Michael van den Ham did an easy lap of the 2019 Canadian cyclocross championship course late Friday afternoon. The defending national champion had already done his hard efforts. At a slower pace, he could point out the features of the course in detail. He recalled how the course at Nicholls Oval Park in Peterborough, Ont., behaved in 2018, which was quite slick back then because of snowfall. During the 2019 pre-ride, the course was fairly dry. Van den Ham had his lines pretty dialed.
He predicted that the final turn before the straightaway to the finish would be decisive in the race. The rider who goes in and out of that final corner first, will probably hold the lead to the line.
“I think people might look at the course and think it’s flat and that it will make for a ‘road race,'” he said after his lap. “After doing a hard lap, I beg to differ. It’s an all-out brawl. It actually feels quite European with hard technical sections when you are already pedalling hard. I think when people start to blow up, they’ll blow up pretty quick and gaps will end up forming on this one.”