by Evan Schmitt / @evanschmitt
After a blustering weekend of National Championship races, the World Cup series returns to Liévin, France, on January 15. 213 athletes will compete from 19 different nations at the World Cup in France and the newly crowned national champions will be eager to show their colors. The World Championships are also approaching at the end of the month in Koksijde, Belgium, so the race will serve as a dress rehearsal for the big show in two weeks. The last time Liévin held a World Cup in 2008, Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Hanka Kupfernagel (Focus) won their respective races.
Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) assumed his usual spot on top after winning last week’s national championships in Belgium and will be a heavy favorite on Sunday. World Champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) defended his Czech national title last week and will be a tough challenger for Nys. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) will be hungry for a win after losing the national championship race last week to Nys, and current World Cup Leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) will be looking to keep his lead in the series. The American contingent will include freshly dressed national champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus), Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt), Jonathan Page (Planet Bike), Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Jeremy Durrin (J.A.M. Fund).
In the women’s race, current World Champion Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo) remained unstoppable last week when she won the Dutch National Championships, and will be the woman to beat in Liévin. Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) won her eighth consecutive American national title last week in Wisconsin and will be eager to knock down the Dutchwoman. Daphny van den Brand is the current World Cup leader and will be looking for a strong showing on Sunday. The full American team includes Compton, Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers-The Race Club), Katie Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Christine Vardaros (Baboco).
In the U23 race, newly minted National Champion Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) will carry the American hopes as the only rider from the United States.