The Cyclocross field remained in the USA for the week, and this Sunday it will see the second round of the World Cup in Fayetteville. This is the track where the World Championships took place only a few months ago, and will be a very important day for some of the best riders in the world.
It will surely not rain at the time of the race, but Sunday night should see a lot of rainfall in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Last season Quinten Hermans won a mud-soaked race, whilst in the World Championships Tom Pidcock won on a dry and incredibly fast track. This Sunday should see a mix, but surely not as fast of a race as was the case in Waterloo.
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The first third of the track is incredibly fast, mostly downhill and wide. The riders won't be able to create gaps there, and traction should not be an issue either. The long straight section halfway through the course is the main uphill of the race, not an explosive effort however, more a draining uphill effort with a couple of spikes.
The pits will surely be used unlike Waterloo, although only a couple times. What follows are a section of technical corners with a lot of needed accelerations, before the 39-step run up the stairs. Towards the end of the race this could become a decisive feature as fatigue settles in, and the dash towards the line is quick. The finishing straight is also long and flat which may not favour early attackers.
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The women's race was quite explosive last week in Waterloo, but there are good chances it will be more selective here. Because of the tough ascent and expected soggy terrain, that portion of the circuit will be critical and gaps can be formed on each lap. On most of the circuit I believe riders will be equal, with no great outlier. Denise Betsema and Lucinda Brand will in my opinion have a suiting race for their skills.
In the men's race Eli Iserbyt has shown great form last week. The long running section and long uphill favours his small stature, both him and Lars van der Haar performed very well at the World Championships on this circuit. Vanthourenhout could also be a fan of the long climb, but won't have an easy time to match Iserbyt in the technical sections. As for Sweeck he is showing good form but I think he will have a tough time fighting for the podium. Outside from them I don't see anyone capable of taking the win.
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The women's race will start at 12:30 local time (19:30CET) and is estimated to finish at 13:15 local time (20:15CET). The men's race is set to start at 14:00 local time (21:00CET) and is estimated to finish at around 15:05 local time (22:05).
You can watch the broadcast of the race at the UCI website; GCN+/Eurosport Player internationally. The channels which will broadcast the race will include Telenet PlaySports and Proximus (Belgium), Flobikes (Canada), Ceská Televize (Czech Republic), TV2 Danmark (Denmark) and TV2 Norge (Norway).
*** Lucinda Brand
** Fem van Empel, Denise Betsema
* Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Annemarie Worst, Inge van der Heijden
*** Eli Iserbyt
** Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweeck
* Pim Ronhaar, Thibau Nys, Daan Soete
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