The Koksijde World Cup always provides a challenging course, even by Euro racing standards. But this year, course designers have really stepped things up with an extra steep, sandy climb near the start that’s sure to hurt the running legs. See the full Koksijde World Cup cyclocross course map here.

A Tweet by the Marlux Napolean Games team attempts to show just how steep and sandy the climb is.

Although it doesn’t quite feature the open bowl of Zonhoven, racers are comparing the new sandy run-up climb to the ones found in the sandy Superprestige race in terms of difficulty.

Belgian Klaas Vantornout, Worlds silver medalist in Louisville, is in favor of the change, saying the new run-up is beautiful, and one he’s looking forward to:

While Dieter Vanthourenhout didn’t love the change:

Sven Vanthourenhout, team manager of the Telenet Fidea Lions and silver medalist at Worlds behind American Matt Kelly, was quoted by as saying the new changes does not result in a gain for the race, and while he’s not for or against the new run-up, he believes it’s paramount to preserve the uniqueness of the race in the sand dunes of Koksijde. Vanthourenhout has finished third at Koksijde several times in his career.

A team of Americans will be taking the start on Sunday, including:

Elite Women:

  1. Katie Compton
  2. Ellen Noble
  3. Elle Anderson
  4. Amana Nauman
  5. Christine Vardaros

Elite Men:

  1. Jeremy Powers
  2. Stephen Hyde
  3. Eric Thompson,

U23 Men:

  1. Spencer Petrov
  2. Peter Goguen
  3. Eric Brunner

Junior Men:

  1. Denzel Stephenson
  2. Sam Noel
  3. Kevin Goguen

Stay tuned as we bring you full coverage of the 2016 Koksijde UCI Cyclocross World Cup on Sunday.