Cyclocrosswrold.com’s Tim Johnson, a three-time elite US National Cross Champ, visits SRAM HQ and takes some time to discuss the Louisville World Championship course.The Elite World Cyclocross Championship course in Louisville, KY, has been designed with all the elements of a “classic” cross course. The 2.7 km course is on the shorter side but with a good balance of the standard challenges, including sand, barriers, a hillside off-camber section, a limestone staircase, and the feared “green monster” flyover.
According to Event Director Joan Hanscom, “we’ve designed it with something of everything so it would not favor one type of racer over another — strongest on the day should win.”
With three years of development invested and many tweaks and refinements, Johnson says the Louisville course will favor power riders, will offer no advantage to U.S. riders, and says that weather will be the biggest factor on the day.
Johnson prefaced our conversation about the World’s course by defining the typical differences between US and European cross courses. “The traditional European courses are technically far more difficult, lots of off-camber turns and longer, steeper descents. They are distilled down to the most challenging elements. They’re much harder.”
“In the US our courses are fairly forgiving, they have less high-speed technical, more flat corners, and much easier for pack racing.” TJ also mentioned that most of the signature World Cup courses have been developed over decades, they do not have to consider the amateur element, they are preserved for the elites.”
Johnson says the Louisville course is a good balance, and he’s predicting a bit of pack riding, until it starts to thin out in the final third of the race. “The more powerful riders will take over late in the race, Louisville favors a guy like my teammate, Ryan Trebon.”
“I really think the Louisville race could change significantly with weather, more than most courses. Last year at the Masters’ Nationals it changed hour to hour. The sand pit could be come an extended running pit, some of the off-camber sections might only be rideable for the leaders. The back section is open, flat and fast, and could break up the field later in the race.”
Top three Louisville WC Course challenges according to Johnson:
> Sand – 100+ feet of sand in the mid-point of the course – rain could make this interesting
> Long cement run-up towards finish – it’s no faster to ride it, but could jam up riders.
> The back section – it’s open, flat and fast – made for power riders, this is where it will open up, wind also going to be a major factor
Johnson concluded by saying, “The race is going to be exciting, and we hope the Americans will show up in droves to support us and watch what will be a fantastic race on a fantastic course. It’s rare that a World Championship takes place here in the U.S., it’s once in a lifetime to see something like that.”
SRAM ( and TJ) invite everyone who’s a fan of cycling to join us and our amateur and professional athletes for the fantastic extended weekend in Louisville for the UCI Masters and Elite World Championships. Potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity.
For more information on the race click here: