After welcoming the Trek CXC Cup to its grounds in 2013, Trek Bicycles has slowly built the event each year. Last year, the Trek CXC Cup welcomed defending world champion Wout van Aert and the Telenet Fidea Lions to its race ahead of the CrossVegas and Jingle Cross World Cups, and in 2017 Waterloo, Wisconsin will be welcoming a much bigger slate of the world’s best riders to World Cup Waterloo.
Fans looking ahead to Sunday’s race already have the Jingle Cross weekend as a benchmark to look to. Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) won an impressive victory at Sunday’s World Cup, and Wisconsin native Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) had an impressive ride on Friday night to win against a field that featured many of the top riders.
On the Men’s side, Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) has been dominant thus far in 2017, winning going away at both the Eeklo Brico Cross and the Jingle Cross World Cup. Two of the big stories last weekend were the impressive first and second from Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) and second and third from Quinten Hermans (Telnet Fidea Lions). Defending world champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) had to work for a second at Eeklo, and his afternoon on Sunday was derailed by mechanicals.
The festivities in Waterloo kick off with a C2 on Friday and then culminate with the World Cup on Sunday. The Women’s race on Friday is at 2:30 p.m. and the Men at 3:45 p.m. Central. Sunday’s World Cup Waterloo starts with the Women at 2:00 p.m. and the Men at 3:30 p.m. Central.
Cyclocross Magazine did a preview of the World Cup Waterloo course back in August. The layout looks much the same as it was when we headed out there—although since it is Wisconsin, the beer vendors are clearly identified.
The track should feature a mix of power and technical sections. There are hills, albeit ones that are not as steep as Mt. Krumpit. The technical section in the woods in the northwest corner of the property should challenge riders and the Segafredo Run-Up will be a bit tougher to ride than Mt. Krumput. Trek Factory Hill also awaits near the finish line as a technical section right before the end of the lap.
Although it rained Wednesday night, the rain was the first in a while in Waterloo and the grounds are still quite dry on Thursday afternoon.
There are some aesthetic changes on the Trek grounds since we were out there in August. The flyover has been painted to look like a barn and the side of the Trek Factory has been given the Trek Factory Hill designation.
Last weekend in Iowa City was hot. And when it cooled down a bit on Sunday, it was still sunny and hot.
We have received an early weather report from Wisconsin:
Hi friends. If you thought it was hot in Iowa, wait until you get to Madison. 🔥🔥🔥🔥
— Arley Kemmerer (@arleykemm) September 20, 2017
A look at the forecast from www.wunderground.com indicates Arley is onto something:
Different riders handle extreme heat differently, so Sunday’s World Cup race will be a test of both riders’ skills and ability to handle high temperatures. It would not be surprising if the high temperatures influence riders’ decisions to race in the C2 on Friday.
We have spoken with some riders in Waterloo, and some are planning on racing on Friday while some others are not. We will have our eyes on the start list for Friday.
With half of the U.S. World Cup leg done and dusted, here are some storylines we are watching.
1. Can Katie Compton shake off her crash?
Katie Compton was riding strong at the front of the race on Sunday before she suffered a tough crash halfway through the third lap. She went down pretty hard at the bottom of Mt. Krumpit and could be seen with an ice bag on her shoulder. Word from the doctor is it is just a sprain:
— Mark Legg (@MrKatieCompton) September 19, 2017
The course in Waterloo is well-suited to Compton’s skillset. She won Day 1 of the Trek CXC Cup in 2016 and likely would have won Day 2 but for a snapped chain. If she is healthy, she will definitely be considered one of the favorites.
2. Who will be the top rider from the Telenet Fidea Lions?
The Telenet Fidea team displayed some clinical teamwork on Friday and Sunday to get Quinten Hermans onto the podium. On Friday night, Lars van der Haar kept several riders at bay while Hermans escaped and was rewarded for his efforts with a third-place finish. On Sunday, Van der Haar again found himself helping Hermans out after he crashed early in the race.
When I spoke with Van der Haar after Sunday’s race, he was happy for his teammate but definitely itching to get his shot to be the lead rider for the Lions. Perhaps embracing that desire—and perhaps foreshadowing this weekend—Van der Haar was seen pulling the team, literally, during a training ride this week.
— Trek CX Cup (@TrekCXCup) September 20, 2017
3. Can Kaitie Keough continue her magical Midwest run?
Kaitie Keough grew up in nearby Racine, Wisconsin and is looking forward to having friends and family in Waterloo on Sunday. Last year, Keough had a memorable Midwest week when she won Day 2 of the Trek CXC Cup and then finished third at the Jingle Cross World Cup on a course she has been racing since she was 15.
The stage is set for a storybook ending for Keough after she finished second in Iowa City on Sunday and won Friday night. The Trek course is one she is equipped to do well on, so perhaps the extra support from the home crowd will provide her the extra boost to win on Sunday.
4. Can Wout van Aert bounce back?
Defending world champion Wout van Aert had a rough afternoon on Sunday. He was off the lead when mechanicals slowed him down and effectively ended his ability to factor in the race’s outcome. In both the Eeklo and Jingle Cross races, several riders from different teams have surrounded Van Aert and made him work extra hard to break free and chase down Van der Poel at the front. At Eeklo he was able to drag his way back to second, but in Iowa City he had no such luck.
Van der Poel has made it clear he is going to go early this year, so will Van Aert be able to mirror his move and not get caught up with other riders in the chase?
How to Watch
Live streaming of Sunday’s World Cup race will be available in the U.S. for free on trekbikes.com. The livestream starts at 1:30 p.m. Central and the Women’s race begins at 2:00 p.m. The Men kick off at 3:30 p.m. Central.
Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for coverage of the weekend in Waterloo.