World Cup Namur is challenging on a regular Belgian winter day, but Sunday’s race was particularly challenging thanks to rain, more rain and some decisions by course designers.
The venue received rain throughout the week, and then precipitation throughout the cold day on Sunday caused the course to quickly deteriorate.
Organizers did some redesign of the classic course, including the addition of a challenging section down a flight of stairs covered with sandbags and loose sand. That section got particularly swamped and gnarly during the Elite Men’s race.
I don’t think they are finished working on these steps but they seem pretty ridiculous… pic.twitter.com/V04CX0KRxx
— Cameron Mason (@camerooney_) December 18, 2019
Some folks were not happy with the redesigned course. Adrie van der Poel told Nieuwsblad the following:
“Everything they have brought in does not offer any added value. It is only dangerous, looking for sensation and has nothing to do with cyclocross. That you can turn something so beautiful into something ugly.”
The course, the conditions, the weather produced several unfortunate injuries. We wish all the riders quick recoveries.
Katie Clouse suffered a dislocated shoulder when she crashed during the Elite Women’s race. Clouse’s ability to race the rest of the Kerstperiode block is uncertain.
Toon Aerts had a crash reminiscent of the one at Fiuggi in 2016 where he broke his collarbone. Aerts was on Mathieu van der Poel’s wheel in the last lap of their instant classic battle when he crashed and suffered a non-displaced rib fracture when he hit a pole.
Aerts’ status for World Cup Zolder on Thursday is uncertain.
— Telenet Baloise Lions (@Telenet_Baloise) December 23, 2019
The cold temperatures mixed with the rain also took its toll on riders. Eli Iserbyt had to be carried from the course after withdrawing with what appeared to be hypothermia-like symptoms.
Iserbyt posted on social media today that he is recovering.
— Eli Iserbyt (@IserbytEli) December 23, 2019
Tom Pidcock also crashed in the last lap and was visibly affected by the cold conditions. He just missed out on his first Elite World Cup podium.
Well that was agonising and also the coldest I’ve ever been. I’ve just stopped shivering. So close to a World Cup podium. The last lap I just couldn’t function anymore. C’est la vie 🤷♂️ #4th #Namur #TelenetUCICXWC pic.twitter.com/UpFU2S0aKT
— Tom Pidcock (@Tompid) December 22, 2019
Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2019 World Cup Namur and the upcoming Kerstperiode racing.