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Lockdowns and cyclocross: Maghalie Rochette’s tough choices in Europe

Does the Canadian and Pan Am champ continue racing abroad? Or does she come home? It’s complicated

Maghalie Rochette Photo by: @content__content

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Maghalie Rochette, the Canadian and Pan Am cyclocross champion, has been in Europe for more than a month racing. In the past two weeks, things have gotten tougher for her. Cases of Covid-19 are growing in Europe. Countries have entered lockdowns. Some races are getting cancelled. But, oddly, others are forging ahead.

On the Monday following Koppenberg Cross, which Rochette had raced, she was in her camper van that carries her entire support crew: David Gagnon, Rochette’s partner, coach, mechanic and it’s probably fair to say general manager of Team Rochette, and their dog Mia. It’s a small, nimble operation, but they are wrestling with some big questions. They had come to Europe to race for months, which is a challenge for North American riders in the best of times. Now they are wondering how safe it will be for them if they continue on. What if one of them should fall ill? How long will the racing continue? From a distance, it might be easy to say, “Well, if you don’t feel comfortable, you should just leave Europe.” But, cyclocross is Rochette’s job. Now, there’s not enough high-level racing on this side of the globe. If racing continues in Europe, and if she doesn’t participate, it will have a negative effect on the next season. Rochette gets into these and other dilemmas.

Rochette also talks about racing at the mountain bike world championships in early October, her creative projects and even board games.

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