Race Thread

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Yeah, it's both good and bad. Obviously, you want your top stars racing in the Worlds, as they attract more interest. However, the rainbow jersey should be shown off throughout the season - and we haven't seen it as regularly as we would have liked. In both 2020/21, MvdP's last race of the season was the worlds.....
 
So the two biggest talents are out of the men's world championships...that both bad and good I suppose.
Definitely more bad than good, though. It essentially renders the title meaningless, just like how nobody considers winning the Club World Cup in football to equate to being the world's best team because only one of the world's best teams competes. Sure, it will lead to a more open race, but a title won with the two riders who are a level above the winner either recovering from injury or outright choosing to skip it unfortunately is nothing more than a paper title. I'd feel more than a little cheated if I was the organiser, a sponsor or someone who had bought a ticket for the Sunday, somehow I can't see hosts lining up for future WCs. You know Pidcock will start doing the same soon too.

All in all, this is the ultimate example of the double-edged sword that is the Van der Poel-Van Aert era - on the one hand, it's proven that top cyclocrossers are top athletes, on the other hand, it's further cemented CX's status as a less-important discipline. Which, in turn, is the main argument against it becoming Olympic to me.
 
Definitely more bad than good, though. It essentially renders the title meaningless, just like how nobody considers winning the Club World Cup in football to equate to being the world's best team because only one of the world's best teams competes. Sure, it will lead to a more open race, but a title won with the two riders who are a level above the winner either recovering from injury or outright choosing to skip it unfortunately is nothing more than a paper title. I'd feel more than a little cheated if I was the organiser, a sponsor or someone who had bought a ticket for the Sunday, somehow I can't see hosts lining up for future WCs. You know Pidcock will start doing the same soon too.

All in all, this is the ultimate example of the double-edged sword that is the Van der Poel-Van Aert era - on the one hand, it's proven that top cyclocrossers are top athletes, on the other hand, it's further cemented CX's status as a less-important discipline. Which, in turn, is the main argument against it becoming Olympic to me.
Isn't it an Olympic discipline because it is less important, or is it less important because it isn't Olympic discipline?

It would definitely increase in popularity globally if it were to become Olympic.
 
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In order for CX to grow even more, they needs to be more courses like yesterday's, with interesting features for the riders as well as viewers. Using the terrain to the fullest and not relying on artificial bumps and such. And with a nice scenery like the windmill, lake, etc. And less generic routes that are just a flat Belgian field, whose only feature is mud.
And of course more races outside of Netherlands and Belgium as well.
This is obvious for everybody who's been following the sport for years. The problem is that organizers outside of mainly Belgium have disappeared or are unwilling to invest any further in the sport. The situation as it is, is a double edged sword. Without those Belgian crosses that you (understandibly) don't like, the sport would be dead. Simple as that. Those crosses are the only thing that is keeping it a valid option for a pro career.

It also means that it has become increasingly convenient to ignore those few crosses that are in fact held in other countries (as you could see with the races in the USA, which Van Aert and Van der Poel have already been ignoring for the past few seasons). It would be different if the season was equally spread over Swiss, Italian, Czech, Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, French... crosses. But with 95% being in Belgium or Holland, it's simply easy to focus on those and not make annoying trips to Italy or America.

Again, in order for this to change, worldwide appeal needs to grow, and that will only happen with more nationalities battling for victory in these races. As soon as that happens, there will be a bigger audience outside of Belgium and the Netherlands. That's when it will once again become a viable option to start organizing races in other countries. And the key to get more riders from across the world interested, is in getting the sport into the Olympics.
 
Dec 22, 2021
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This is obvious for everybody who's been following the sport for years. The problem is that organizers outside of mainly Belgium have disappeared or are unwilling to invest any further in the sport. The situation as it is, is a double edged sword. Without those Belgian crosses that you (understandibly) don't like, the sport would be dead. Simple as that. Those crosses are the only thing that is keeping it a valid option for a pro career.

It also means that it has become increasingly convenient to ignore those few crosses that are in fact held in other countries (as you could see with the races in the USA, which Van Aert and Van der Poel have already been ignoring for the past few seasons). It would be different if the season was equally spread over Swiss, Italian, Czech, Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, French... crosses. But with 95% being in Belgium or Holland, it's simply easy to focus on those and not make annoying trips to Italy or America.

Again, in order for this to change, worldwide appeal needs to grow, and that will only happen with more nationalities battling for victory in these races. As soon as that happens, there will be a bigger audience outside of Belgium and the Netherlands. That's when it will once again become a viable option to start organizing races in other countries. And the key to get more riders from across the world interested, is in getting the sport into the Olympics.
Given the boost that Wiggins gave to road cycling in the uk it’s quite likely Pidcock could have a similar effect for cyclocross in the UK if he wins a world title. It would possibly attract UK sponsors as well and maybe a cross here too. I know it’s only the UK, but it would broaden the appeal beyond Belgium.

I’d also note that Van Aert did make the trip to Val di Sol!
 
Isn't it an Olympic discipline because it is less important, or is it less important because it isn't Olympic discipline?

It would definitely increase in popularity globally if it were to become Olympic.
I've posted it countless times, but MTB becoming an Olympic discipline has been near fatal for CX. It used to be a sport that was popular all over Europe. In the 7 years before '96 (when MTB turned Olympic) the worldchampion came from 6 different countries. In the 25 years since '96 there has only been one Italian, one Czech and a bunch of Dutch and Belgian worldchampions.

The sport used to be what people now would want it to be. People simply forgot.
 
Yes. Look at the 1996 men's CX Worlds, and the Olympic MTB race; there are a number of riders doing both: Bramati, Pontoni, Frischknecht, Martinez.....

Currently there no real top Swiss, Italian or French riders; and riders who show promise move to either MTB or Road....including the current 2xRoad World champion.

Another point; it might help if promising riders who are signed by road teams were allowed to continue to do CX in the winter; many times it seems they're not.
 
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Yes. Look at the 1996 men's CX Worlds, and the Olympic MTB race; there are a number of riders doing both: Bramati, Pontoni, Frischknecht, Martinez.....

Currently there no real top Swiss, Italian or French riders; and riders who show promise move to either MTB or Road....including the current 2xRoad World champion.

Another point; it might help if promising riders who are signed by road teams were allowed to continue to do CX in the winter; many times it seems they're not.
Looking at Van Aert, Van der Poel, Pidcock and to a lesser extent Merlier, Vermeersch and Hermans (and Vos, Kopecky...), it might be a good thing if riders with certain profiles were actually encouraged to do CX in the winter, by their teams. Especially since it doesn't have to detract from their road training and road focus per se, unlike MTB which requires a lot of concessions to be made. It might broaden the appeal of the sport and some CX talents might be spotted while they might otherwise never ride CX all together.
 
I would have thought we were talking about DSM Devo here or smth like that. Wouldn't have imagined we would be talking about Jumbo, a team who has a rider or two who achieved some success on the road after a winter in cross.
I also found it ironic tbf. It's what's making the rounds in the media, but i'm not yet convinced the entire story is known. It seems atypical for TJV to demand something like that.
 
I would have thought we were talking about DSM Devo here or smth like that. Wouldn't have imagined we would be talking about Jumbo, a team who has a rider or two who achieved some success on the road after a winter in cross.
If true, one assumes they let them continue to ride CX as they're both former World Champions, and have proved they can succeed on the road as well as the CX bike. Mike Teunissen is a former U23 World Champion, and seems to have given it up - and the Van Dijke twins have done some in the past but doesn't look like they're doing any more.
 
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I agree - however there still seems to be old school thinking that it hinders a riders preparations..........

And there was something on Twitter yesterday about a young Dutch rider who was wanted by a well know Development team; however, he'd have to give up CX.
It appears completely irrational and incomprehensible that national cycling federations does not support young riders in general and cyclocross in specific.

Cyclocross is the perfect place to start a cycling career - safe from traffic, technical, intense and fun, easy to establish permanent or semi permanent courses, perfect for coaching and families supporting their young etc. It has also proved an excellent platform for transitioning to either MTB and/or Road.

Yet, I have seen the same conservatism in ice skating. In-line skating and short track skating were discarded as “not real sports” and the only thing that seemed to count was long track and particularly 10.000 meter. Ice skating has less active skaters than ever and building a long track is a multimillion euro undertaking with high running costs. Short track on the other hand can share track with both hockey and figure skating and is the starting point for young riders if to develop their technique.

Let’s really hope that cycling federations see the potential for CX both as a breeding for young riders as well as a discipline with its own merits.
 
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Netherlands selection for Worlds:

Women Elite - Lucinda Brand, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Manon Bakker, Denise Betsema, Yara Kastelijn, Inge van der Heijden, Marianne Vos, Annemarie Worst
Men Elite - Lars van der Haar, Corné van Kessel
Women U23 - Fem van Empel, Puck Pieterse, Shirin van Anrooij
Men U23 - Pim Ronhaar, Mees Hendrikx, Ryan Kamp
Men Junior - David Haverdings
Women Junior - Leonie Bentveld, Lauren Molengraaf
 
The official justification is that they only select top-5 material. In the youth ranks the national coach said something like they had already given the opportunity to do a major competition in the european championships.

My guess is that they couldn't be bothered to spend a lot of money/have to comply with a lot of overseas travel restrictions for some riders. If some of the minor cross nations think the same, we could be in for a depleted field in some of the races.
 
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I'm not sure whether this belongs in the MTB section as well; Blanka Kata Vas has announced on social media she is now a Red Bull athlete.....Very few CX only riders ever get this recognition, it tends to be riders who do other disciplines.
I don't remember now but Pidcock received his sponsorship before or after his first ventures in world mountain-biking?

Apart from Van Aert, Pidcock, Richards and Vas, which more crossed riders have a sponsorship with them? Apart from Lars Forster (not a full cx-rider, but it does one or two ocasionally) and Ellen Noble I can't remember anyone more.
 
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I think he got his in autumn 2019 when the Trinity Racing team was unveiled at the Red Bull HQ - but I think he'd planned for MTB the following year, as the Cape Epic was already mentioned - and some World Cups.

I can't think of any pure Cyclocross riders who are Red Bull athletes; the ones you named all do something else as their main discipline.
I did wonder whether one of the new young 'all rounders' would get to become a Red Bull athlete; Vas, Pieterse, Van Empel.....and so it's happened.

I've always wondered why MvdP wasn't one - unless he'd turned it down; as he seems the perfect Red Bull athlete....
 
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