As soon I as found out about Milton Keynes hosting a round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup I immediately got our tickets and started planning our trip. This was the first time in history that a UCI Cyclocross World Cup race was to be held outside of mainland Europe and with most of the big names attending, especially Sven Nys, it was not a race to be missed. A one hour plus delay getting across London put us on the back foot and we unfortunately missed the Junior Men. However we had plenty of time to wonder around the expo and rider pit area before the elite training and racing started. It was great to see these elite athletes up close and mixing with all the fans. There was an estimated 8000 spectators at the event.
Just before the official training started we headed to the course and parked ourselves at one of the most treacherous parts, a slippery off-camber descent into a very muddy left hander. We had picked a good spot as it was very entertaining watching the pro’s negotiate their way down the hill and around the corner. We stayed there for the start of the Womens race and we weren’t disappointed as there was a big pile up when one of the lead ladies went down which in-turn brought most of the pack down. This really helped the four lead riders get away from the pack. Ultimately it turned into a two horse race between Katie Compton and Sanne Cant with Cant taking the win in a sprint finish. The Mens race was very exciting as well with a closely fought battle between Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout in the closing lap with Pauwels out-sprinting his teammate Vantornout for the win. Unfortunately Sven Nys had a mechanical on the first lap and that put him third last at the end of the first lap. Chasing for the remainder of the race Nys finished eighth. Overall we had a great day and would highly recommend attending one of these races. Here are a few of my favorites pics and you can see the rest on my flickr page here.
The specially laid asphalt start/finish straight.
Jeremy Powers practices the muddy left hander. Mud glorious mud and SuperFan Gabi.
The British fans out in force. Ian Field fans flying the Union Jack.
Elite Men practice in the mud.
Accredited photogs! Get all the good spots and always in the way.
The Womens race was very exciting, especially the start.
A lot of running where it should have been riding.
Katie Compton trying really hard to drop Sanne Cant on the tricky parts of the course.
At the bottom of the course was a big muddy puddle. I’m sure they enjoyed this part the most!
The pits were the busiest place on the course during the race. Most of the mechanics spent their time water blasting the mud off the swapped out bikes so they were ready for the next change.
Klaas Vantornout was never far from the front of the race.
Marcel Meisen eventually finished 26th.
Riders used anything they could help with traction in the mud.
The 38 year old Belgium Champ Sven Nys, chased hard after his first lap mechanical.
Eventual winner Kevin Pauwels leads in the closing laps.