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Iowa City prepares for "global" exposure with UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup event

The Johnson County Fairgrounds have been transformed into a bike track for the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup season opener this weekend.

Think Kinnick Stadium on a Saturday in the fall - but even more people.

"In Belgium and the Netherlands, you'll get 80,000 fans out to a cyclo-cross race," John Meehan said on Tuesday. As race director for the Jingle Cross at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, Meehan is hoping to give millions of fans in Europe an event to remember as they watch their sport start a new season in Iowa City.

"We have eight to ten million television viewers for this event," Meehan said, "so Iowa City goes global."

For the second straight year, the Jingle Cross - started in 2004 - will share the stage with a UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup event. It's a stage that isn't given to the United States often.

"There's only been five World Cups on North American soil, including this year," Meehan said. "We have two of them here in Iowa."

The World Cup race and Jingle Cross are just two of several events planned for September 15-17 at the fairgrounds. Entrance to the World Cup costs $5 - but is free if you bring a ticket stub from Saturday's Iowa-North Texas football game. All other events are free of charge, with food and beverages sold inside in the gates. A full list of events can be found at the Jingle Cross website.

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