven Nys leads off the startlist, in what promises to be an all-Belgian battle: Klaas Vantornout, Tom Meeusen, Kevin Pauwels, Wout Van Aert, etc. Well, maybe Philip Walsleben can break up the fun, but he hasn't been on top of his game thus far.

Live on Sporza, race starts at 15h CET.