This weekend it’s the start of one of the biggest and most important periods in the European cyclocross season, and I’m here to tell you how to watch them!
As always, to find out more about each of the races, head to tgsgirl’s CX calendar on Podium Café, which will give you an idea about which are the ones you might want to bookmark – and I’ve got more details on how to watch European CX in an earlier post. All men’s races start at 15:00 CET (2pm UK, 9am USA EST, 6am USA PST and 1am Aus AEDT) although the streams tend to start anywhere between half an hour and 10 minutes before that. I’ll add in links to any women’s race videos here after the races – and if you want to chat to me about the races, I’m on twitter as @_pigeons_ and will be in livethreads on Podium Café (look for them when the races are on)
Saturday 21st December – GP Rouwmoer Essen (bpost bank trofee #4)
The bpost bank trofee races are the hardest to follow for non-Belgians, both for the men’s and women’s races. Look for streams of the men’s race in the usual places – if you want highlights of the women’s race, check out Sporza’s Essen match center, which will also provide live updates and graphics all the way through the men’s race and tons of video clips after, and their videozone after the race, but don’t hold your breath….
UPDATE! Here’s the full video of the Belgian tv coverage, with a minute or two of the women at the start (starting around the 2:30 mark)
Sunday 22nd December – World Cup Namur (UCI CX World Cup #4)
This is one of the best races on the calendar for me – and here’s how gs described it in her Podium Café calendar:
The closest cyclocross comes to mountainbike is the Namur World Cup. It’s around the citadel of Namur, and races around the citadel rarely disappoint. It’s like a magical place of really good pure cycling. The inclines on the hills of WC Namur are very steep, both going up and coming down. They’re also very technical, so to win a supercombo of skill and power will be required. Amongst the highlights of the season for me, this one.
Plus, because it’s a World Cup, we see the return to CX of Marianne Vos, as part of her campaign to win her 7th Cyclocross World Championships title – she’s only got the World Cups on her calendar over the mid-winter period, and it’ll be her first race back since her operation, so she’ll likely be starting far back on the grid….. how will she do? Luckily, we’ll get to watch her race!
Because it’s a World Cup, both the women’s and men’s races will be streamed live on the UCI’s youtube and then archived in full in the same place, after the race is over:
UPDATE! Apparently this is geo-restricted if you’re in the USA (where someone must have bought the rights) but there is a solution! Add Hola or Tunnelbear, set yourself to the UK, and try with that. Apparently it then works fine.
The women’s race starts at 13:30 CET (12:30 UK) and the men’s at 15:00 CET – and if you play the video before the races have started, you’ll get a count-down clock to help you work out the time to the start of the show in your timezone. There’s usually a lag between the stream “start” and the actual stream – but commentary will be in English, by the always-entertaining Ant McCrossan. Sporza’a Match Center for the men’s race will be here.
UPDATE! Here’s an Omroep Brabant video, following Vos at the race:
And here are some video interviews with mostly USA riders from CyclingDirt – check out their Euro mid-winter video section for more from the men, but here are vids with Meredith Miller, Caroline Mani and Kaitie Antonneau after Namur.
Thursday 26th December – Heusden-Zolder (UCI CX World Cup #5)
Cyclocross riders tend to have very low-key Christmas and New Year celebrations, and this is one of the reasons why – Boxing Day sees the second World Cup in the same week, and another iconic Belgian race, around a holy hill, with a section of the course where spectators aren’t allowed. This will also be streamed live by the UCI – check out their youtube for the stream nearer the time. It’ll be same times and details as Namur – here’s the Sporza men’s race Match Center, which will have clips and info during and after the race.
UPDATE! Here’s the short Sporza video highlights of the race (click through and watch it to show them we love the women’s racing. And photo galleries from Balínt Hamvas (with lots of great ‘backstage’ action), another by Dan Seaton on VeloNews, photos on Cyclingnews and on Cyclocross Magazine. And here’s the Omroep Brabant Vos-based clip:
Friday 27th December – Azencross – Loenhout (bpost bank trofee #5)
This one has washboards, so jumpy riders – here’s hoping we get to see some of it. Look for streams of the men’s race in the usual places – hopefully there’ll be highlights of the women’s and men’s races on Sporza’s Azencross Match Center and videozone after the race.
Here’s a video of the full coverage, starting with short highlights of the junior & u23 men, and the women, before heading into the men’s race:
Sunday 29th December – Diegem (SuperPrestige #6)
This one starts later than usual (17:30 CET, 4:30pm UK, 11:30am USA EST, 8:30am USA PST and 3:30am AEST), so the men ride in the dark, under floodlights. Like all SuperPrestige races, the men’s race will be streamed here,with a twitter-ticker at the side, thanks to Belgian tv channel Vier (thanks Vier!) and while the women’s race won’t be streamed, clips will be shown in the half hour before the men’s starts, and put on their SuperPrestige video page (look for “vrouwen”). The Vier streams have been a bit flakey this year, which we can see as glass-half-empty (frustrating that we can’t always watch the races) or glass-half-full (demonstrating the demand for international streaming of CX, which shows how popular the sport is outside Belgium). There will probably be more information, and a preview video nearer the time on Vier’s CX portal and there’s a Match Center on Sporza.
UPDATE! Here are the short video highlights from Vier. And here are CyclingDirt’s video interview with 3rd placed Elle Anderson after the race – and one with Crystal Anthony. If you want to see the men’s race, here are the highlights and the full last lap from Vier.
Here are the lovely photos from Balínt Hamvas – I like the ones of Sven Nys’ tribute to his Colnago, and Tom Meeusen’s wheelie across the line into second!
Here’s a video of Vier’s full coverage, with the highlights of the women before the men start
Wednesday 1st January 2014 – GP Sven Nys, Baal (bpost bank trofee #6)
Happy New Year! Such a shame this race is bpost trofee, so might be hard to watch, because as you can imagine with a race named for World Champion and superstar Sven Nys, it’s a great technical course. Streams of the men’s race in the usual places – hopefully highlights of the women’s race on Sporza’s Baal Match Center and videozone after the race.
No video highlights yet, but Sporza’s short video highlights, and here’s a Sporza clip of what happened in the last lap, when Compton and Vos were racing together at the front… Interesting place to have a puncture….
UPDATE! Here’s CyclingDirt’s interview with Katie Compton after Baal, on beating Vos, her plans for Worlds, and one with Courtenay McFadden. And here’s the full coverage of the men’s race, with a tiny clip of the women at the start:
For a photo essay of the Kerstperiode races, check out Dan Seaton’s, on VeloNews
Sunday 5th January – Roma (UCI CX World Cup #6)
The penultimate race of the 2013/14 World Cup season is in Rome – and it’s one of those examples of the UCI’s push for internationalisation that can be controversial, when it results in courses that don’t have the history or excitement of some of the traditional races. Here’s hoping for rain or snow! It’ll be same times and details as Namur – here’s the Sporza men’s race Match Center. The women’s race will be shown live, as will the men’s – here’s the stream on the UCI youtube:
After that, the riders get to breathe and relax for a little while, until the National Championships on 13th January, and the build-up to the end of the World Cup at Nommay, in France, on 29th January and the Cyclocross World Championships in Hoogerheide, in the Netherlands, on 1st February – gsgirl’s calendar will tell you a lot more!
If you want to know how to follow the women’s races on twitter, and where I go to for the best photos, check out my “How to watch CX” guide – and I’ll remind you about Roma nearer the time. Happy holidays!