The Saturday parts of the European Cyclo-cross Championships were moved to Sunday due to the threat of storms on Saturday. Something that Dutch national coach Gerben de Knegt fully understands, but does pose logistical problems. All six matches will now take place on Sunday.
For the Dutch national coach, there is no doubt that a good decision was made by the European association on Friday afternoon. “That has also been imposed on them by the authorities and of course we do not want to run the risk of a branch or tree falling on someone. Safety comes first,” says De Knegt.
But the former professional had to switch gears with his team. ”This mainly presents us with a logistical problem. Fortunately, the junior women and promises already had an overnight stay until Sunday. I now only had to book extra for the elite women. And extra meals because many riders now stay longer. But it all worked out.”
Some riders ventured outside in the morning hours, they rode on the road. But even on the course there was little going on at the time, apart from an occasional shower and some blown over fences and garbage bins. “But many riders also wanted to ride within the legs and then there is more interest in those rollers than we had available, it takes a bit more trial and error.”
De Knegt is also expected to be busy around the course on Sunday. ”Normally every rider receives a parking ticket and we as an association also receive some. But we only got fifteen, when we wanted 35. The organization states that there is not enough space, while the regulations say otherwise. But now even more drivers will come to the course on Sunday. And for us it also means that we have to change the planning to bring riders to the course because the races are so close together. We will figure it out, but it is not ideal.”
De Knegt did not receive any cancellations from the riders who started a day later. “No, everyone stayed.” Fem van Empel now starts on Sunday as the big favorite among the elite women. The junior women and promises will also ride a day later than expected.