With roughly six weeks to go in the season, European racing turns its attention this weekend to Saturday’s BPost Bank Scheldecross race and Sunday’s World Cup in Namur. Last year’s dry, fast Scheldecross was a drag race of sorts while the past two editions of Namur have seen the technical course be particularly challenging due to saturated terrain and thick mud.

BPost Bank Trofee Scheldecross in Antwerp, Belgium

2014’s Scheldecross winners for the Men’s Elite and Women’s Elite races—Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) and Belgian Sanne Cant (Enertherm BKCP)—are both on the start list for Saturday and poised to repeat as winners this weekend.

The reigning Elite Men’s World Champion van der Poel has shown fine form after returning from injury late last month, befalling to a mechanical at the BPost race in Essen, but taking the win at Druivencross, and second at Zilvermeercross the following week behind the seemingly unstoppable Belgian Wout van Aert (Vastgoed Service-Golden Palace).

Last year on the beaches along the Schelde river, van der Poel easily powered to the win. While he had to contend with the fast, sandy course last year, van der Poel didn’t have to face van Aert, Belgian Sven Nys (Crelan AA-Drink), who has come on strong as of late, or fellow Dutchman Lars van der Haar (Team Giant-Alpecin) all of whom are on Saturday’s start list.

Also scheduled to be back inside the tape was 2008 World Champion Lars Boom of the Netherlands (Astana), who planned on racing the last five races of the season in preparation for his 2016 road campaign. However, Boom is sitting out due to illness.

Cant at the top of the podium at Scheldecross in 2014. © Start-Box/Wouter Toelen

Cant at the top of the podium at Scheldecross in 2014. © Start-Box/Wouter Toelen

For the Elite Women, 2014 Scheldecross winner Cant will take on Brit Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing) winner of the fifth round of the Superprestige series at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, as well as teammates Jolien Verschueren of Belgium (Young Telnet-Fidea) and Wyman’s compatriot Nikki Harris (Young Telnet-Fidea) who was second to Wyman at Spa-Francorchamps. American riders scheduled to take the start at Scheldecross are Beth Orton (Kona Factory Racing) and Elle Anderson (SRAM/Strava).

Namur World Cup in Namur, Belgium

On the wooded grounds surrounding the city’s citadel, the 2014 edition of the Namur World Cup race saw Czech Katerina Nash (Luna Pro) win ahead of none other than then World Champion Marianne Vos of the Netherlands (Rabobank-Liv Team) and American American Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) who won in Namur the two years prior in the Women’s Elite event.

This year Vos and Nash are out, but Compton who was struggling with fitness and form after a series of health setbacks, recently stood on a World Cup podium at Koksijde last month. With Compton there, she can’t be counted out given her recent history with the event. Other Americans in for Namur are Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannonade p/b, Crystal Anthony (Boulder Cyclesport/YogaGlo), Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport / YogaGlo), Ellen Noble (JAM Fund / NCC / Vittoria), Meredith Miller (Noosa), Emma White (, Courtenay McFadden (American Classics/Zones), Arley Kemmerer (Eleven Racing p/b PB2), and Elle Anderson (SRAM).

Van Aert takes the U23 win at Namur alongside Van der Poel and Sweeck. © Bart Hazen/Cyclocross Magazine

Van Aert takes the 2014 U23 win at Namur alongside Van der Poel and Sweeck. © Bart Hazen/Cyclocross Magazine

Last year in the Men’s Elite race, Belgium’s Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team) won over van der Haar and German Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus). Of course, the big news last year at Namur was Nys electing not to start due to fatigue. But one has to think that if this season’s Elite Men’s breakout star van Aert or the World Champion van der Poel are on the line, they are the riders to watch this Sunday. After all, both of those young riders stood on the podium at Namur last year in the U23 event.

Scheduled to appear at Namur in the Men’s Elite race for the United States are Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing), Stephen Hyde (Cannonade p/b, Travis Livermon (Mock Orange Bikes), and Robert Marion (American Classic Pro CX).

The U23 Men’s race and Junior Men’s race feature a full contingent of American racers as well, as part of the 2015-2016 USA Cycling Cross Development Camp.

American Racers at the 2015 Namur World Cup:

Elite Men:

  1. Jeremy Powers
  2. Stephen Hyde
  3. Travis Livermon
  4. Robert Marion

Elite Women:

  1. Katie Compton
  2. Kaitlin Antonneau
  3. Crystal Anthony
  4. Amanda Miller
  5. Ellen Noble
  6. Meredith Miller
  7. Emma White
  8. Courtenay McFadden
  9. Arley Kemmerer
  10. Elle Anderson

U23 Men:

  1. Logan Owen
  2. Curtis White
  3. Andrew Dillman
  4. Tobin Ortenblad
  5. Grant Ellwood
  6. Gavin Haley

Junior Men:

  1. Gage Hecht
  2. Spencer Petrov
  3. Eric Brunner
  4. Cameron Beard
  5. Denzel Stephenson
  6. Evan Clouse
  7. Michael Owens

There’s also a contingent of British, Canadian and Australian racers:

British Namur Racers:

Elite Men:

  1. Ian Field
  2. Paul Oldham

Elite Women:

  1. Helen Wyman
  2. Nikki Harris
  3. Hannah Payton
  4. Amira Mellor

Junior Men:

  1. Ben Turner
  2. Mark Donovan
  3. William Gascoyne
  4. Harry Yates

Canadian Namur Racers:

Elite Women:

  1. Mical Dyck

Elite Men:

  1. Michael van den Ham
  2. Mark McConnell
  3. Jeremy Martin
  4. Aaron Schooler

Australia/New Zealand Namur Racers:

Australia is sending Ben Walkerden and Noah Barrow (Junior Men), Nicholas Smith (U23), Natalie Redmond (Elite Women) and Garry Millburn (Elite Men) while New Zealand also features Angus Edmond (Elite Men)

Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for the full racing action, videos as well as Camp diaries from the riders.