GP Sven Nys Baal - a New Year's Day cyclocross tradition

GP Sven Nys Baal - a New Year's Day cyclocross tradition

The GP ("Grand Prix") Sven Nys is a cyclocross race in Baal, Belgium held annually on New Year's Day. Since it takes place in the special time between Christmas and New Year's, it's part of the Kerstperiode of holiday races.

The race is named in honor of Sven Nys, one of the most successful and consistent cyclocross racers of all time, and a fan favorite - Baal is his hometown. He won his namesake race 12 out of 16 times, while he was still active. American Katie Compton has also won this one a couple times too!

Historically, the GP Sven Nys has been part of the DVV Trofee series; for the 2020/21 season, this series has been renamed for new title sponsor X²0 Badkamers (a home furnishings and bathroom fixture supplier.)

New teams, jerseys, and bike sponsors

January 1st is an interesting date in cyclocross, because rider and team contracts in cycling typically run from January 1 - December 31st in any given year. The cyclocross season straddles the New Year, however, which means riders often start the racing season on one team, and then finish the season in another team's colors!

This means that the January 1 GP Sven Nys is often the "debut" party, with riders wearing new jerseys, new teams, and sometimes on brand new bikes - occasionally creating some confusion for broadcasters and fans alike as they struggle to identify their favorite riders and learn the names of the new teams and sponsors.

We already know the answer to one equipment-related question, Wout van Aert will not be riding a Cervelo gravel bike - he's being allowed to stick with his current Bianchi (at least through the end of the current 'cross season, including the upcoming World Championships in Ostend.)

Stream the 2021 GP Sven Nys Cyclocross Race

For the 2020/21 season, GCN Race Pass has the streaming rights to the X²0 Badkamers series, so tune into your GCN subscription to watch the GP Sven Nys this year.

Sven Nys' Hometown race course

Nys also lends his name to the Sven Nys Cycling Center, which allows visitors to ride on the on-site GP Sven Nys cyclocross race course! What a trip that would be. If you're interested in checking out a preview of the course, there's a new one on YouTube showing the current conditions:

A free replay of last year's Elite races is also available courtesy via GCN:

This race is a great way to ring in the new year with cyclocross. Stay up until midnight the day prior, then rise bright and early for the broadcast, perhaps to be followed up by a ride of your own. See you out there! 

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