Last week, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and organizers Flanders Classics announced that several planned cyclocross World Cup stops will not take place in 2020. Today, the pair announced the new and abbreviated cyclocross World Cup calendar.
What does the new Cyclocross series look like?
The 2020-2021 cyclocross World Cup will now have five rounds, spread out over a two month period. The series is now limited to three countries, with only the Czech Republic sitting outside the traditional “home” of ‘cross in Belgium and The Netherlands.
Tabor kicks the series off on November 29. The Czech venue is a regular on the series and hosted a particularly memorable – and icy – world championships several years back. The 2015 worlds witnessed Mathieu van der Poel’s first elite world championships win, and a thrilling sprint between Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Sanne Cant in the elite women’s race.
After nearly a month-long break, the series picks up at the classic Namur, Belgium venue on Dec. 20. Two new venues, Dendermonde, Belgium and Hulst, in The Netherlands keep the World Cup ticking along on Dec. 27 and January 3, 2021.
The series returns to Belgium and a venue that is new to World Cup, but has a long history in cyclocross. Overijse, often referred to as the “mother of all cyclocross races.” It takes over from Hoogerheide as the host of UCI World Cup Finals.
Will these races actually happen?
Who knows. As we’ve all come to expect in 2020, this new calendar is planned, but not set in stone.
“The UCI and Flanders Classics remind that the holding of UCI International Calendar events remains subject to the international health situation and the measures taken by the competent authorities,” the UCI said in closing its announcement today.
The Czech Republic did host a spectator-free mountain bike World Cup in recent week. That resulted in four infections of riders and staff, but was otherwise successful. On the road, Giro d’Italia is having less luck. The Grand Tour saw numerous riders and even whole teams drop out earlier this week. Whether or not the Giro will run its full three weeks is now up in the air.
As is, Canadian cyclocross national champion Maghalie Rochette travelled to Europe early. When the Canadian settled in, she found out the series will not not be starting for nearly two months. With all international athletes requiring long periods to travel and meet health requirements, hopefully the UCI will make their decisions early enough that racers don’t travel in vain.
If the races can be held safely, fans and racers alike will be excited to see cyclocross racing happen this season. But, as always, health consideratios must come first.
2020-2021 UCI Cyclocross World Cup
- November 29, 2020: Tabor, Czech Republic
- December 20, 2020: Namur, Belgium
- December 27, 2020: Dendermonde, Belgium
- January 3, 2021: Hulst, The Netherlands
- January 24, 2021: Overijse, Belgium