Europeans offer mixed reviews for US cyclo-cross World Cups

Not every rider was excited and enthusiastic about the recent World Cup cyclo-cross races last month in the US. Many racers took to Twitter to thank Trek for innovations like equal prize lists and free live streams, but members of the Beobank-Corendon team were not as free with their praise for the World Cup opener in Iowa City on September 17 and round two in Waterloo, Wisconsin, on September 24.

“I think it is good. Now we can pay for the trip to here,” World Champion Sanne Cant said about equal pay after she won the World Cup race in Waterloo. “But yeah, it is a really expensive trip, so this is a good issue.”

Despite larger team budgets, many European riders still need to pay for a portion, or all, of their travel costs, a financial burden that North American riders in frequently face when they travel to Europe.

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Cant wasn’t alone in her concern about racing in North America. Her teammate Mathieu van der Poel had been disappointed with the crowds in Iowa City, and although he saw improvement in Waterloo, Van der Poel echoed Cant’s reluctance about racing in the US.

“If you want to win the World Cup you have to be here, it is as simple as that,” Van der Poel said at the press conference after winning in Waterloo. “I’m a fan of internationalization, but I think that apart from getting it back here, which is a good thing, we should give a little bit of publicity to the European ones like Switzerland. But I can’t say this isn’t a good thing for cyclo-cross.”

Despite Cant’s and Van der Poel’s reservations, the Waterloo World Cup was a landmark event. It was the first time a race offered equal prize money for both the men’s and women’s fields at a cyclocross World Cup race. Both offered a $41,000 prize list, and each paid 40 places deep, a departure from the UCI regulations stipulating that a women’s World Cup race pay only 25 places deep for a total of $7,786.

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