As expected, the 2021 cyclocross season has dealt with many cancelled and reduced-sized races already. Despite the ongoing global pandemic, the 2021 UCI cyclocross world championships are still scheduled to go ahead in Ostend, Belgium on Jan. 30-31.
On Jan. 15, the UCI announced the junior races were cancelled. The men’s and women’s U23 and Elite events will be split between two days—U23 men and Elite women race on Saturday, while U23 women and Elite men will race Sunday.
Cyclocross is a somewhat distanced outdoor event, but, to decrease the risk of transmission at the world championships, there are no public tickets available for spectators, and support staff will be reduced to a minimum. Face masks are mandatory in Ostend, even in outdoor spaces, so anyone not racing will have to sport a face covering. Those tuning in safely from home can stream the event on FloBikes.
There are three major parts to the 2,900m course: A 135m long and 8m high bridge with a 21 per cent gradient on both sides, a beach segment and a horse racecourse with cinder and grass sections.
A hefty 565m of the course is in sand. Along the beach the course ascends for 55 m and along the side of the Hippodrome it ascends for 35 m. The race organizers describe the undulating segment in the horse racecourse as, “very technical.”
Currently, the weather for the 30th and 31st is predicted to be between 4°C and 6°C and rainy. Rain is forecasted for the entire week leading up to the race, so viewers can expect a chilly and muddy world championships.
Grass: 1,326 m
Cinder: 404 m
Sand and improved sand surface:565 m
Asphalt / concrete paving:205 m
Canadians and North Americans
Three Canadians will compete at the 2021 cyclocross world championships. Pan American and Canadian champion Maghalie Rochette. Rochette is currently fifth worldwide in the UCI cyclocross rankings. She will be joined by the U23 Pan American champion Ruby West, as well as the U23 Canadian champion Sidney McGill.
“I haven’t had my best season this year; I got injured at a key point in the season and had several disappointing races as a result,” said Rochette. “However, I am now healed and motivated to end this season on a high note. It’s definitely possible for me to finish in the top ten at Worlds, possibly even the top five if I have a good day.”
Though North Americans are only competing in small number this year (three Canadians and six Americans), in 2022, the UCI Cyclocross world championships will be coming to Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Canadians can watch the 2021 cyclocross world championships on FloBikes.