The winner of the 2022-2023 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Corendon) will not make the trip to Waterloo, Wisconsin after being injured in a crash at the C2-ranked race in Beringen, Belgium last weekend.
Sweeck was one of several riders to crash on a very steep off-camber embankment and did not finish the race.
His team issued an announcement on Thursday that the injury sustained in that crash will prevent him from racing the opening round of the 2023-2024 UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Waterloo on Sunday.
“An ultrasound revealed a small muscle tear with internal bleeding in the left calf,” the press release stated. “On doctor’s advice, Sweeck must rest as much as possible in the coming week.”
The 14-round World Cup hinges on consistency, and Sweeck participated in every round last year, winning round 4 in Maasmechelen, Belgium and round 5 in Beekse Bergen. He also landed on the podium in six other rounds and beat Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) – who raced only 12 rounds – by 76 points.
“I would have liked to have been there in Waterloo,” Sweeck said. “But with a muscle tear that is obviously not possible. It remains to be seen when I can compete again. Personally, I hope that I will make it to Overijse [Superprestige series opener on October 22]. But it is still too early to say that definitively.”
The elite men’s field in Waterloo will be headlined by the 2021-2022 series winner Eli Iserbyt and Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal teammate Vanthourenhout along with Beringen winner Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions), his teammate former World Champion Lars van der Haar, early-season standout Anton Ferdinande (Deschacht-Hens-Maes), and American hopefuls Curtis White (Steve Tilford Foundation Racing), Eric Brunner (WTB Pivot) and Andrew Strohmeyer (CXD Trek Bikes).
The women’s field is much top-heavy, with last year’s trio of Dutch titans Fem van Empel (Jumbo-Visma), Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) alongside former World Champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck), former junior World Champion Zoe Backstedt (Canyon-SRAM), MTB Olympic champion Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing), US champion Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) and Canadian Maghalie Rochette (Canyon Collective), who swept the six of the early-season USCX races in which she competed.