How often does a major championship crown two legends?
Few will have left a flood-hit Louisville with the sensation that anyone other than the best man and woman won at the 2013 UCI World Cyclo-Cross championships.
Sven Nys (Belgium), world champion in 2005, Belgian champion eight times (a title perhaps as prestigious as the world championship), six-time World Cup champion, and eleven-time and reigning Superprestige champion, is widely regarded as the best ‘cross rider of his generation. His victory in Louisville will have done little to alter that opinion.
Marianne Vos (Holland) has a still more impressive reputation. Where Nys is a ‘cross specialist, Vos has the Midas touch, mastering every discipline in which she competes. Her sixth consecutive world cyclo-cross championship came at the end of a season in which she added world and Olympic road titles to her matchless CV.
Louisville was snowy, muddy, and then very, very wet. Fortunately, the organisers had heeded flood warnings and condensed the weekend’s racing to a single day.
Our man with the camera, Balint Hamvas, was on hand to catch the action and to give advanced warning of the condensed programme.
Here’s a gallery of his superb images, showcasing, as always with cyclo-cross, the triumph of the strongest.
Defending champion, Marianne Vos displayed her trademark bike handling skill in claiming her sixth world title
Sven Nys produced a commanding performance to win his second world championship
American fans embraced the carnival atmosphere of the world championships
Great Britain’s Gabby Day dug in to remain on the same lap as the leaders.
Team-mates Annie Last and Helen Wyman were twelfth and thirteenth
Mathieu Van Der Poel continued the family tradition of winning world cyclo-cross titles, triumphing in the junior men class
Bookies could be forgiven for quoting short odds on a Belgian victory in the elite men’s race
Mike Tuenissen emerged victorious in the battle to crown the under-23 world champion