I’m shooting from the hip, here. Some food for thought. Grist for the mill. Have your own out-of-the-box idea everyone will probably hate? Let me hear about it in the comments or on Twitter @cxhairs. Also, check out Cyclocross Radio, where we talk about this stuff all of the time. It’s on the Wide Angle Podium Network!
ONE: The U.S. should split off elite U.S. Cyclocross National Championships from amateur/age-graded National Championships. Not a new idea if we stop there. But here’s my twist: keep the amateur date the same in December but move the elite races to January AND hold elite U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Europe.
There is no rule that says U.S. Cyclocross Nationals has to take place in the U.S. and it’s always a burden for the elite racers to travel back and forth from Europe where they will all be racing from December on. This will save money, allow for quality training and racing in Europe, and give the opportunity for the U.S. top pros to grow and compete at the highest level.
Yes, it will mean no more 80 deep fields in the elite national championship races, and it will remove opportunities for UCI racers with no budgets and state-side obligations. But that may be what it takes to compete. There is an argument that these races should be reserved for the best of the best. Tougher eligibility and qualification requirements. Make it similar to Belgian CX Nats in which the fields are split between “pros with contracts” and pros without contracts. The “pros with contracts fields are regularly only 25 or fewer deep.
Finally, the “elites race CXNATS in Europe” approach may actually be easier to pay for. One of the hurdles for splitting elites from amateurs is that the race organizer doesn’t have the entry fee revenue from amateurs needed to hold the elite event. And getting a paying crowd in the U.S. is not a feasible revenue stream.
If you have U.S. CXNATS in Europe, there is an argument paying crowds will show up (1) because it’s another cyclocross race and (2) the spectacle of watching the American elites race their nationals in Belgium would be so bizarre people would have to go. So U.S. CXNATS at Loenhout. Who’s in?
TWO: Peter Sagan should follow through on his threat to quit road racing and go back to MTB. See this article from Canadian Cycling. Having Nino Schurter, Mathieu van der Poel and Peter Sagan racing XCO World Cups would blow up the sport. Give Sagan half a season and he will be competing near the front.
Then they all can race cyclocross in the “off-season.”
THREE: The Netherlands is not televising their Cyclocross National Championships. No Vos, Brand, Worst battle for us to enjoy. No MvdP dusting the field. Nothing. Take that into consideration the next time you feel compelled to complain about the coverage of the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships.