Just over a week ago, during the 2017 World Championships, the UCI confirmed rumors that the Trek CXC Cup was becoming a Cyclocross World Cup. World Cup Waterloo will be held on September 24th, 2017 at the Trek World Headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
A close-up look at any of the Telenet-Fidea Lions bikes at Worlds also revealed a coordinated, subtle marketing campaign:
Cyclocross Magazine contributor Zachary Schuster recently had the chance to talk to Eric Bjorling, the Communications Manager of Trek, about the upcoming World Cup for his Wiscrossin podcast and website.
Bjorling offered some insight on the new step for the event formerly known as the Trek CXC Cup, and hinted at some exciting things still to come. Here are some excerpts on that conversation:
On what it took to make the jump from a popular U.S. race to a World Cup:
Eric Bjorling: “We knew we needed some talent, we needed a hook. We started with the Telenet Fidea team which was easy because they race for us. We invited the reigning World Champion…The next step was World Cup status…We realized there was just as much interest outside of the building as inside. It was just a natural progression from there.”
“We took our pitch to (Trek President) John Burke and he said, ‘Just make it awesome.’ He was a pretty easy sell…the Burke family is becoming a ’cross family.”
On how the Trek/Wisconsin vibe for the event and balancing the fun aspects with the responsibilities of running a World Cup event:
EB: “We have white boards filled with plans of things that you never see at other ’cross races.”
“It won’t be SSCXWC, but there [are] definitely some things inspired by SSCXWC in Portland this past year…we had Sven Nys racing for us at SSCXWC and he definitely brought some stuff back…some of the flavor.”
Bjorling said the company is looking hard at the course features, and talking about riding through the company’s atrium, the factory, or even through a truck (as SSCXWC has done in the past). “Everything is on the table,” said Bjorling. “We do want to find that defining thing…something that nobody has seen yet.”
On equal payout for the men and women:
EB: “We didn’t feel right about hosting a race that wasn’t equal payout.”
“I hope we’re sorta setting an example,” said Bjorling. “I hope we’re really only just the first one of everybody else doing it.”
World Cup Waterloo will be the first UCI Cyclocross World Cup to offer equal payouts for men and women, joining the other U.S. World Cup in making a bit of history. The Iowa-City Jingle Cross World Cup is the only World Cup event to raise funds for charity.
The Trek CXC Cup announced equal pay in 2013, following the example of the Cincinatti UCI3 Weekend that started equal pay in 2008. American Kris Auer, through a creative raffle, brought equal pay beyond domestic races starting with the Koppenbergcross in 2014, something that still continues to this day. Now Trek expands that equal pay mission to its World Cup on home soil.
Bjorling also went into detail on how the company secured the rights to live stream the DVV Verzekeringen and Soudal Classic cyclocross races, stating it’s been one of his proudest accomplishments and also casually mentioned ambitions that we’ve already hinted at, including a run at the World Championships.
For the full conversation, take a listen to Schuster’s full podcast below. See you in Waterloo?