LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (VN) — The race may be called the Derby City Cup, but lying just underneath the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross veneer is the course for the 2013 UCI World Elite Cyclocross Championships.
Eva Bandman Park has hosted previous UCI ’crosses, but this weekend will be the first time that the circuit designed for the February 2-3 world championships will be tested under race conditions.
“The goal when we designed the Louisville 2013 course was to make a competitive course that is fair for everyone,” said Bruce Fina, executive director of Louisville 2013.
Last year’s Derby City Cup didn’t use the same course, but included many of the same features, Fina said.
“I talked to Katie Compton, Ryan Trebon, Jeremy Powers, and everybody said the features were good, and that it would be a good race,” he said. “Simply, the best racer is going to win.”
Organizers learned much from the 2012 UCI masters worlds, which were held at the same venue under wildly varying weather conditions, from sunshine and warmth to snow and cold and everything in between, plus mud.
“We learned that we have to be prepared for the worst weather,” said Fina. “The Metro Parks department is prepared to address this situation no matter what kind of weather we’re faced with.”
Woodchips, gravel and equipment are available at the park, and the pit has three above-ground, frost-proof taps, on a raised bed with drainage, connected to a permanent underground waterline.
The project to make a premier cyclocross venue of a once-underused park began in 2009 and was completed in 2011 in time for the USGP Derby City Cup.
Every year features have been added to the native sand dunes and grasses, from a permanent flyover dubbed “The Green Monster” to run-ups built of railroad ties and limestone steps.
“It was an exciting project,” said Marty Storch, assistant director of Metro Parks, who says the park remains a work in progress.
“It’s something that you can tweak,” he said.
Racing starts at 8 a.m. EST on Saturday and Sunday, with elite women at 2:15 p.m. and elite men at 3:30 p.m. VeloNews.com will be streaming the elite races live both days. For more, see www.usgpcyclocross.com.