World-class cyclocross in the UK
THE UCI cyclocross World Cup, established back in 1993, has never had a round take place outside of mainland Europe - until Saturday November 29th that is, when it arrives in Milton Keynes, England. Campbell Park, just a spit and a stride from downtown Milton Keynes, is the venue where the worlds top riders will battle it out over a tough looking grassy course.
The course has been already been 'marked', the local groundsmen are cutting the grass at regular intervals ahead of the big day and British Cycling have also produced a course map for the following days UCI C2-ranked National Trophy meeting.
The cut grass on the ground does not seem to match the initial course map exactly, but we expect a very similar, if not identical, course to be used on both days. If the course map is to be believed there will be three run-ups.
Great Britain hosted the European championships in Ipswich in 2012, but it's the first time since 1992 that a major mens championship will have taken place on British soil. In Roundhay Park in Leeds, an 18-year-old Roger Hammond (GBR) won the World junior championship back in 1992 and the Worlds came to Sutton Park, Birmingham in 1983 and Crystal Palace, London in 1973. After a long and successful career on the road, Hammond's final race was in January 2012 when he finished 12th in the British national 'cross championships in Ipswich - he was an eight-time winner of the national senior title.
German Mike Kluge won the elite men's race in 1992 - he went on to found the Focus Bikes company.
Lars van der Haar (NED) and Katie Compton (USA) are the defending World Cup title holders who will began their defences successfully in Valkenburg on Sunday October 19th.