Catharine Pendrel
Catharine Pendrel rides at the 2013 edition of Jingle Cross. Image: Dean Campbell

A big week of cyclocross racing will finish this weekend in the U.S. with three UCI events, including the second World Cup event of the year. Iowa City has hosted many world class UCI races during the past few years with its Jingle Cross event; however, this year they are sandwiching a World Cup between a Friday C2 event and a Sunday C1 event. The abundance of points, prize money and high-level racing means spectators and racers have a big weekend ahead. The event has traditionally been in early December, hence the Christmas themed name, and features the infamous Mount Krumpit .

Compared with the first World Cup only a few days ago in Las Vegas, the Iowa course brings much more elevation change, running, technical forest sections and, traditionally, muddy conditions. The muddy sections may be subdued this year with the earlier race date, but rain on Friday may still create mud-pit excitement for spectators and make it difficult tire for riders to choose their tires .

Based off of Vegas results, the Luna Team, which changed its name to Clif Bar Pro Team on Wednesday, is one to watch. Given Catherine Pendrel’s very strong start and high placing on Wednesday, she should be considered a good bet on the hilly Iowa course. The eventual lead group in Vegas of Katrina Nash, Sophie de Boer and Katie Compton are also all-well suited to this course with Nash also being the winner of both UCI races here in December 2015. With Iowa’s more technical course than that at CrossVegas, look for the top World Cup riders Sanne Cant and Ellen Van Loy in the lead group. Eva Lechner should not be ruled out in any bike race and her strong start in Vegas was a good sign that her form is there. North Americans Amanda Miller, Rebecca Fahringer, Ellen Noble, Courtenay McFadden, and Mical Dyck were all top 15 at Vegas and could all find themselves on the podium with the small time gaps.

In the men’s field, the world champion won again in Vegas despite an early crash on the barriers, which broke his toe. With two to three race days in all the riders’ legs, Van Aerts’ injury and a more technical course, it is likely we will see a different winner on Saturday. Eight of the top 10 in Vegas were Belgian so it is probable that Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweek, Toon Aerts, Rob Peeters or Quinten Hermans will all be in the hunt for a World Cup win. North Americans Michael van den Ham and Jeremy Powers were the highest ranking North American riders with van den Ham edging out Powers for 17th. Jeremy Martin also had a strong performance riding near the top 10 early in the race before falling to the 23rd just behind Geoff Kabush by the end of the race. Both Kabush and Martin could see themselves higher in the Iowa results with the technical and hilly course. Last year’s Iowa race was won by Powers over Logan Owen and Stephen Hyde.

Check out the Canadian Cycling Magazine‘s Instagram and Twitter feeds for updates and results during the women’s race (3 p.m. CDT) and men’s race (5 p.m. CDT). Also see the live stream on the UCI Youtube channel.

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