Weather forces Cyclo-Cross Championships to make changes


by Michelle Arnold

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 7:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It’s the first time it’s ever been held in the United States and it’s right here in Kentuckiana. Hundreds of cyclists and journalists from all over the world are in Louisville for the 2012 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships. But the championships won’t go off without a hitch, the weather is forcing some last minute adjustments to the program.

These competitive riders are used to navigating rocky terrain. They will even race through the snow and ice cold temperatures.

"You come here expecting crazy weather. Cyclo-cross is basically a race of adversity,” competitor Kari Studley said.

But when it comes to high water in the Ohio River and flood concerns, it's a no go for cyclo.

“Forecast data shows that the enormous amounts of rain will cause Beargrass Creek, which is the border of Eva Bandman Park on the west side, to overflow its banks by Sunday. It will also flood some of the low lying areas of Eva Bandman,” Louisville Sports Commission Executive Director Karl Schmitt said.

Organizers are taking drastic measures to make sure riders and fans are safe--a temporary barrier is in place to keep the water out. The two day world championships are now a one day race card, four races all on Saturday.

“Since all events will be on Saturday, anyone that has a Sunday only ticket please come on Saturday. All tickets will be honored,” National Events USA Cycling Vice President Micah Rice said.

“We'll have one big day of racing; we'll be able to have all four events. We'll have everybody be able to race on a quality course,” Rice said.

The pros are prepared to meet the new challenge and they're getting extra time Friday to train on the now-altered course.

“The weather just always makes it all the more epic. It's just a fun factor. It just keeps it interesting and you come here expecting crazy weather with it,” Studley said.