Iowa City plays host to the second round of the UCI World Cup this Saturday. The city is home to the University of Iowa, which is known for its football. However, on this weekend, the cycling world descends on the city for three days of amateur and UCI racing. Known as Jingle Cross (it used to be held in late November), the three day event allows both amateurs and pros to race on the same course and experience the big crowds and challenging terrain. Friday kicks things of with a night time C2 race. Saturday is the second round of the World Cup, while Sunday plays host to a C1 race. For purposes of this preview, we are focusing just on Saturday’s World Cup race.
As with last weekend, there are 25 riders from America which makes 50% of the field. Andrew Dillman and Grant Ellwood will replace Jeremy Powers and Stephen Hyde, who are sidelined with injury. Beyond that, the field remains mostly the same with 15 Belgians dominating the headlines. All of the riders who raced last weekend will be in action this weekend including last weeks winner Toon Aerts and World Champion Wout van Aert.
The World Cup course remains largely unchanged from previous years. The race will start and finish on pavement with the rest of the course being primarily grass. There are two flyovers, one set of barriers, two sand sections, a wooded area with a bridge and the infamous Mt. Krumpit Klimb. While the courses main feature is the climb (and possible run up), it’s a challenging mix of false flats, tough climbs and fast descents. Therefore, it has a good mix of power sections and technical challenges.
However, the biggest challenge may be the weather. The course was under water much of this week and Friday and Saturday are calling for more rain. As with previous years, there may be some minor course changes to accommodate the tough conditions. Look for a bit more running if the weather keeps things wet. Temperature wise, it will be in the 50s.
As with last weekend, last years winner Mathieu van der Poel will not be in action. However, the rest of the field will toe the start line. Last weeks winner, Toon Aerts will be looking to do a little better then his seventh place finish last year. Wout van Aert finished as distant 14th last year and will surely better that on Saturday. Laurens Sweeck and Quienten Hermans will be in action. They finished second and third, respectively last year. Kerry Werner was the top American in 19th last year and looks poised to better that this weekend.
- Wout van Aert
- Toon Aerts
- Quinten Hermans
Dark horse: Kevin Pauwels