News: World Cup Cyclo-Cross for Milton Keynes?


UCI Delegation inspects Campbell Park in Milton Keynes for what looks like a probable World Cup in November 2014

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

This week, a UCI delegation including Beat Wabel, a former Cyclo-Cross world champion, were in Milton Keynes. The reason was to inspect the venue for a World Cup in the city in November (yet to be formally announced) and photos of possible courses being drawn up were seen on social meda.

Whilst ‘cross is very popular here and a way of life in many European countries, the visit outside of Twitter was kept low key prior to the decision to award the event to MK is made this month.

The man behind the event it is well known in off road circles, Simon Burney. A former GB team manager, Simon has written books on the subject of cyclo-cross and is now a UCI technical delegate himself for off road events. VeloUK caught up with Simon at the British Cyclo-Cross championships where he admitted he’d been thinking of bringing the event here to the UK for a few years.

“It was just a matter of finding a venue and then the finance to put it on. I was looking at Donnington Park originally but there was no funding and it’s an expensive venue. So we were looking for a venue with some funding behind it and we found Milton Keynes Council were very supportive.”


Over the years, Milton Keynes has had many a major event come to the city. I remember reading about the pro crits there in the very early days of the city being built and in recent years, the first round of the Tour Series as was a stage of the Tour of Britain (both Sweetspot events). The National Trophy also paid a visit to the city in 2013 but the World Cup will be something else.

Anyone doubting the popularity of the sport in Britain only has to go to a regional league such as the Central ones or others like Notts & Derby and West Midlands, to see the hundreds who turn out to do them. A World Cup though, with all the top stars male and female, will be a few levels on from that and the town had better be prepared to be swamped by fans!


The course Simon explained is in a major city park (Campbell Park) very close to the shopping centre. “It’s a park that doesn’t have huge differences in surface” says Simon “but it does have a lot of height change so you can make a nice course there. It’s also central in the country which is important with good links for teams, close to airports and the M1 so it’s all good.”

The sport has grown in Britain over the years says Simon and has become a big participation sport but he admits that fans have been starved of a pro mens race since the 1992 Worlds at Leeds where a British rider became a star in his own right, Roger Hammond (junior winner).

The last major international ‘cross race was the Europeans in Ipswich but that was only for Elite women and other categories but not Elite men. “I was determined to see Sven Nys race in the UK before he retires” says Simon. “If some of the kids here can see people like him race, it will be inspirational for the top end of the sport.”


“If we can do it for two or three years and young riders can get inspired to try ‘cross, that is what it is about. Also, if the thousands of people who show up have a great weekend watching ‘cross , that’s what we’re looking for too.”

Getting the event on TV will also be important says Simon. He explained how only in Belgium does the sport of cyclo-cross get good terrestrial television coverage but added that the online viewing figures for it have been huge.

Fingers crossed that the BBC/ITV or Channel 4 see the potential of the event and get involved. Online may be fine but for the sport to really take off here, it will need to be taken to the masses and why not as it’s every bit as exciting as any other cycling discipline. All we need are some more British stars to emerge in the men’s races as we have in the womens.

Good luck to Simon and his team in bringing the event to reality.



Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK