I think it is hard deny that we are witnessing something unique happening in cyclocross at the moment. The sport is growing very dynamically around the world, more and more people seem to interested in and passionate about cross. Not only that, but the iron grip of the Belgians seem to be loosening, too. I’m saying that bearing in mind that come the Worlds at Hoogerheide and I might have to eat my words.
Last year, after the last World Cup race at Hoogerheide, the journalist were working hard to find a precedent for a podium that contained no Belgians. They had to go back all they way to 2001, when Richard Groenendaal ahead of Daniele Pontoni and Petr Dlask.
But that was last year. We only had to wait 11 months for another ‘sans-Belgians’ podium, this time the situation is even worse, the best Belgian, Rob Peeters was only 5th. To find a precedent for this, one has to go even further back. I’m not saying that the Belgian rule is over, far from it, it’s enough to take a quick look at the overall standings of the Superprestige and Bpost Bank Trofee standings, but this year seems to be definitely different from the previous years and I think races like today, when there was a new leader of the race in almost every lap, show the best side of the sport.
It is worth also noting, that Katie Compton has beaten Marianne Vos twice in a row, fair and square. While Vos has always been very humble and never claimed to have super powers and to be unbeatable, she has practically been just that. While two defeats are definitely not enough to draw a trend line, it might signal that strong opponents can best Vos.
I would be interested in knowing what you, the readers think, whether this really is the beginning a new era, or it’s just a blip on the radar and this season is a statistical aberration? Please let me know below in the comments.