Canadians have been having a great run in the ‘cross season, especially Isabella Holmgren. She and her sister Ava have been tearing up the junior women’s circuit and things are looking good as the world championships loom. Ava took second at the GP Sven Nys as well Herentals, and a fourth at Zonhoven. She also finished 21st in the elite race in Koksijde. Bella took the win at Sven Nys, as well as a third at Herentals, followed by a third at Zonhoven and a 15th in Koksijde.
Bella and Ava are excited to be in Europe after several seasons of uncertainty due to the pandemic. Not only did they have good races during the Kerstperiode of ‘cross, they are loving every minute of it.
“Because many of the races were cancelled last year due to COVID-19, this is my first true Christmas cross experience with the back-to-back races day after day. I’ve never raced this much in such a short period of time, but after doing it I definitely want to do it again,” the Stimulus-Orbea rider said. “It’s so nice to be in a place where there is so much opportunity for high level racing, but the amount of races we’re doing wouldn’t be possible without the help from all the mechanics making sure our bikes are 100 per cent every day.”
With all the races, it’s hard for her to pinpoint which is her favourite, but it seems she definitely liked the sand.
“The main highlights for me have really just been the opportunities to race some amazing courses like Koksijde and Zonhoven. The amount of sand there is to race on is incredible and the TV doesn’t do the massive sand drops much justice,” Holmgren said. “Being able to perform well on some of the race days and my first World Cup podium are also some pretty good bonuses!”
The junior women’s world championships are Feb. 4 in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands and needless to say, both Bella and Ava are pumped.
“I’m feeling pretty excited going into the worlds. Since the race is taking place in the Netherlands, I think the crowds will be awesome, making the atmosphere even better,” the junior national champion said. “My mom is also able to come to the worlds so I think that will be very special. We’re now in Spain to get a good block of training in before the last two World Cups and world championships!”
The UCI cyclocross world championships take place on Feb. 3 to Feb. 5.