The 2020/21 cyclocross World Cup is set to take place without one of its most renowned events. Last week it was announced that 31 applications had been received for the new, expanded series, though it will not include the event at Namur.
Taking part on the hilly course below the city’s citadel, the Namur event is currently organised by Golazo Belgium, which also runs the 11 race DVV Trofee Series. However, the company has not applied for any of its 17 cyclocross events to join the World Cup races next season.
The World Cup is set for a major expansion in 2020/21, increasing from nine races this season to 16 in a minimum of seven different countries. Earlier this year the UCI awarded the contract to organise the revised World Cup series to Flanders Classics.
The Belgian company, which runs the Tour of Flanders among a number of other high profile road races, has welcomed the applications, the deadline for which was last Friday.
“We already received 31 applications,” said Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel in a press release. “We will largely fulfil the conditions imposed by the UCI regarding the international spread, because there are a number of beautiful and attractive foreign newcomers who applied. Either way, we are delighted with the interest shown and the positive approach to the project by the potential organisers.”
The company will assess the applications in conjunction with the UCI in the coming weeks, announcing the successful events at the World Championships on the first weekend in February in Switzerland.
Intended to run every weekend between October 11 and January 24, the final event should take place the week before the World Championships, meaning the series will dominate the season. This could damage other series such as the DVV Trofee and SuperPrestige.
“I’m not comfortable at all,” ’cross legend and Team Telenet-Baloise Lions manager Sven Nys is quoted as saying. “If there is a WorldCup competition every Sunday from October to and including the World Championship it is no longer viable for the other classifications.
“You have to show respect for all organisers and all companies who invest in cyclocross today. They must be able to stay there and not have to drop out.”
Despite his races not being included in the expanded World Cup, Golazo Belgium’s Christophe Impens remains confident in the sport’s future.
“In our current range of 17 crosses that we organise with Golazo and SportID, there are no World Cup crosses, except those in Namur,” Het Nieuwsblad quoted him as saying. “We want to keep it that way next season and even make it an even stronger series of top races in our own country.
“We have long-term agreements for this, both with television, and with a number of large and loyal partners. But we also have long-term commitments with most municipalities and cities. Cyclocross is our national winter sport number one and continues to offer many opportunities.
“There is still room for an attractive calendar with events that have a strong tradition or that are innovative.”
The new World Cup format is not the only major shake up instigated by the UCI in recent months; next season will see the new Classics Series for one day races. This has caused consternation among teams, with their representative organisation the AIGCP criticising its introduction, vowing not to take part.