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.
Checking out the new uphill running section in the sand: a bit of #SPZonhoven brought to #WBKoksijde! pic.twitter.com/tkJNUMPUN2
— Marlux-NapoleonGames (@MAR_NAPG_CT) November 16, 2016
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:
Verkenning Koksijde: mooie nieuwe looppassage bergop na de start! Zaterdag ook @SoudalClassics Hasselt op het menu.. Looking forward! pic.twitter.com/MF7SCToXYE
— Klaas Vantornout (@KlaasVantornout) November 16, 2016
While Dieter Vanthourenhout didn’t love the change:
Parcoursverkenning Koksijde zit erop. Ik mis het oude parcours toch.. opnieuw gewijzigd.. dit neigt meer naar Zonhoven proberen overtreffen pic.twitter.com/CkJrflKkQw
— DieterVanthourenhout (@vanthourenhout) November 16, 2016
Sven Vanthourenhout, team manager of the Telenet Fidea Lions and silver medalist at Worlds behind American Matt Kelly, was quoted by Nieusblad.be 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:
- Katie Compton
- Ellen Noble
- Elle Anderson
- Amana Nauman
- Christine Vardaros
- Jeremy Powers
- Stephen Hyde
- Eric Thompson,
- Spencer Petrov
- Peter Goguen
- Eric Brunner
- Denzel Stephenson
- Sam Noel
- Kevin Goguen
Stay tuned as we bring you full coverage of the 2016 Koksijde UCI Cyclocross World Cup on Sunday.