|Click to enlarge|
Krawatencross is one of the most popular among spectators as the majority of the 2.8km route can be seen clearly, with several points along the length offering a good view of two or more sections. The unusual parcours consists of a little bit of everything, with sections on sand, grass, tarmac, woodland and loose pebbles along a roughly G-shaped track around a lake just to the north-west of the E34 motorway (51°17'3.17"N 4°50'39.50"E). Riders need to be able to perform well on the several very different types of terrain to be in with any real chance of a podium place; and just for good measure it looks as though they're going to have to contend with snow as well this year. In other words, it's a race that favours the very best of the all-rounders. Marianne Vos, anyone?
While Vos, the 24-year-old Dutch rider about whom the new Rabobank Women's team was constructed seems unstoppable at the moment, Sanne Cant won here last year and will doubtless be eager to bring an end to Vos' run of sixteen consecutive wins. Daphny Van Den Brand is currently leading the Trofee series and, as she plans to retire at the end of this season, will also be hoping to add glory to be World Cup victory. Britain's Helen Wyman has been working to improve her starts, leading the sprint away from the line at Hoogerheide and Koksijde in the last few weeks - and with this race starting off with a 230m section along a straight road, she'll also be a challenge to Vos.
|Elite Men at Krawatencross 2011|
(image credit: Ronnes CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
A wide loop curves to the left through the trees, then emerges for 50m stretch across more sand before heading once more into the woods and following a curved track leading to a bridge. Having crossed it, the race arrives at a road and passes straight over. A sharp left into a second tight loop on sand - another tough test of handling skills. Afterwards, a 220m sand section leads past the pits and via a right/left combination and into a grass section of similar length. This is followed by 280m in woodland and up the steepest climb of the race - immediately after turning right, the riders begin an 8m ascent in around 55m; with a maximum gradient of 9.4%. The rest of the section takes the riders to the pebbles (51°17'0.06"N 4°50'45.98"E) - a difficult surface which, at 270m, will be one of the most challenging parts of the parcours.
A right turn leads back onto the sand and through a tight Z-bend around the pits, then back over the same road as earlier and across a second bridge. A long woodland section, technical in part with some tight loops, then leads for 549m back to the start line and back along the first track. The finish line will be located just before the first right turn onto grass.
|Altimetry (click for enlargement)|
Streams: Sports-Livez will be providing a live stream of the Elite Men's race - unfortunately, after being spoiled with the Cup and Championship, those of us who like to follow the Women will have to make do with Twitter updates again.
Starters (Alphabetical and very subject to change - details are sketchy)
Van den Brandt, Daphny
De Bie-Leijten, Nicolle
De Boer, Sophie
Hormes Ravenstijn, Reza
La Haye, Caitlyn
Van Nieuwpoort. Tessa
Van de Steene, Kim
Van Paassen, Sanne
Van Rijen, Linda