World Championship Cyclocross 2022

Coming this weekend are the World Cyclocross Championships and multiple chances of podiums for the Great Britain team riders with Tom Pidcock and Zoe Backstedt strong favourites for the rainbow bands

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World Championship Cyclocross 2022

Coming this weekend are the World Cyclocross Championships and multiple chances of podiums for the Great Britain team riders:

Elite Men: Tom Pidcock, Ben Turner, Thomas Mein
U23 Men: Cameron Mason, Joe Blackmore
U23 Women: Harriet Harnden
Junior Men: Nathan Smith
Junior Women: Zoe Backstedt, Ella Maclean Howell

Note: Anna Kay was selected but unable to travel due to an injury from a crash last weekend and that will, if the regulations I have seen are used, stop GB from having a team in the relay event as a rider from the Elite Womens event is required and incomplete teams not allowed.

This is only the second time say the UCI, after Louisville in 2013, that the World Cyclocross Championships have been held in the USA. Many of the riders got a taste of what to expect last October when Fayetteville hosted the second round of the 2021-2022 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. World champion Lucinda Brand and Quinten Hermans were the big winners. Unfortunately for the latter rider, he’s tested positive for covid and won’t be racing.


The Fayetteville course was built especially for these championships and includes several spectacular features. It measures 3.1 km with 53 meters of altitude lost and gained on each lap. As normal for events at this level, the riders will start on tarmac before the riders race around wide grassy curves before plunging down a flowing descent into woodland. From the bottom of the hill, the course climbs steadily, still on wide trails, then crosses a series of short, steep banks. A big challenge will be the 39-step staircase followed by a sweeping descent and an ascending spiral around Fayetteville’s version of Stonehenge.

The Championships will kick off with the Team Relay event on Friday (January 28) where nations will select a team of six riders:
• 1 Men Elite rider
• 2 riders of the Men Under 23 or Men Junior categories
• 1 Women Elite rider
• 2 riders of the Women Under 23 or Women Junior categories

Each rider selected must already be entered for the individual UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships events. All riders will ride one entire lap before reaching the finish area and complete the relay by touching his/her next teammate in the exchange box. Incomplete teams are not allowed.

The first individual rainbow jerseys will be awarded in the Junior Women race, on Saturday morning, followed by the Men’s Under 23 and Elite Women events the same day. Junior Men, Women Under 23 and Elite Men will have their shot at glory on Sunday.

Can Pidcock bring home the rainbow stripes?
A world champion many times over in various categories and disciplines, Tom Pidcock will be racing for the Elite Men’s rainbow jersey without Wout van Aert or Mathieu van der Poel as rivals. “I certainly think there’s more opportunity this year” says Tom when it’s mentioned that Wout and Mathieu won’t be there. “I think, if I can win this year, then I’m world champion and then I can focus on beating them another year. So, it is kind of a blessing and sort of not good at the same time”.

Even though Wout and Mathieu won’t be there, Tom will still have a lot of rivals such as the team from Belgium like long time rival Eli Iserbyt, Michael Vanthourenhout and Toon Aerts. “I’m not entirely sure how well they’re going to work together to be honest. I mean, especially with no clear leader. They could all be racing against each other. So yeah, we’ll see, but I think I just need to stay out of trouble. Especially on the first few laps. I think it’s certainly going to be quite a hard course, but technically, I don’t think it’s so difficult.”

Other rivals for Tom could be the European Champion Lars van der Haar (Netherlands).

In the Women’s race
Following the three-year dominance established by Belgian Sanne Cant between 2017 and 2019, the Dutch team are favourites in a race which will be missing Britain’s Anna Kay who had a crash last weekend. The reigning UCI World Champion and winner of the 2021-2022 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Lucinda Brand is a natural favourite for a second victory in a row but nothing is ever guaranteed. “Marianne Vos is very experienced and she showed how strong she is,” Lucinda Brand said after Vos powered to her fourth UCI World Cup win of the season last Sunday. The Dutch icon will be chasing an eighth UCI Women Elite Cyclo-cross World Champion title.

Zoe Backstedt (Junior Women)
One of the popular favourites for another title is Zoe Backstedt, winner of the first three UCI Women Junior World Cup events of the season, before she withdrew from the Flamanville round, having returned a positive Covid-19 test. Already Junior UCI World Champion on the road, Backstedt is determined to take the rainbow stripes in cyclo-cross as well: “I had everything nailed for the Worlds last year in Belgium, I was in perfect condition and in my head I could see the podium. And then it was cancelled, I was devastated. All of my frustration has been put into this year’s Worlds.”

David Haverdings is a clear favourite in the Junior Men’s but Nathan Smith has shown already in Europe he is in the mix with the best riders and a podium or title may come his way and the same goes for Cameron Mason who had his first World Cup win to show that on his day, he is right up there with the best. The same goes for Harriet Harnden who will be in the mix for the Under 23 Women’s stripes and after her win in the Elite British championship, Harriet certainly looks like a good bet for a podium at the very least.

Good luck to the British team in the USA


Junior Men’s Startlist:

Junior Women Startlist:

Women Startlist:

Under 23 Women Startlist:

Under 23 Men Startlist:

Men’s Startlist:



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