Start lists for the Jingle Cross World Cup will officially become available on Tuesday, but based on news that has trickled in, we have a sense of some of the top names who will and will not be racing the two U.S. World Cups this year.
On the Men’s side, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) will be away prepping for Road Worlds, while Wout van Aert (Jumbo – Visma) is still facing a long recovery process and appears unlikely to race cyclocross this season.
Last year, Marianne Vos (CCC – Liv) provided U.S. fans with a treat when she opted to start her cyclocross season early in the U.S. Vos will also be racing for the Netherlands at Road Worlds, so she will not have an encore U.S. performance.
Today we have some news and some speculation about two other big names in the international Women’s field.
Earlier this week, Wielerflits.be reported that three-time defending World Champion Sanne Cant (IKO – Crelan) is also out for this year’s U.S. World Cup trip.
“I don’t dive into the field for the first time in Kruibeke until the beginning of October,” Cant told the Belgian publication (translated). “ No Eeklo, now Sunday. And no World Cup competitions in the United States. Not that I performed poorly over there, because two years ago I even won a competition there (Waterloo, ed.). But for some reason I always came back tired. Apparently I have some problems with jet lag.”
Cant has raced all the previous U.S. World Cups dating back to CrossVegas in 2015. She finished 3rd in Vegas in 2015, and as she mentioned, won the inaugural World Cup Waterloo in 2017. Last year she finished 10th in Waterloo and 5th in Iowa City.
The decision by Cant and others to skip the World Cups will cost them points in the overall World Cup standings, and this year, with call-ups for the first 3 rows going to riders in the top 24 of the World Cup overall, it will also cost them a grid placing at the Bern World Cup in October.
A big, if not a bit unheralded, move by Trek Factory Racing was to sign Jolanda Neff last October. Neff celebrated her new team by wrapping up her cyclocross season with a win at GP Sven Nys and then finished sixth at Worlds in Bogense despite a poor grid position.
This summer, the former XCO world champion has continued her strong cross-country riding. She currently leads the XCO World Cup overall heading into the finale in Snowshoe this weekend, and she finished second at last weekend’s World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne.
After racing in West Virginia, signs point to Neff heading to Iowa City, with the Swiss rider registered for Sunday’s C1 the day after the Jingle Cross World Cup. Not surprisingly, she is also registered for Friday’s C2 at the Trek CX Cup in Waterloo.
Neff staying to race the World Cups would make a decent amount of sense. She is already here for Mont-Sainte-Anne and Snowshoe, and Trek-sponsored riders have played a big role in the race in Waterloo in recent years. Last year, Emily Batty joined the Legends Race, while Evie Richards and Ellen Noble both had impressive results out in the real, non-costumed races.
We have reached out to Trek to verify Neff’s plans. The lists of registered riders for the non-World-Cup races in Waterloo and Iowa City have historically been in a state of flux up until race time, so we may have to wait until Tuesday or even next weekend to find out if the Swiss standout with be lending her star power to this year’s U.S. World Cups.