(Exergy also missed payments for the USGP, causing major difficulties for the series until Trek and WD 40 Bike, among other backers, stepped in; Exergy has also cut its men's pro team but continues, for now, to support its women's team and the Exergy Tour women's stage race.)
Faced with this unprecedented challenge, organizers made the swift but difficult decision to make a major schedule change, running all four medal events on Saturday rather than two each Saturday and Sunday.
Aside from great performance under pressure by the organizers, another factor in the event's success was the fans. cyclocross scene, with crazy costumes and cowbells almost a requirement to get in.
Again, some credit here goes to the organizers for coordinating the Masters World Cyclocross Championships in the days leading up to elite worlds, which helped ensure a large and knowledgeable crowd would be on hand for the elite events.
Eva Bandman Park lies on the banks of the Ohio River, and forecasts called for river height to hit a flood stage of more than 19 feet early Sunday morning. If accurate, that would have put low lying sections of the course waist deep in the river.
Speaking of the fans, the crowd provided one of the most interesting moments of the week when UCI President Pat McQuaid was introduced to hand out medals for the elite men and was loudly booed. I suspect he'll get a much meeker reaction at this month's World Track Championships, which will be held in Belarus, widely known as Europe's last totalitarian state.
And public officials and city employees spent an unknown, but likely not small, amount of time and money to build a makeshift levee and literally bail water to hold back the rising river for the crucial Saturday. I don't know how much cash the event actually brought to Louisville, but a sincere hat tip to that city for welcoming the sport so enthusiastically.
I have no idea what McQuaid made of his reception, but American racing fans let him know in no uncertain terms what they think of his "leadership." (Jump to the :45 mark.) And I doubt anywhere else in the world would you see a photo of McQuaid talking with a fan dressed in a full bacon suit (for the record, that is former Bicycling art director Dave Pryor).
The organizers' experience wasn't the only leap. The venue was A) not culturally known as a cyclocross hot spot and B) had never held a truly world class race. Louisville had a growing 'cross community as a previous site of the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross, but Eva Bandman Park was not exactly Portland or New England, much less the legendary dunes of Koksijde. On the infrastructure side alone, organizers and city staff had to bring in trailers, pave a start finish stretch and make other improvements for the event. Then the major presenting sponsor, Exergy, defaulted on its obligations to fund the event, leaving organizers in a financial hole estimated to be in the low to mid six figures.
Nys hopped the course tape to confront a cowardly beer throwing fan. And American 'cross has been the scene of some stupid, ugly displays in the past as well. But both men's and women's champions Sven Nys and Nike Cortez Leather Black/Red
There was scattered kvetching about the schedule change, but most took it in stride and no one seemed to think the move had any material effect on the outcome. And Sunday morning photos from the park underlined that organizers had absolutely made the right call.
This scenario was not helped when no American broadcaster optioned the television rights, meaning that the best option for viewing was, again, live streaming a Sporza feed. USA Cycling stepped in to help backstop the event.
national team for six years but at that point the pair had still never promoted anything larger than a national level race. There are no logistics like those of the Belgian national Nike Cortez Shoe Laces
Marianne Vos spoke of how loud and supportive the crowds were.
World Cyclocross Championships Were a Success
team, which I estimate must have chartered a C 130 to get all their stuff here.
The aspect I was most impressed by was the overall positive feeling. Belgian 'cross is known for a hooligan like strain that came to the fore not long ago when Sven Nike Cortez Leather White / Red / Blue
Finally, as if not enough challenges had been thrown at Hanscom, Fina, and USAC events director Micah Rice, a week of freakish weather (including a tornado warning early in the week and unusual precipitation upstream that fell as rain instead of the more normal snow for this time of year) caused a near disaster.
The course, which some had questioned on merits of length and difficulty, produced worthy winners in every field (the atrociously perfect conditions, which caused some riders to switch bikes every half lap, helped in that regard).
I'll be honest: I Navy Blue Nike Cortez was unsure, in the days and weeks leading up to the race, how this would all go. Would USA Cycling help or hurt the organization by stepping in? Would fans show up? Would the weather forced change be a fiasco?
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