Field Notes: Pétange, Luxembourg

Photos by J. Dunn

You can count on a few things in the New Year and one of those would have to be the GP Hotel Threeland in Pétange, Luxembourg. Current world champion Marianne Vos has taken part in this race for going on nine years and this year was no exception. She had the run of the front followed only by Team Rapha-FOCUS racers Jasmin Achermann and Julie Krasniak. This was Julie’s second time at the race which takes place 70km away from her hometown of Metz, France. It is one of the closest things to a ‘grassroots’ cross race here in Europe as the cars and vans of the riders themselves line the steep start of the race.

The muddy, slippery track is punctuated by one of the longest, steepest ascents in cyclocross. The riders climb what amounts to be three or four minutes of steady climbing which is somewhat unheard of in cyclocross circuits. The only thing that breaks up the long climb through the finish line is a stair run and an off-camber slide through the woods, then it’s on with the climbing.

Jasmin took over the chase for first about halfway through the race and she and Julie held their ground while a mixture of Belgian, French and Luxembourgeois fans cheered them on. Her brightly colored Swiss champion’s kit was soon pocked with mud as a steady rain kept the conditions tricky.

There were multiple races happening on this day as racers prepare for the final rounds of the World Cup this weekend in Rome and the later in the month at Hoogerheide, Belgium. With a month to go the build-up to the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky USA is officially underway.

Now, if you are looking to keep your cyclocross excitement alive with the women of Team Rapha-FOCUS, then turn your attention to the most recent segment of Jeremy Powers’ internet cyclocross show, Behind the Barriers.. Jeremy was taking a break from the racing during the last round of the USGP of Cyclocross in Bend, Oregon, so the show follows Julie Krasniak through her weekend of Elite Women’s cross racing.

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Behind THE Barriers Season 3 Episode 9 from Behind THE Barriers on Vimeo.