5-6 races, 14 days, 16 riders, 32 bikes, 1 director, 1 assistant director, 2 full-time mechanics, 6 mechanics’ helpers, 2 soigneurs, 1 chef, 3 vans, 3 cars. Cyclocross racing at its ‘euro grittiest best!
Here’s a tentative look at what’s in store for 2013-2014:
Riders should depart from the U.S. on Wednesday, 18 December or Thursday, 19 December in time to adjust to Euro Time. The Camp then starts with the Namur World Cup on Sunday, 22 December (we can start 6 juniors and 6 U23s, so additional juniors could possibly do a small race in Waremme). After this tough opener, the real meat of the ”kerstperiode” schedule begins. Thursday, 26 December is the Zolder World Cup on the F1 racetrack. Zolder was the site of 2002 Worlds, which saw the second largest spectator crowd ever to attend a cyclocross race (approx 60,000). The largest was this past season’s worlds in Koksijde with official attendance at 68,500. Again, a small group of juniors will also race in Beernem on the same day. Then, Friday, 27 December, sees arguably the most popular cyclocross race in the world, Loenhout. As part of the bPost series, the Loenhout organizers take a fairly mundane circuit and spice it up by paying big money to all the top names, men and women, Belgian and foreign. The Camp reaches its crescendo with the late afternoon-evening Super Prestige in Diegem (suburban Brussels) on Sunday, 29 December and then the camp finishes off with the New Year’s Day bPost Series race in Baal, the hometown of Sven Nys and Niels Albert.
Riders selected for the Rome World Cup will then fly from Belgium to Italy on Friday, 3 January and then book their return flights from Rome to the U.S. on Monday, 6 January. This segment will be USAC and not officially part of EuroCrossCamp. Camp riders not racing in Rome should depart on Thursday, 2 January from Brussels, to get back to the U.S. for school/work and/or fly directly to US Nationals.
The planning of the Camp’s race program involves many considerations: for world cups, we can start 6 juniors and 6 U23 riders, so not all camp riders are selected for world cups; junior riders are only allowed to race 3x per week in Belgium; elite riders often already have contracts for certain races; staff availability around New Year’s Day can be an issue; some organizers are willing to pay more start money for the mostly US National Team to be at their race. Careful planning and attention are given to which races fit the rider’s fitness, strengths and morale.