[Race Thread] 2021 Urbancross, Kortrijk (BEL)

2021.11.27 06:05 epi_counts [Race Thread] 2021 Urbancross, Kortrijk (BEL)

Date Location Series Women's start Men's start
27-Nov Kortrijk, Belgium X2O Trofee (race 2 of 8) 13:45 (CET) 15:00 (CET)
Main info Official website, startlists, course
Standings X2O trofee men, and women after race 1 of 8
Previews Wielerflits, in de leiderstrui (Dutch)
Live updates Live ticker men and women's race
TV VRT/Sporza (Belgium), Eurosport TV (NL/France), GCN
Course After a bunch of crosses with a lot of history, this weekend we're heading for fields anew. The Urbancross in Kortrijk was first raced in 2019 - the course builders found the course by browsing Google Earth. The course of the Caps Urban Cross (preview courtesy of Curtis White from last year - course is exactly the same this year) is situated right in the centre of Kortrijk and loops in and around the Albertpark (named after a former King, not Niels Albert unfortunately). The course includes two brides over the river Leie: the narrow pedestrian & cyclists only Collegebrug, and the wider Groeningebrug. Apart from the bridges, the riders will also have to face the Buda Beach, a short sandy section along the river. At just over 3km, the circuit it a bit longer than the average cross race, which was a deliberate decision as it's a fast course. The finish line is on the middle of the Groeningebrug, so that can make for a fast uphill sprint finish.
Forecast: 3°C/37°F and 90% chance of rain
Women's race We still have to wait for another week for the men's road riders to be rested enough to return to cross, but no such waits on the women's side: we'll see some WT riders re-appear today with Christine Majerus, and surprisingly Lorena Wiebes. Lucinda Brand will be the hot favourite for today. She's on a roll and has won all previous editions of this race. That's only two of them, but it sounds pretty impressive. However, the Trofee GC, which runs on timing, is one she already seems completely out of. She lost over 2 minutes on Clara Honsinger in the Koppenberg cross, and she's not making that up today. Honsinger might be confident she can keep the World Champion at bay, she will be more worried about Betsema who's 7 seconds away from the lead (and with bonus seconds on lap 1, that could disappear quick). Honsinger's take on today's race, in her second season racing in Belgium (courtesy of Sporza):
It won't be easy to keep hold of that first place. I do better on hard circuits and circuits with a lot of elevation, like in Herentals in a few weeks. I'm really looking forward to challenge myself on the technical course in Kortrijk, I see it as an opportunity to learn and improve. I'm feeling much more comfortable this season. Last year I all the things on the side cost me a lot of energy: how do I get to the race, where do I sign on, am I following the right procedure? Now I can focus better on the race itself. And I was a little bit intimidated by the competition. Every race I saw how strong they were. This season I feel more respected, I feel more involved. I'm more relaxed. I still can't believe I've won on the Koppenberg. It was my first win in Belgium and it was such an iconic cross for an amazing audience. That means more to me than any win in the States. I just don't know yet how I'll get the trophy home. That will be a challenge. Maybe I should mail the cobble? That won't be cheap, but that trophy is priceless for me. I want to hold on to it forever.
Predictions: Brand, Betsema, Worst
Men's race The field is a bit monotonous in the men's race. Only two riders, Florian Hamm and Gauthier Heymes, are not native Dutch speakers. The big Belgian/Dutch names are still here today, but the international riders seem to be saving their legs for the Besançon World Cup tomorrow (which is a 7 hour drive from Kortrijk). Last year's winner, Eli Iserbyt, will be looking to string another victory to his already impressive list for the season. And to expand on his lead in this classification as well. Though he'll face competition from Toon Aerts who has made the Trofee classification one of the main goals of his season - at 29 seconds, he's hot on Iserbyt's heels (courtesy of Sporza):
I've been close a few times in the past, but couldn't fully go for my own chances due to bad luck. That one time I broke three ribs, the other time I had an issue with my shoulder. The World Cup and the Superprestige I've won before, it would be nice to add this classification to my palmares. After this race, there will be a few hard cross circuit with Loenhout, Baal and Herentals which I'm very suited for. If we get a lot of mud, I hope I'll be able to play to my strengths over the Christmas period. The course in Kortrijk is less suited to me. Of course I hope to compete for the victory. If that doesn't happen, I don't expect the competition to win minutes on me. The results from the last few months don't match the feeling I've got. With my form this year, I've not had the results to match. On the other hand, Eli Iserbyt has proven he's mastered everything. Tactically he's almost always making the right decisions. His level isn't much higher than ours, but we need just a bit more luck to win. Of course it's more fun to win yourself, but he's won fair and square.
Predictions: Iserbyt, Van der Haar, Aerts
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