Gallery: Cyclocross meets ski resorts in breathtaking World Cup debut in Val di Sole

The Cyclocross World Cup broke new ground with a first trip to the snow-capped Val di Sole mountains on Sunday.

The Italian resort regularly used for mountain biking and ski racing brought all the spectacular scenery and compact snow organizers hoped that the UCI lobbied for ‘cross to be part of the Winter Olympics’.

Fem van Empel and Wout van Aert slipped and skidded to victory in two races which became an individual time trial series as the riders faced unprecedented conditions.

Ever-changing lines in the ever-changing snow and challenging low light meant running, hanging feet and dancing front wheels were a constant. A second of inattention resulted in a frozen fall, and while some runners took slow-motion slips through the race barriers, others went over the bars on more dramatic descents.

Van Aert, van Empel and Maghalie Rochette all showed their passion for snow in the post-race interviews.

“It has proven that you can ride cyclocross anywhere you want,” van Aert said after his third dominant win in three races. “You can do it in a park in one of the biggest cities in the world, or you can do it in the mountains like today. I think we proved a lot today and I’m happy to have been able to be a part of it.

Hoping the Olympic leaders were listening.

Here is what it looked like:

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