Home > News

Why this cyclocross worlds is more important than ever for Canadians

The 2023 event is poised to be spectacular

The world cyclocross championships are around the corner, and boy oh boy, they could be a beauty for Canucks. The races start on Feb. 3 and go to Feb. 5 in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands. Canada is sending a large 15-rider squad.

As always, Canada has star elite female rider, Maghalie Rochette, who has podiumed at World Cups and always has a great ride when the pressure mounts. After a tough summer, she’s been gradually getting back into form during the 2022-23 season. Timing her peak for worlds might result in a great ride. But don’t forget her teammate Sidney McGill who finished ninth at the snowy Val di Sole event and eighth at the Dublin World Cup.

Michael van den Ham is also coming back into form after losing his national championship crown in Victoria. He took a break following the nationals, and then had a good training block in Spain. At Benidorm, he finished a solid 33rd, just minutes behind superstars Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert. Ace mountain biker Tyler Orschel will join van den Ham on the start line of the elite men’s race.

In the under-23 races, Alberta’s Christiane Bilodeau will be the sole Canuck rider in the women’s race. British Columbia’s Cody Scott and Evan Russell will line up for the under-23 men’s race. Look for some outstanding rides by these three Canadians as well.

Arguably the most exciting race for Canadians will be the junior races. On the junior women’s side, Ava and Isabella Holmgren are leading the squad, joined by Madeleine Pollock and Geza Rodgers. The Holmgren sisters have been an absolute dominant force in the junior circuit this year. They’ve even had some impressive rides when they ride in the elite races.

Isabella Holmgren interview on her first Christmas ‘cross experience

Canada is currently leading the women’s junior cross nation ranking. Between junior Pan American champion and elite national champion Ava and her sister Isabella, who both landed on the podium at the last ‘cross World Cup in Spain, the pair will be big favourites for the world championship title. That Canada has not just one, but two riders capable of landing on the podium, is incredibly exciting.

Ian Ackert scores muddy silver in Gavere junior race

The men’s junior team also has a huge favourite with Ian Ackert. The Ontario rider has been up there in almost all the big races this season in the junior category. Don’t forget, this is the same rider who finished eighth at the junior worlds in 2022 after starting lap two in last place due to a mechanical. He also had some of the fastest lap times of the entire race, which made many people wonder what could have happened without the early problems. Joining him will be Quebec’s Mika Comaniuk and Filipe Duarte, along with British Columbia’s Cam McCallum.

There’s going to be some very exciting racing in the Netherlands, as always. This year may just be one of the best ones yet for Canadians.