The raucous Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) are taking place in wintery Durango, Colorado, this weekend, where participants will be vying for a coveted tattoo instead of rainbow bands.
After two years of Covid postponements, the very unsanctioned World Championship is being held for a 14th time with more than 300 participants seeking single speed glory.
Competition will come from amateurs and world-class pros alike with the likes of Stephan Davoust, LifetIme Grand Prix winner Keegan Swenson, Specialized off-road pro Russel Finsterwald, elite cyclocrosser Sunny Gilbert, retired domestic pro roadie Beth Ann Orten and gravel pro Sarah Sturm converging on Durango.
But one name in particular stood out from the list of registrants: the mysterious "Eagle of Durango."
Over the years, several cycling stars have shown interest in the rambunctious end-of-year-party that is the SSCXWC. In 2016, the hype reached international heights when the then newly retired Belgian cyclocross legend Sven Nys showed up unannounced to join in on the fun and compete sans gears.
At the time, Nys had been registered under his American pseudonym, Stan Nice, and the race organizers along with Nys' sponsor, Trek, had successfully managed to keep the attendance of the two-time cyclocross world champion under wraps until the man himself showed up at the opening party to pick up his race numbers.
With the race registration party for this year's event just hours away, race organizer Dylan Stucki let it slip to Cycling Weekly who the "Eagle of Durango", racing with bib number 3, might be.
Can you guess who it is? We'll give you some clues:
- He' s a Durango-native
- He's known for being one of the best climbers in the peloton
- He won the hilly Stage 15 of the 2021 Tour de France
- When the roads turn up, the 28-year-old Is a big help for his Jumbo-Visma captains Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard.
It's gotta be Sepp Kuss!
The talented American may be known for being one of the best climbers in the road peloton, but he's no stranger to the dirt either. He's a three- time collegiate mountain bike national champion and thus, a very capable off-road rider.
It will be interesting to see how he'll manage, not necessarily the cyclocross racing, but rather the unique features and shenanigans that await him.
The winner should be able to withstand a certain race-to-party ratio, Stucki says, so we'll have to wait and see if his tolerance matches his climbing prowess.
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