A couple of months ago my good friend, Dan Seaton, asked me to list the five most classic cyclocross course – Zonhoven was on my list. We started a long email thread, his argument was that it is a new race, it doesn’t even come close to the likes of Overijse. My argument was that the ‘Kuil’, Dutch for pit, is such an iconic place, with the thousands of fans standing on every square feet of the pit, that it needs to be included on his list.
As you might have guessed from the above little story, Zonhoven is one of my favourite races of the season. Many courses are rather benign if the weather is mild and there is no mud, but not Zonhoven. It’s a devilishly hard course, come rain or shine, but it is an equally spectacular course. There are many great moments to remember from Zonhoven, but my most memorable was two years ago, when after the Koppenbergcross controversy, the crowd first went bonkers when Sven Nys rode through the Kuil, then it went really belligerent, when Jan Denuwelaere rode in.
The small contingent of Americans today signalled the proximity of the first European World Cup, next week in Valkenburg. It’s always a good race and we’ll see if Lars van der Haar can maintain his impeccable record in Valkenburg. More to come soon.