If you're a cycling enthusiast, the chances are that you're also an avid fan of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup. While this tournament may lack the notoriety of the Tour de France, it is extremely competitive and enables fans from across the globe to see elite performers in action.
This is particularly good news for Iowa residents and visitors, with the tournament set to return to Iowa City for the third consecutive year toward the end of 2018. The news was unveiled by the Switzerland-based Union Cycliste Internationale on February 2nd.
What does it mean for the state of Iowa?
According to the announcement, Iowa City's Johnson County Fairgrounds will host the second stage of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup between September 28th and September 30th. This stage of the event will also be paired with the region's iconic Jingle Cross event, which is a local cycling festival that will celebrate its 15th year in 2018.
As part of this stage of the event, cyclists will be required to climb the infamous hill at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, which is commonly referred to as “Mt. Krumpit” due to its incline and has derailed the plans of many elite participants in the past. The nature of the course means that cyclists will also need to climb this imposing hill three times, which in part explains why this stage of the championship is considered to be one of the more difficult.
Interestingly, the 2017/18 World Cup has only just concluded, after Iowa City earned the prestigious honor of hosting the opening stage of the championship on September 17th last year. The famous course certainly launched the event in style, as the Netherlands's Mathieu van der Poel romped to victory in the elite men's' pool and laid the foundations for a dominant, overall win.
In fact, the Dutchman went on to win seven of the nine stages hosted across the globe, claiming the World Cup by an impressive margin of 110 points from his nearest rival. The previous years' champion Wout Van Aert also one the Iowa City stage of the World Cup before going on to claim the ultimate prize, so the competitors will be looking to prevail at the Johnson County Fairgrounds and ensure that history repeats itself.
Are you Planning to Attend the Cyclo-Cross World Cup?
While tickets will not go on sale until late spring, it's important that you start to prepare now if you plan to attend this iconic event. This is particularly true if you also plan to attend the opening stage of the championship in Waterloo, Wisconsin, before navigating the 248-mile trip to reach Iowa City in time.
Even if you're not an avid cycling fan, the Iowa stage of the event also offers a diverse and tremendous range of entertainment options to visitors. There will be plenty of bands performing live at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Numerous vendors will be present and several activities will be available to guests. The venue has also pledged that all proceeds from the event will go straight to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which is great news for those who like to give back to the community.
If you are visiting the states from abroad, it's also important to ensure that you can use your smartphone easily and affordably while you're visiting Iowa.
The Last Word
There's no doubt that hosting a stage of the prestigious, Cyclo-Cross World Cup is a jewel in the crown of Iowa's calendar. The state is clearly doing a fine job as it prepares to welcome the world's best cyclists for the third consecutive year.
Image: Road Cycling UK