One of the fun, idiosyncratic things about cyclocross and it’s place in Belgian culture is that while most other sportspeople breathe a sigh of relief and take a break over the Christmas and New Year period, the CX riders ramp up the racing. No huge dinners on Christmas Day or big nights out on New Year’s Eve – instead there are some of the biggest races of the season on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. And for fans of women’s cyclocross, this year we get a huge heap of presents, as this season has the most live racing ever! I’m here to tell you what’s on when, and how you can watch it. Happy CXmas! (TM Renaat Schotte!)
Unless otherwise stated, women’s races start at 13:45 European CET (12:45pm UK GMT, 7:45am North American EDT and 11:45pm Aussie AEDT) except the World Cups, which start 15 minutes earlier, and the men’s races pretty much always start at 15:00 CET (2pm GMT, 9am EDT and 1am AEDT), with the tv starting around 10 mins earlier, which makes life easier – and my general advice on finding streams, VPNs etc, is in this post.
Saturday 26th December 2015: Cyclocross World Cup 2015-6 #5 – Heusden-Zolder
Zolder is where the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships will be held, and as fits a course held in the grounds of a famous motorsports track, it’s always fast and furious, with an unusual part where the course climbs up to a chapel, on land where there are no spectators, as it’s holy ground.
They also have a television schedule here to show you what’s being shown in different countries. It’s also live on Belgian tv channels één and Play Sports. Those UCI links will also have the archived race after it’s over – and it could be geo-restricted in some countries. Click through now, and if you can see the countdown, you’re fine, but if not, you should be able to find streams here or here, or check my post upthread for how to find VPNs to help you watch.
The women’s World Cup starts at 13:30 CET (12:30pm UK GMT; 7:30am North American EDT and 11:30pm Aussie AEDT) and the men’s start at 15:00 CET. There’s more information about the Cyclocross World Cup on the UCI’s portal – including the startlists and series standings. There’s bizarrely little information about the race on the Circuit Zolder website, but you’ll be able to get news from Sporza’s Zolder matchcenter as the men’s race happens, with little video clips, and maybe the women’s too.
Sunday 27th December: Superprestige #6 – Diegem
The Superprestige series used to be shown on Belgian channel vier, and they used to have the best and longest women’s race highlights, and stream the men’s races round the world, unrestricted. But this year they’ve moved to Play.tv, a pay-for station, and we don’t even see women’s highlights. Essentially, it only exists for that small number of customers, which is bizarre, as Play is owned by Telenet, one of the sponsors of the biggest women’s Cyclocross team, Young Telenet Fidea. But the Superprestige is traditionally the least good at women’s races.
So, we won’t see Diegem, which is a shame for men’s race fans, as this one’s the floodlit race, unless streams appear on the usual places – Update! There are 2 stream options showing for the men here, so they might work? – and pretty much no chance of seeing the women. They ride at 15:30 CET (2:30pm GMT; 9:30am EST; 1:30am AEDT) and the men start at 17:30 CET. The Sporza Diegem Matchcenter is here, and there’s more information on the Superprestige Diegem page, and on the race website.
All the next races start at 13:45 CET for the women and 15:00 CET for the men….
Tuesday 29th December: bpost bank trofee #6 – Azencross Loenhout
This is one riders seem to talk really positively about. The course has some long stretches around football fields, and it’s often very muddy, and I usually love it for the washboards – those manmade little jumps that make the riders hop, and this season I love it even more, because it’s part of the bpost bank trofee, so streamed LIVE! HAPPY DAYS! There’ll be the Sporza stream which you can get to, along with tons of information and video clips via their Azencross Matchcenter, and the same stream on the bpost page that goes up on the day of each race, or via this link. If they’re restricted and you can’t VPN in, there should be streams here or here.
Friday 1st January 2016: bpost bank trofee #7 – GP Sven Nys, Baal
bpost again, and this is going to be a very special event, as it’s the last time Sven Nys will race this, his home race. Expect the Sven fanclub out in full voice – and a tough race, just as you’d imagine from one named for Nys, with lots of true ‘cross features, all technical and usually a mud-hell. And it’s the penultimate round of the bpost trofee, so riders will be going all out to gain valuable time on their rivals.
Again, the women will be streamed on Sporza as well as the men, and you can find the stream via the Sporza GP Sven Nys Matchcenter, the same stream on the bpost page that goes up on the day of each race, or via this link. And, of course, more streams here or here. More information on the bpost page and the race website. It’s going to be a wonderful way to start 2016!
Sunday 3rd January: Soudal Classics #5 – Leuven
Sporza have also streamed the Soudal Classics this year – they were a small number of great races that I hope will take over from Superprestige as the third major series, because hey, we can see them! It’s a relatively new race, and the course has included some really steep parts.
Amazing! I’ll put up a post with videos, photos and more here after all that’s over – and if you want to see all the media I find as I find it, check out my women’s cycling tumblr and my twitter, when I’ll be posting as I go.
As always, I’m funded to do this sort of thing by my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you so much! Join them, for as little as $2/month, and I’ll be eternally grateful.