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by Mark Zalewski
January 27, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Navardauskas takes Bahrain-Merida inaugural win in San Juan TT; Greipel sprints to win in Challenge Mallorca opener; Kirsten Wild just pips Chloe Hosking in Race Melbourne photo finish; Sam Bennett sprints to victory at Race Melbourne, the Cadel’s Race curtain-raiser crit; Mark Cavendish: Merckx’s Tour de France record is now a realistic target for me; Cyclocross worlds preview: In Bieles, a new chapter will be written between the sport’s two young stars; French teams dominate wildcard selections for Tour de France, Paris-Nice and Critérium du Dauphiné; Retired pro cyclist Tom Zirbel shifts to triathlon; World Championship course proving to be a challenge; Former pro talks about battle with depression, suicide attempts; Vuelta a San Juan, stage 3 highlights; Video: Abu Dhabi Tour preview; Video: Tony Martin off to rocky start with Katusha-Alpecin.
The outcome of the 2017 elite men’s world cyclocross championship, held Sunday in Bieles, Luxembourg, will almost certainly be the climactic endpoint to one of three equally unconventional storylines.
First: Young former world champion misses first month of season returning from knee surgery, battles with current young world champion during heart of season, has scary race-ending crash a month before worlds, and wins to reclaim rainbow jersey.
Second: Current world champion, also young, dominates early season, finds himself on losing end of several epic battles with young former world champion, overcomes late-season knee injury, and defends rainbow jersey.
Third: Slightly less-young rider misses first half of season due to hamstring injury, slowly claws his way back to top, profits from late-season breakdown of two former world champions, and peaks at perfect moment to take first world title of his career.
While anything can happen in a cyclocross race, there is a very good chance that Sunday’s world championship will be the final chapter in one of these season-long narratives, written and performed by Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, and Lars van der Haar, respectively.
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