I love the new Valkenburg course. I hate the new Valkenburg course. Let me explain.
It’s probably been out in the public domain, that the 2018 Cyclocross World Championships will be held in Valkenburg, but I definitely missed this news. Anyway, it became known to me this and we also learned that they had to rejig the course, so it would work as Worlds course. Here is my take on it, as a Worlds course.
The good stuff
– the start and the end of the lap goes trough a forest, which is stunning and the course snakes through it in beautiful lines.
– the finish and the start are now located a lot closer to the press centre, so our lives became a lot easier
The bad stuff
– the aforementioned sections in the woods are not accessible for the general public. I presume the reason for that was to protect the plants in that specific area, which is all good and well, but that section of the course felt positively Qatar-esque.
– the aforementioned sections also prevent the general public to access the start-finish area easily. To get there, depending where you are on the course, it’s at least a 5-10 minute walk. Maybe it will be different in two years’ time, but today the finish area felt empty, even compared to the rest of the course.
– the teams and riders were located another ten minute walk away, further up the road. I have to dig really deep in my memories to think of another race, where the riders were this far away from the venue itself. If the setup stays like this, doing warm-up, cool-down and general pre-race shots will be quite tricky and I can’t see many fans milling around either.
I love the new course, I think from a visual point of view it is terrific and I love the area, too. It just feels like that there were/are too many constraints when the requirements of the Worlds were taken into account. The big weekend is still almost eighteen months away, so I am sure the some, if not all of these concerns can and will be ironed out.
I would love to hear what you thought of the modified course?