Cycling enthusiasts are turning their attention to Dublin this upcoming weekend for the World Cup Cyclocross event. According to Zeger Schaeken, the logistics for the event, taking place on Saturday, present a complex operation, not least due to the simultaneous scheduling of the X2O Trofee in Kortrijk.
Last year, the scheduling proved to be less problematic as the World Cup in Dublin followed the Exact Cross in Essen, which is not part of a series competition. Consequently, many of the top riders opted to skip Essen, favouring Dublin instead. Beneficiaries of this decision were Aniek van Alphen and Gerben Kuypers, who seized the opportunity to triumph on the Saturday, while Fem van Empel and Wout van Aert claimed victory in Dublin the following day.
The Intricacies of Team Travel
This year, teams are facing a logistical conundrum due to the clash with the X2O Trofee, a classification cross, which complicates the decision to miss it for the World Cup. The Baloise Trek Lions team, led by Eric Braes, will be sending almost no riders to compete in both events, despite the logistical complexities. Braes detailed their plan, involving a truck journey commencing on Thursday via a ferry from France through the United Kingdom to Dublin, carrying equipment and staff, with riders flying in later.
Similarly, the teams managed by the Roodhooft brothers are adopting a comparable strategy, sending ahead two trucks or buses packed with gear. This ensures riders do not need to travel with their bicycles, simplifying the process. Thomas Sneyers, team manager of Crelan-Fristads, mentioned that while they will be using the facilitated sports hall set up by the Dublin organisers, they will also have a large bus on site for their riders to change and warm up in.
The Cost of Logistics
Bart Wellens, team manager and principal at Circus-ReUz-Technord, outlined their approach, which involves none of their riders participating in both Kortrijk and Dublin, save for Thijs Aerts, depending on his selection by the national coach. Instead, most of the team will travel earlier to Dublin by ferry. Wellens admitted that while the logistics for riders are straightforward, the transportation of equipment, a costly affair reaching into the thousands of euros, is more challenging. After the World Cup in Troyes, some staff and campers headed straight to Dublin, bypassing the need for the gear in the intervening days.
Contrastingly, Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal faces a logistical “nightmare,” according to team leader Robby Cobaert, due to several riders participating in both Kortrijk and Dublin. Their precise schedule requires quick transitions post-race in Kortrijk to catch a flight from Zaventem to Dublin. The intricacy increases with the need to inventory every item due to stringent post-Brexit regulations for travel through the United Kingdom.
The Dutch team faces similar logistical hurdles, as revealed by coach Gerben de Knegt. With a hint of humour, he quipped about the team needing help to “swim and row” to Ireland. The KNWU is opting for a smaller selection of eight youth riders, a decision influenced by the costs and paperwork associated with transporting 26 bikes in a large bus via Great Britain. This meticulous documentation process, necessitated by Brexit, adds another layer to the already complex planning required for international competitions.