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What we learned from cyclocross’s Kerstperiode

In a hectic period of racing, there were several standout performances

One of cyclocross’s hectic periods is over, and there some pretty incredible races. There were some major tests in all the categories as part of the lead-up to the world championships on the first weekend of February.

Wout van Aert supreme

Ten races in Holland and Belgium had some fantastic racing, including multiple battle royales between Wout van Aert, world champion Tom Pidcock and Mathieu van der Poel. The Belgian was dominant, winning seven of them, and sending a clear message to his rivals leading up to the worlds. Pidcock has since announced he would not be defending his title.

This was the absolutely thrilling sprint between Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock

Rochette and McGill with solid rides

Canada’s elite women had a good run during the holiday races. For Rochette, who has been steadily making her comeback after a disappointing summer, she had promising results. She DNF’ed at Gavere, and then a few top-tens and a 19th at the tricky Zonhoven.

Sidney McGill, after some strong performances just before the holiday races, such as a 8th and 9th at the UCI World Cups in Dublin and Val di Sole, respectively, had several consistent races. Her best result was an 11th at the GP Sven Nys.

Ackert excels

In 2022, Ian Ackert (Stimulus/Orbea) had an stunning ride at the junior worlds, going from last to 8th. His form has continued to impress this year, with a second at Gavere and a fourth at Herentals. Ackert would pull out early at Zonhoven due to sickness, but hopefully he can recover in time for a great ride at the worlds.

Ian Ackert scores muddy silver in Gavere junior race

Holmgren domination

Two other riders from the Stimulus/Orbea squad had an excellent run. Ava and Isabella Holmgren continue to impress in their races, showing they are both very big favourites for a rainbow jersey in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands. Ava took second at Sven Nys and Herentals, as well as a fourth at Zonhoven. She also finished 21st in the elite race in Koksijde. Bella took the win at Sven Nys, a third at Herentals, a third at Zonhoven and a 15h in Koksijde.

With their great results, it also means they are getting the best spot in the starting grid.

Isabella Holmgren lands first junior World Cup podium in Zonhoven

After a lot of racing, it’s clear who is going well with just a month left of ‘cross with the worlds looming. Some riders like Rochette will head to Spain for a training block, but some will remain in Northern Europe to continue racing and training.