World Cup cyclocross is returning to the United States in 2018.
Today, the UCI announced that the Jingle Cross and Waterloo World Cups will be returning this September as part of the 2018/19 Telenet UCI World Cup series.
The biggest change to the 2018 Midwest World Cups — with the exception of hopefully the blazing hot temperatures — is the schedule. World Cup Waterloo at Trek Headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin will be held on Sunday, September 23rd, and the Jingle Cross World Cup will be on Saturday, September 29th.
Both events follow Interbike, which takes place in Reno, Nevada from September 18-20. The re-named RenoCross, the bike race formerly known as CrossVegas, will be held on Wednesday, September 19 at Rancho San Rafael Park, which recently hosted U.S. Cyclocross Nationals.
Jingle Cross Returns for Year 3
Jingle Cross first received World Cup status and moved from its traditional late-season slot in 2016. The 2018 event will be the third World Cup, making it the longest-running U.S. World Cup.
“We’re very excited to be a World Cup for a third consecutive year, making Jingle Cross the longest-running World Cup in North America,” said race director and sometimes Grinch John Meehan. “It’s an incredible site, with an amazing staff of great people in a town that I can’t imagine could be a better place for cyclocross.”
Last year, with the exception of the unseasonably hot weather, the biggest challenge of the Jingle Cross weekend was dealing with the Iowa home football game. Traditionally, Jingle Cross was held on non-football weekends, and in 2018 that is again the case. The Hawkeyes have a bye week the weekend of the 29th, allowing the World Cup to be held on Saturday.
Meehan said the football schedule played a role in which weekend Jingle Cross will be held. “Football in Iowa city is obviously a major event. You know, there’s 70,000 fans in the stadium and from the city’s standpoint it’s very difficult to support two major events in one weekend at the same exact time. That’s a little tough for any town.”
The Jingle Cross World Cup will be held on Saturday the 29th, and then the traditional Friday Night Lights race will be a C2 and Sunday will be a C1. The schedule is similar to that of 2016.
Coincidentally, the Hawkeyes will be in Madison to play the Wisconsin Badgers the weekend of World Cup Waterloo, meaning Mathieu van der Poel may find it challenging to choose which home team to root for.
In addition to the World Cup, Meehan said the weekend will again be focused on the amateur racers. Of all kinds. “First of all, for the amateur racers, we have 65 races in Juniors categories all the way through Masters divisions,” he said. “It should be exciting from that standpoint. We’ve done that for several years now, but we’re expanding it to try to get more people involved in the sport. And then one thing that was really exciting last year was we had a doggie cross, which was one of the most hilarious, funny things we ever did and we’re going do that again.”
Finally, as for Jingle Cross returning to its winter roots, perhaps in late January or early February, Meehan said it would be an exciting prospect. “To me it would be nice one day to bring the World Champs to Iowa. That’s not a promise, but that sure would get people excited, you know, speaking plainly.”
The Waterloo Party Is Back
The Midwest World Cup circuit will again feature two stops, with World Cup Waterloo at Trek Headquarters returning for a second year. The World Cup will be held on Sunday, but the entire weekend will feature amateur racing and the Trek CX Cup UCI C2 on Friday.
Trek originally received a two-year World Cup bid, so the 2018 race was always part of the team’s plan. Trek spokesman Eric Bjorling said the goal of a multi-year bid was to continue to improve the event.
“We like the multi-year commitment because it’s a bigger challenge and it also lets us learn and build bigger and better events. If we just threw one big party, no matter how great it is, we would always be left with a long list of things we would have done differently. This gives us another crack at making the event better and lets us stretch our creative wings a little on course design and athlete and spectator experience.”
Last year, Trek made news by offering equal payouts to the women and men winners, which is not required by UCI rules. Bjorling said the equal payouts will return again in 2018. “One thing that will remain is the equal payouts to the mens and women’s fields,” he said. “That’s an easy one.”
Equal pay at a World Cup 😍 Not only does it give you that Kendrick, "I could buy yo a$$ the world with my pay stub" feeling, but it also sends an important message. The message that, as female athletes, what we're doing is valuable – EQUALLY as valuable – as our male counterparts. The disparity in World Cup payout is not insignificant: 10th in the women's race receives less than 30th in the men's. So to have equal pay at #WCWaterloo means a lot. This check is huge, both literally and figuratively. It's never been about the money- it's what that money signifies. Thank you to @trekbikes for stepping up and setting the new precedent. 💞💥👌🏽 Also, can you make the check out to "Sallie Mae"? 😂 #ballerstatus #25sittinon25mil #womeninsport #bepositivebepresent #shredthepatriarchy #aspireracing
UCI racing was first held at Trek Headquarters in 2013 and the event quickly evolved in four years as the Trek CXC Cup. Bjorling said his team hopes that 2018 combines some lessons learned with new ideas.
“Each and every event we produce has to live and stand on its own merits so while 2017 was a great first step, that’s all in the past. 2018 will undoubtedly be better,” he said. “The free online broadcast will also remain in place. Our friends at Segafredo will be joining us again so you know the coffee is going to be incredible. Aside from those three core pillars of all great events — equality, access, great coffee — there will be a lot of new elements that people are going to love. The course will be all-new and we’ve got an entire whiteboard filled with ideas to take this event to the next level.”
Have some input? Trek would love to hear about it. “If anybody has got an idea they’d love us to hear, hit us up. this event is all about the athletes and fans,” Bjorling concluded.
The Midwest Motherland of ’Cross
Perhaps the biggest challenge of the 2016 U.S. World Cups was the logistics of shipping bikes and equipment from Las Vegas to Iowa City in a short period of time. With Iowa City and Waterloo located three hours apart, the travel challenges for the European teams have been reduced. Accordingly, the 2017 races brought a full complement of European teams to the U.S. to race.
Meehan and Bjorling both said they enjoyed the Midwest partnership and look forward to it continuing in 2018. “It’s very important that the United States has more than one World Cup and Jingle Cross is a great event put on by really smart and hard working people,” said Bjorling. “Two World Cups in the US is better for the fans, the athletes, the organizers, and the future of the sport in general.”
The two Midwest U.S. World Cups held when ’cross excitement is high made the region the center of the cyclocross world for two weeks in September of 2017. With the two races returning in 2018, the cornfields of Iowa and Wisconsin look likely to be the motherland of ’cross again, at least for a small stretch of time.
Stay tuned for the complete 2018/19 World Cup and full UCI schedules.