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AFP / Yuzuru Sunada
The final round of the 2013-2014 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup will be held on Sunday in Nommay. It’s the tenth time that this town in the east of France hosts a round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. The course at the Brognard site is very challenging and this year will decide on the season’s overall winners in the Elite Men and Junior Men categories. Katherine Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) and Mathieu van der Poel (the Netherlands) already secured their overall win in the penultimate World Cup round in Rome.
For many riders the race in Nommay will serve as a final test ahead of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide one week later. One of them is French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ), a man from the region. Mourey has already won three times in Nommay but never when the race featured as a World Cup stopover. Although not in the running for the overall World Cup win, he has never placed out of the top-4 in the four races he has finished, so logically starts as one of the race favorites in Nommay.
Lars van der Haar (Rabo Development Team) is nearly certain of the overall victory in the World Cup. The young Dutch champion leads the standings over Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) by 54 points. Only a complete off-day could ruin the day for Van der Haar, putting him outside the top-15 while Albert wins the race. It doesn’t seem likely this will happens as Van der Haar always managed a top-10 placing throughout the World Cup season, displaying his flexibility on all types of courses. The battle for second place will be more interesting as Albert only holds a gap of nine points over teammate and German champion Philipp Walsleben. Then again, Albert has fond memories of Nommay, where he won the last time that the World Cup stopped there, in 2009.
World Champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) will not race in Nommay, having opted to train in Spain to get ready for the World Championships. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) is back in action after missing the World Cup round in Rome due to illness and tumbling from third to fifth place overall.
In the women’s race, Katie Compton is the top favorite in the Women’s category after racking up her fifth World Cup win of the season and the overall win in Rome three weeks ago. As in previous races Compton will most likely clash with World Champion Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team). The Dutch cycling ace didn’t have her best cyclo-cross campaign so far but it can be expected that her form is on the up after taking a mid-season break and skipping two World Cup rounds. Compton holds a good record in Nommay, winning the last two last editions of the World Cup race in 2008 and 2009.