If you’re like us, you’re eagerly awaiting the weekend’s racing, wondering who will be named the 2016 Cyclocross World Champion and spend the next season racing in the rainbow stripes. As we anxiously await the start of the first race, Christine Vardaros fills us in on the happenings around the track at Zolder today, one of the final chances for riders to inspect the course. Stay up-to-date with all our 2016 Cyclocross World Championship coverage here.

Today was a cold, gray and windy day at the Zolder race track, but that didn’t stop the die-hard fans from watching their favorite riders zoom around the course.

They got to see some of the world’s top talent such as Sven Nys, USA’s queen of ‘cross Katie Compton, Pavla Havlikova, Ellen van Loy, Steve Chainel, Meredith Miller, Caroline Mani and many others. It was such a laid back atmosphere that even the generally stoic Lars Boom got into the mood, throwing out kisses and greetings to everyone he saw.

Course inspection. 2016 Zolder World Championships. © D. Zelck / Cyclocross Magazine

Sven Nys is one rider everyone will be watching. As always. Course inspection. 2016 Zolder World Championships. © D. Zelck / Cyclocross Magazine

Half of the riders equipped their machines with Grifo all-around treads while the other half went slick, like the Grifo XS to tackle the fast, dry terrain. The only muddy spots today were tiny ones that could be avoided for those that wanted to keep their bike spick and span. In the eight years I’ve raced this track,  I have never seen it so dry. Of course, that could change overnight with the present threat of rain.

This is a course that is made to be fast–except for the one edition back in 2010 when it was covered in ice with a generous layer of snow where even the winners Lars Boom and Katie Compton fell at least ten times on their way to victory.

Many of the riders have such a relaxed feeling about them today that it was hard to imagine that in less than 24 hours all hell would be breaking loose in their worlds.

Today though, many riders were even kind enough to offer some time for an exclusive mini video interview for Cyclocross Magazine such as Meredith Miller, Pavla Havlikova, Caroline Mani and Katie Compton.

As for the rest of the Americans, they all got in their pre-rides early and by 11 am were piled back in the vans to go back and put their legs up.

Stay tuned for all the latest from Zolder, Belgium, where we’ll be keeping an extra eye out for all the Americans.