IOWA CITY — Competitors from around the globe will again gather in Iowa City this September for a cyclo-cross World Cup event.
Aigle, Switzerland-based Union Cycliste Internationale, or UCI, announced Friday it has selected the Johnson County Fairgrounds for its Sept. 29 Telenet UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup event, making Iowa City the only American city to host three of the events.
The races will be coupled with Jingle Cross, an annual local racing event that began 15 years ago.
“There’s no other event we’ve ever hosted ... that has as much international attention as this,” said Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
He expects Iowa City’s race to get between 8 million to 10 million viewers form European countries like Germany and Belgium.
“This sport is the Super Bowl of these counties,” he said.
Schamberger said UCI worked with event organizers to find the perfect weekend, Sept. 28 to 30, when the University of Iowa football team is not playing. He said he expects this year’s event to be even bigger than the previous year’s because fewer entertainment events will be competing with it.
The two-mile cyclo-cross course features a mix of terrains, including gravel, dirt, grass and sand, as well as obstacles, flyover ramps and a massive hill dubbed Mount Krumpit. Challenging, varied terrain and obstacles are hallmarks of cyclo-cross.
John Meehan, race director of the Jingle Cross, said the local event has grown “year after year after year. It’s just such a nice honor that the UCI recognizes Jingle Cross and Iowa City.”
Jingle Cross also will include amateur races, a product expo and local vendors.
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“At Jingle Cross in 2016, I experienced real USA cyclo-cross racing for the first time,” Wout Van Aert of Belgium, the 2016 and 2017 world champion in men’s cyclo-cross racing, said in a news release. “There are so many enthusiastic fans, children and people racing.”
Iowa City will be the second stop for the World Cup series, with the first race in Waterloo, Wis.
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