Week 13 brings a bit of calm to a schedule that has seen nearly a dozen races every week for the past month or so. This is especially true in North America, where after weeks of multiple UCI races across the continent, there is just one this weekend in North Carolina. The North Carolina Grand Prix offers two days of UCI C2 action.
In Europe, all eyes are focused on Sunday’s World Cup in Koksijde. There is no other course like it in the world and as such, it is a true fan favorite. Before the riders head to Koksijde, there is a C1 in Wachtebeke, Belgium on Saturday. All the top riders will be there. Also on Saturday, there’s the C2 GP Kosice in Slovakia and a C1 race in Japan. The Rapha Supercross Nobeyama is Japan’s only C1 race.
Because of UCI rules, there are only three races on Sunday in Europe. The aforementioned Koksijde World Cup takes place along with Bryksy Cross Gosciecin in Poland and round five of the National Trophy Series in Pembrey. Both races are C2s and Bryksy Cross is Polands only UCI race.
As usual, we will pick one race in North America and one race in Europe. We’re going with the NCGP #2 on Sunday and the World Cup Koksijde (also on Sunday).
NCGP #2 (Sunday)
Despite getting ganged up on by the Cannondale team last weekend, Kerry Werner is still one of, if not the, top riders in the US. While Kerry is from Pennsylvania, his home is now in North Carolina, so it’s a hometown race of sorts. A lot of the other riders we have seen on podiums the past few weeks are taking the weekend off. However, the usual crew of east coast riders will be vying for the podium.
- Kerry Werner
- Travis Livermon
- Merwin Davis
Like the men, Sunday’s race lacks a little firepower as riders take a break and gear up for Nationals. Caroline Nolan comes in as one of the favorites, after winning both days in Northampton a few weeks ago. Other riders who should be in the mix are Raylyn Nuss, Smantha Runnels and Carla Williams. However, as we have seen, women’s racing is wide open and there’s always a new face gunning for the podium.
- Caroline Nolan
- Raylyn Nuss
- Jane Rossi
World Cup Koksijde
Perhaps in the coming weeks we will pick lesser known races as predicting the top one and two spots has become…well…predictable. Mathieu van der Poel looks to make it his third straight victory at Koksijde. Behind him Eli Iserbyt will continue to try and keep things close and perhaps pick up his fourth World Cup win this season. We have seen a bit of shuffling over the past few weeks with the riders in third through about tenth place. Laurens Sweeck has come on strong, but Michael Vanthourenhout, Tim Merlier, Toon Aerts, and the rest of the Belgians have been vying for the podium.
- Mathieu van der Poel
- Eli Iserbyt
- Laurens Sweeck
The women’s race in Koksijde has seen three different winners in as many years. Last year’s winner, Denise Betsema is not racing, but Maud Kaptheijns and Sanne Cant are. It hasn’t been the best year for Cant, but you can never count her out. Yara Kastelijn has to be one of the favorites heading into this race. Her teammate, Annemarie Worst, is also a threat for the podium, as are most of the Dutch women.
- Yara Kastelijn
- Annemarie Worst
- Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado