Sankt Wendel - Saint Wendel, Germany by flickr:wnd.andreas

Sankt Wendel - Saint Wendel, Germany by flickr:wnd.andreas

While the US won’t have a 2011 cyclocross national championships, the UCI will be hosting a 2011 Cyclocross World Championships in St. Wendel Germany, on January 29th and 30th, 2011. Full press release below.

World`s top riders in St. Wendel St. Wendel will host the Cyclo-cross World Championships for the second time since 2005 and a whole region is again eagerly anticipating the event. About 300 athletes will do battle for the medals over the last January weekend.

The 2.8 km course around the St. Wendel sports centre has gone almost unchanged. Forty per cent of it is uphill, descents make up for 25 per cent and 15 per cent is flat and there are two obstacles and some steps. It is considered to be technically demanding, and not only in cold conditions. The design of the course meets both the requirements of the world’s top cyclocrossers and the needs of spectators, media and sponsors. Virtually the whole race can be viewed by spectators who can therefore watch all the absorbing action from close up.

Competition begins on Saturday at 11.00 am with the juniors race. Three hours later (2.00 pm) it will be the turn of the espoirs to battle for the title. The women’s elite race will start on Sunday at 11.00 am and the elite men will begin their World Championship quest at 2.00 pm.

Mechanical problems took Stybar out of the running. © Bart Hazen

Current World Champ Stybar plans to keep Belgians off the top step. © Bart Hazen

Whilst the rostrum for the elite race was occupied by three Belgians back in 2005, this time around at least one rider will break their dominance: Zdenek Stybar from the Czech Republic. He will not only go into the race as the title-holder but as this season’s top rider after his numerous wins which included this winter’s first two World Cup races in Aigle and Pilzen. Stybar knows the course in St. Wendel only too well – the Czech won the U23 category at the last World Championships there. “This time I’d like to dominate the elite race,” said the confident 2010 winner.

The two Belgians, Niels Albert and Kevin Pauwels obviously want to prevent Stybar from taking the title again. But they finished behind the Czech in both of the season’s previous World Cup races. “But my form will be better by January,” said Albert, who donned the Rainbow Jersey in 2009. Germany’s hopes in the elite race rest on the shoulders of Philipp Walsleben, who has had some good results in recent World Cup races and who will be particularly motivated when he goes to the starting line in St. Wendel.

Most see the German Hanka Kupfernagel as being one of the top favourites for the women’s elite race. Having won a total of ten World Cup medals, four of which were gold, she is the most successful cyclocrosser ever. She will be looking in St. Wendel to successfully defend her 2005 World Championship title but she will be up against some tough opposition. The two Dutchwomen, Sanne van Paassen and Daphny van den Brand, the Czech Katerina Nash and Katherine Compton from the USA are the rivals Kupfernagel fears the most. “There are more riders at the top these days. It won’t be an easy race,” said the 36-year-old. Mountain bike Olympic Champion Sabine Spitz, who won silver behind Kupfernagel in January 2005, will also be in the line-up and is dreaming of a similar coup to the one six years ago.

Missionshaus St Wendel - Sankt Wendel, Germany

Missionshaus St Wendel - Sankt Wendel, Germany

The Cyclocross World Championships in St. Wendel should not only promise sporting success, they are also good for the image of the town and the region as a whole and it is additionally economically highly beneficial. Thirty thousand fans from the neighbouring countries are expected and they will generate a lot of income for the local hotels and eateries. Many hotels in the area are already fully booked. Live coverage of the championships all around the world will further increase St. Wendel’s renown.