From the east of France to Ireland to the west of France to the Italian Alps - with a whole series of cyclo-cross races in other classifications in between. The organizers of the Cyclo-cross World Cup are not making things easy on the cyclo-cross riders this time around. This Sunday, they will be at the start in Flamanville, in Normandy. IDLProCycling.com brings you up to speed on what we can expect!
Flamanville is hosting a Cyclo-cross World Cup for the second time, after welcoming Eli Iserbyt and Fem van Empel as winners two winters ago, in the early months of 2022. The town has less than 2,000 inhabitants and is mainly known for having multiple nuclear reactors and a local chateau, which is also where the cyclo-cross race will take place this Sunday.
As we mentioned, it was Iserbyt - who beat Toon Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout - and Van Empel - who won against Puck Pieterse in a sprint - who claimed victory here in 2021/2022. In the years before that, the cyclo-cross race was part of the Coupe de France.
Most recent winners Cyclo-cross World Cup Flamanville
2022 Eli Iserbyt / Fem van Empel
Course, weather and times Cyclo-cross World Cup Flamanville 2023
When comparing the courses of this year's edition and the one from early 2022, there are some minor differences. However, the characteristics of the course in Flamanville have mostly remained the same: riders still rumble through the forests and gardens around the castle of the French town, where a 3,160 meter circuit awaits.
The course includes 20 meters of elevation gain, which is definitely manageable. Therefore, technique will likely be the main differentiator here, as the course winds nicely through the French location, around several bodies of water, as you can see in the picture below. Additionally, the cyclists will encounter an artificially constructed bridge and barriers.
Brrr. While it is quite cold these days in the Netherlands and Belgium, on the west coast of France, rain is the main concern. On Sunday, some drizzle is expected, with a decent southern wind and temperatures around 7 to 8 degrees Celsius.
Women's start: 1:45 p.m.
Women's finish: 2:30 p.m.
Men's start: 3:10 p.m.
Men's finish: 4:10 p.m.
Favorites women's Cyclo-cross World Cup Flamanville 2023
Fem van Empel (Jumbo-Visma) and Puck Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck) will not be participating on Sunday, as they decided to take the day off after the Superprestige race in Boom. Shirin van Anrooij, representing Baloise Trek Lions, will be travelling from Belgium to France, opting for a challenging double on her big comeback weekend.
Teammate Lucinda Brand, on the other hand, skipped the cross in Boom, while Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, the flourishing leader in the World Cup standings, also opts for a double this weekend. Alvarado finished on the podium in every World Cup race this season and has therefore built a substantial lead.
Looking at the January 2022 edition, we certainly shouldn't forget Blanka Kata Vas, who finished third in that edition. The SD Worx rider is certainly not alone in France, as teammate and Luxembourger Marie Schreiber is also competing in the race. Inge van der Heijden of Crelan-Corendon, who finished fourth in Flamanville last year, is also participating again.
Other contenders for a podium finish include Denise Betsema, Leonie Bentveld (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), Annemarie Worst (Cyclocross Reds), Manon Bakker, Sanne Cant, Marion Norbert-Riberolle (Crelan-Corendon) and possibly even French Hélene Clauzel.
Favorites women's Cyclo-cross World Cup Flamanville, according to IDLProCycling.com
Top favorite: Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions)
Outsiders: Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions)
Long shots: Blanka Kata Vas, Marie Schreiber (SD Worx), Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Inge van der Heijden (Relan-Corendon)
Favorites men's Cyclo-cross World Cup Flamanville 2023
In the men's category, we are eagerly awaiting what promises to be an interesting battle! The entire Baloise Trek Lions squadron is making the trip to Flamanville, which means we can look forward to the quartet of Thibau Nys, Joris Nieuwenhuis, Lars van der Haar and Pim Ronhaar.
Nys and Nieuwenhuis will also be racing in Boom on Saturday, while Van der Haar and Ronhaar will only be at the starting line in Flamanville this weekend. The course should theoretically suit Van der Haar, Nys and Nieuwenhuis, while Ronhaar might prefer some more mud. Nonetheless, having this group of riders on the participants list means we have no less than four serious contenders from a single team.
The top contender might not come from Sven Nys's camp, because for that we are mostly looking at World Cup leader Eli Iserbyt of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. The agile Belgian proved in the previous race in Flamanville that he is excellent on this course, so that is certainly promising for this year's edition. Michael Vanthourenhout and Ryan Kamp will also be competing for his team.
Otherwise, we are mainly looking at several strong Belgians: Laurens Sweeck, Joran Wyseur and Toon Vandebosch are in good form for Crelan-Corendon, while Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Deceuninck) has also shown impressive performances this year. Finally, we cannot forget the Dutchman Corné van Kessel (Deschacht-Hens-Maes), Jens Adams, Gerben Kuypers, his Swiss teammate Kevin Kuhn (Circus-ReUz-Technord) and Lander Loockx (TDT-Unibet).
Favorites men's Cyclo-cross World Cup Flamanville, according to IDLProCycling.com
Top favorite: Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal)
Outsiders: Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) and Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Corendon)
Long shots: Joris Nieuwenhuis, Thibau Nys, Pim Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal)
TV Cyclo-cross World Cup Flamanville 2023
The day after the Superprestige race in Boom, the cyclo-cross world will descend upon Flamanville in Normandy. The women start at 1:45 p.m. Then, at 3:10 p.m., it's the men's turn. Eurosport is broadcasting both races live on both Eurosport 1 and the online channels. The NOS might also cover the World Cup in their afternoon broadcast, while the Belgians can tune into Sporza on VRT 1.