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I'd be more interested what the figures are worldwide; it was a 'World' Cup race.....
I find CX is still far too insular; I really don't care what the TV figures for Flanders are. The sport isn't moving on if all they care about is what happens in Flanders.
 
I'd be more interested what the figures are worldwide; it was a 'World' Cup race.....
I find CX is still far too insular; I really don't care what the TV figures for Flanders are. The sport isn't moving on if all they care about is what happens in Flanders.
What an oblivious comment. Without Flanders, there would be no CX anymore, and it has everything to do with IOC making MTB an Olympic discipline in '96, while dismissing CX each and every time. Lobbying gets you a long way. Look at the shift in nationalities 5-10 years before, and 5-10 years after '96. Going from a varied line-up with big name winners coming from Italy, Germany, Austria, Czechia, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg etc. To a strictly Duch/Belgian affair. And now people complain it's too insular and the sport isn't moving on, because they only care what happens in Flanders.
L. O. L.
 
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What an oblivious comment. Without Flanders, there would be no CX anymore, and it has everything to do with IOC making MTB an Olympic discipline in '96, while dismissing CX each and every time.
You keep repeating this - and there is is some truth - however only XC is Olympic. DH, Enduro are massive worldwide yet they don't have any olympics.
CX has been around since early 20th century - and in the main is still a niche discipline of cycling. MTB of all disciplines came about mid 70's - and has quickly grown, and XC has gained olympic status.
My worry for CX is the new 'gravel' racing scene - again, another US 'invention' which seems to have more 'influence' than CX which, is, quite a traditional sport.
The two pieces Wielerflits did on CX were very good, with one problem; they didn't interview anybody from outside Flanders - and some of the answers showed how unaware they are of the issues.
I want a World Cup/ World Championship in the UK - putting one on is another matter; virtually all of the televised CX races are behind a paywall. There's one issue immediately.
 
Some truth? Haha.

Riding on gravel or enduro is not in the slightest to be compared to CX. With some basic skills, anybody can start riding on gravel recreationally. This is completely different for a competitive sport like CX which is riding the same laps every time and in that sense not very imaginative for a recreational rider. It is a competitive sport that is not about the scenery, or about "feeling free" or the feeling you're making an epic trip. Those sports are accessible, CX is too hard and repetitive to attract a large practicing userbase which seems to be key in countries like the US. They tried getting CX, even with the silly and demeaning "stripdancer money grab" gimmick to work in the US, it simply didn't work.

If the sport were to be made Olympic, you would get athletes from around the world again, especially now with Wout and Mathieu. And it has very little to do with "thinking what people like in Flanders" when it comes to track design. Unless you are talking about completely ripping the essence of what makes CX out, dumb it down, so that every Mary *** & Jane can also start riding CX. So yes, MTB becoming an Olympic sport has been a huge burden on CX, with a lot of professional athletes migrating to a suddenly more recognized sport, which shares many traits from a competitive point of view.
 
You’re right about the money grab being silly, but I still enjoy the beer/ cookie/bacon grabs since that shows extra skilz ;) Wonder if having the CX worlds here in the US in 2022 will give the sport a bump in this country? Perhaps not, since the folks who pay attention to the event are those who already compete in or follow the sport?
 
Reactions: jmdirt
You’re right about the money grab being silly, but I still enjoy the beer/ cookie/bacon grabs since that shows extra skilz ;) Wonder if having the CX worlds here in the US in 2022 will give the sport a bump in this country? Perhaps not, since the folks who pay attention to the event are those who already compete in or follow the sport?

It's interesting as when I watched Jeremy Powers Behind the Barriers series when he raced for Cannondale or Rapha, there always seemed to be such an enthusiastic crowd where-ever the race was. From Bend in Oregon to Gloucester in Massachusetts or races in the mid-west and Colorado, there always seemed to be masses of crowds there. When the series came back with Aspire, or even at the last few national champs, there seemed to be an emptiness at the races. Even the world cups at Waterloo and Iowa City seemed much quieter than something like he Louisville worlds. Maybe it was the editing, but US CX seems to be slipping in interest.
From a European perspective anyway.
 
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I started racing mountain bikes in 1990 and by the mid '90s even 'small' local races had 1000+ entries while regional races could easily triple that, and NORBA Nats were crazy. When I was finally able to kick the habit five years ago, those same local races were lucky to crack 100. Why? Racing is hard! Yes, its fun, but many people can't overcome the hard part. People (and sponsor $$) look for other fun avenues. Obviously we can't use 2020 as an indicator for anything, but gravel racing will likely meet the same fate as the other dirt (mtb and 'cross) booms did in the USA.

'Cross specific: the USA 'cross boom in all but a few pockets was fuel by short races in easily accessible places (parks etc.), but once your toes get frozen, or you miss your dismount a few times...its not fun anymore either. Its much easier, and more fun for the masses who want to ride to roll down a nice road or path chatting with their friends (nothing wrong with that).

Cycling in general is a niche sport, and I'm OK with that. If 'cross is a Euro sideshow, so what, its a good show.
 
Been racing endurance MTB since the early 2000's, focusing on XC marathon to 24hr solos. Never thought about doing cross cause the thought of going b_lls out from the gun for 40 minutes didn't appeal to me. But, gave it a try a couple falls ago after I started watching cause of MVDP and now I think it is a great sport to watch and do for fun. Great if you have a job/family and can't disappear all day/weekend and come home completely wasted after a 12 hour solo MTB race/or now endurance gravel race - let alone put in all the boring training hours you need for endurance racing. Also cross is great for the family to come hang out/picnic depending on the venue. Finally, it's a helluva a lot safer than doing crits on the road where your main goal is DNC. Hopefully, cross will start picking up more popularity here in the US...
 
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Its much easier, and more fun for the masses who want to ride to roll down a nice road or path chatting with their friends (nothing wrong with that).
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Exactly. It's the reason why CX will never get a large practicing userbase, because it simply is too hard and too repetitive to enjoy recreationally. On top of that, it's a winter sport, to be done at freezing temperatures in the rain and wind. It's not about the scenery, riding in the woods, sunny breeze, making a trip. It's a fcking hard sport, that also requires a ton of specific skill to get going in the first place. To compare it to endurance or gravel means you're not getting the picture. Either the sport would need to get dumbed down a lot, or it needs the recognition it deserves. But instead, IOC feels it needs to add breakdancing to the Olympic roster. Those people deserve to get fired on the spot.

Maybe if they could come up with a concept, a "MTB lite" trail which could be done on a CX bike in summer, a combination of gravel roads, forrests, fields... still managable both in technique and physique, and still retain that "trip" feeling, as a gateway to actual CX... something like that could spark some interest, but i think, as a professional sport, the Olympics are key.

You’re right about the money grab being silly, but I still enjoy the beer/ cookie/bacon grabs since that shows extra skilz ;) Wonder if having the CX worlds here in the US in 2022 will give the sport a bump in this country? Perhaps not, since the folks who pay attention to the event are those who already compete in or follow the sport?
Flashback to 9 years ago. It sparked some interest, but it was short lived.
 
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Van Aert seems to either be unaware of where he is or just unlucky as a few times in the last few races he's been too far back behind the Van der Poel and been playing catchup to chase the leader. Even the world cup in Tabor he slipped back and let off the wheel of Vanthourenout meaning he missed the final attack from that group.
 
Van Aert seems to either be unaware of where he is or just unlucky as a few times in the last few races he's been too far back behind the Van der Poel and been playing catchup to chase the leader. Even the world cup in Tabor he slipped back and let off the wheel of Vanthourenout meaning he missed the final attack from that group.
Van Aert said he trained this week in function of the upcoming championships. Read: he wasn't the freshest he could be. Only in the final 2 laps he started to feel better.
 
Van Aert didn't actually lose any time to van der Poel since Mathieu attacked. He was hanging at the back of the group and the gap at the moment was 8 seconds. When Mathieu attacked, it went up to roughly 12-13 seconds, until van Aert started to chase and brought it back again. Wout also said he had issues with his gears when Mathieu attacked which was why he was at the back of the group (still).

On the other hand Mathieu said he didn't feel too good either.

I'm just glad we're seeing some actual tension. Even though Mathieu won, and has also most other races he participated, he already "lost" (as in, "didn't win") three races so far this season, which is more than the past two seasons combined, i think. The margin of his wins are a lot less dominant compared to previous seasons as well. Most races have been a lot less boring imho.
 
On top of that, it's a winter sport, to be done at freezing temperatures in the rain and wind.
Hasn’t that historically been because it was a way for Europeans to stay in shape over the winter? No reason why it has to be done in the rain and wind. Granted that’s the tradition and a huge part of what makes the sport what it is now, but thats a requirement that would keep the sport from expanding. Here in California, a very likely place for it to grow, we just don’t get rain and wind consistently, even in the winter. A certain kind of weather can’t be a requirement and have the sport grow. The season probably makes sense given road calendars, but that’s even up for debate to grow the sport at a grass roots level in other places.

But it’s probably moot in the US, as mountain biking is huge here, and I don’t see the room for it. There was a flirtation with it amongst hipsters about 15-20 years ago, but for many of the reasons stated here it just didn’t happen.
 
Finally got to watch a CX race again after a busy holiday period. Happy New Year boys.

Pretty easy win in the end there for Mathieu. Expected a bit more from Piddy when he closed the gap.

Mathieu said in the post-race interview that his condition seems to be getting worse and is looking forward to some training blocks in Spain to work on that.

I mean, that’s bad news for him, but great news for people like me who love to see a hard-fought win, especially a duel. Tomorrow should be a great race. Can’t wait.
 
Relatively easy win but without 3 of his top competitors it doesn't tell much.

One thing that I noticed is that for the lap or two in which Pidcock was on his wheel, MVDP gained 2-3 bike lengths on any technical obstacle, whether it was a climb, an off-camber section, a sand pit, muddy turn -- didn't matter. Really a joy to watch.

The Olympics discussion is interesting. CX is basically a made for Olympics sport, but until there's broader participation outside of the Low Countries it's unlikely to happen. On the other hand, baseball.

I'm an Olympics traditionalist anyway, so basically if the sport wasn't contested in Athens I don't really care about it...I basically watch for the track and field events. (I'm kidding a bit, I also like track cycling, skiing, and judo)
 
Relatively easy win but without 3 of his top competitors it doesn't tell much.

One thing that I noticed is that for the lap or two in which Pidcock was on his wheel, MVDP gained 2-3 bike lengths on any technical obstacle, whether it was a climb, an off-camber section, a sand pit, muddy turn -- didn't matter. Really a joy to watch.

The Olympics discussion is interesting. CX is basically a made for Olympics sport, but until there's broader participation outside of the Low Countries it's unlikely to happen. On the other hand, baseball.

I'm an Olympics traditionalist anyway, so basically if the sport wasn't contested in Athens I don't really care about it...I basically watch for the track and field events. (I'm kidding a bit, I also like track cycling, skiing, and judo)
"... but until there's broader participation outside of the Low Countries it's unlikely to happen."
But it HAD a much broader participation and appeal for decades, and they didn't make it happen then either. You're mistaking effect for cause.

It is actually very much like track cycling in more than one sense. It's too hard, too specialized, not very inviting for recreational riders, same lap each time... With two differences, it's an olympic sport, and it doesn't have an alternative/similar cycling branch eating into its potential.

Hasn’t that historically been because it was a way for Europeans to stay in shape over the winter? No reason why it has to be done in the rain and wind. Granted that’s the tradition and a huge part of what makes the sport what it is now, but thats a requirement that would keep the sport from expanding. Here in California, a very likely place for it to grow, we just don’t get rain and wind consistently, even in the winter. A certain kind of weather can’t be a requirement and have the sport grow. The season probably makes sense given road calendars, but that’s even up for debate to grow the sport at a grass roots level in other places.

But it’s probably moot in the US, as mountain biking is huge here, and I don’t see the room for it. There was a flirtation with it amongst hipsters about 15-20 years ago, but for many of the reasons stated here it just didn’t happen.
If you make it a summer sport, you will take away the mud, soggy meadows, snow, slipperiness, cold etc. It is a large part of the sport's identity. You can even see that with the past few winters, with milder weather, that it wasn't the same. It would even be easier to make a reasonable case, that it is redundant as a summer sport considering there is already MTB.
 
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