UCI World Cyclocross Championships 2010 - Simon Burney's Take

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UCI World Cyclocross Championships 2010 - Simon Burney's Take
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When you've attended exactly half of the sixty Cyclocross World Championships, and more World Cups, GVAs and Superprestiege than you can remember, then your opinion on what might happen this weekend suddenly becomes rather valid.

Simon Burney is that man and gives us his insight into a race that will feature the biggest guns of ‘cross racing firing off somewhere around a cold field in eastern Europe. First off I asked about the course and fabled conditions that are predicted for the week...

"The Tabor course is a regular one on the World Cup circuit, but with the conditions recently organisers have been shovelling snow from the course. Realistically it'll make no difference to the conditions underground though; the surface will be frozen solid and the racing will be ultra fast because of that. Such conditions really suit the Czech and Belgian specialists - when it is this cold it takes a certain acclimatisation which they are already used to - not only on the body but also on the technical skill. Riding icey ruts at takes confidence and practice - something which both Czech and Belgian riders have in abundance.

"It also helps that they had the National Championships here, along with training camps in the weeks leading up to the Worlds. My best advice for all the British riders would be on vigilance in the extreme cold. Always pay attention to what you are wearing, because once you get cold in those conditions you can't warm up again.

"As for the British Team selection I think everyone who should be going, is going. In particular though it's great to have four women in the team, it has made Helen and Gabriella sit up a bit having Annie and Nikki come in. Both are good riders - Annie technically and Nikki has good speed, so both should race well. A top ten would be an exceptional result, with a finish in the teens most realistic. Helen often doesn't race well in such extreme conditions however, especially should it turn icy.

"As for the men and Juniors, it's slightly different. Their gridding won't help on a track that will be near-impossible to make up positions, and when you are racing against the best, riders who are doing this for a living twice a weekend, then it's always going to be a hard ask.

"What I would say is that you'll see a difference in confidence when these riders come back to race the British Championships. They will be the best in the race at Sutton Park, and if any of them manage a top ride at the Worlds, the Nationals could turn into a demonstration event between those who have raced in Europe and those who haven't.

"Looking at the Worlds though, my prediction for the Senior races would see a Czech win in both events. Katerina Nash surprised herself with the World Cup win in Roubaix and only missed out on the podium last week in Hoogerheide through an unfortunate crash. Stybar should get that extra half percent in the men's race, and that is all it will take. You can throw a net over Stybar, Nys and Albert - any one could win it.

"The difference there might come down to allegiances. The Belgian's won't race for each other, but they won't race to a countryman's detriment. The Czech's however are likely to ride against each other and in a group of 8-12, which could easily head the race in the early stages, anything could happen. I'd put money on Bina getting a surprise win from the favourites; he has good form and will be waiting for that kind of opportunity."

So, that's Burney's take on the weekend - but what about yours? Hit us in the comments box below with predictions, and find out what really happens with live coverage from British Cycling Online throughout the weekend.

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