Former world champion Teunissen: 'I really hope Marianne will win'

Former world champion Teunissen: 'I really hope Marianne will win'

Cyclocross fans will have a great time this weekend during the World Championships in Fayetteville, United States. It's been nine years since the battle for the rainbow jersey was last decided in the US. Back then, there were two Team Jumbo-Visma riders on the top of the podium: World champions Marianne Vos (women) and Mike Teunissen (men U23).

"I remember the weather was terrible during the 2013 World Championships in Louisville", Teunissen says. "The Ohio River was about to burst its banks, so the race for the pros was moved up a day. All races were held on Saturday and the course was already muddy. You rode in the water if you deviated from the course at certain points. That made it a bit special, also because the World Cup is generally held in Europe."

"The American spectators are real cross country enthusiasts", adds coach Jan Boven. "Many of them follow the races in Europe and know a lot about the sport. They also want to learn about how we race in Europe and what materials we use. I like it that spectators are allowed to stand alongside the course to support, which also gives a lot more atmosphere."

In October, a World Cup race was already held on the course in Fayetteville. It was a rough ride and a very tough cross. Currently, the course is dry and according to the weather forecasts, it will remain dry this weekend. That's why a fast race is expected.

"After October, they changed the course slightly, with some slow corners and also two extra, short and steep climbs", Boven continues. "It's a course that suits Marianne well. I also want to express my appreciation for this course. It's great. It looks somewhat like the Sven Nys Cycling Center in Baal, but much bigger."

"It would be nice if Marianne could win again", Teunissen says. "She is one of the best cyclists ever. She's been at the top for years, yet she's always nice and pays attention to everyone. That's wonderful and that's why I'm rooting for her. She knows how the game works and she can lock onto a wheel very well. She also knows how the game is played and how to turn tricky situations to her advantage."

"Marianne's strength is that she has been a champion many times over. She can perform very well under pressure", Boven adds. "Her cross season and her national jersey have given her a lot of confidence. Her biggest opponent will be Lucinda Brand. The difference is that Lucinda has been racing all winter and Marianne has been picking out her moments. In addition, Blanka Vas will also be a formidable opponent and I wonder what we can expect from the American Holsinger. But we believe in Marianne. She is a real killer in the race. With Wout van Aert and Marianne, we have two special cyclocross riders in our team."

"Wout will not be there, so I keep my fingers crossed that Lars van der Haar will win", Teunissen concludes. "We only have two riders in our Dutch selection, but ultimately only one man can become world champion. I've already set my alarm clock for it."

The races fall in the evening because of the time difference - it is seven hours earlier in Fayetteville. Friday, at 7:30 p.m. Dutch time, the mixed relay is on the programme. Saturday, the junior women ride their race (6 p.m.), followed by the U23 men (8 p.m.) and the elite women (9:30 p.m.). Sunday, the junior men (6 p.m.), U23 women (8 p.m.) and elite men (9:30 p.m.) will compete for the world title.

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