2016 Cyclocross World Champs rider Q&As part 3: Ellen van Loy and Åsa Erlandsson

Tomorrow it’s the 2016 women’s u23 and elite Cyclocross World Championships, and to celebrate, I’ve not only got Part 3 of my Rider Q&As, with Ellen van Loy and Åsa Erlandsson, I’ve also got links to other pre-race coverage I’ve been enjoying and that’s been recommended by other cyclocross fans.  It’s going to be such a great set of races!

If you’ve missed them, here’s my pre-race coverage so far:

Special thanks to Helen and Marianne for putting me in touch with other riders


Ellen van Loy

One of the top favourites is Ellen van Loy, one of the Belgians racing for Young Telenet-Fidea, and found on the podiums throughout the season, and winning the SuperPrestige Diegem. After she was third in the Zolder World Cup in December, she’ll definitely be one to watch tomorrow, especially in front of a home crowd…

ProWomensCycling: What do you think of the Zolder World Championships course?

Ellen van Loy:  I’m happy the race isn’t that different than the World Cup in December. We know the course, it makes it little less stressful, I think. Of course, with the expected rain, some sections will be little different.

PWC:  Is it strange, racing it so soon after the Zolder World Cup?  Or is that good for you?

EvL:  For me it’s good!! I have Some really good memories at that race!!  I hope I have the  same wings to fly over the track!!

I want to end the race with a good and strong feeling. On a good day, I can ride onto the podium, so let’s pray for such a day!

PWC:  How’s your season been?  What have been the highlights or lows?

EvL:  My season so far is again, really consistent, and that makes me happy and proud. I had some bad feelings and races during November and that made me little more stressed. After a few weeks, suddenly the good feeling came back and also the good results. The highlights are definitely my 2 wins, Boom and Diegem.

PWC:  For people who’ve never watched CX, or CX Worlds, why should they watch this year?

EvL:  They’re gonna see what a big party (and circus sometimes) CX is in Belgium. They have to watch the women’s races because they’re gonna be a spectacle, a lot of women are showing their strong condition, so it’s gonna be harder than hard! And may the strongest win!

PWC:  Women’s cyclocross in Belgium is doing so well at the moment – what do you think helps that?

EvL:  First of all and maybe the most important reason: a lot of talented young riders.. They work hard and have a good mentality. Sometimes they are already in a big team but in the end, they have to ride the Bike..they can have an interesting contract but you don’t receive a pair of strong legs 😉

Secondly I think more and more riders have the experience of riding at a high level. That makes them little more relaxed, I think. You have to start with your own force. If you can work to a good and strong condition, results comes automatically.

PWC: Worlds in Belgium is always special – as a Belgian rider, how does it feel racing Worlds at home?

EvL: It’s easy for us, same language, not far from home, even more spectators near the track, Belgian food. I’m looking forward to race in front of these thousands of people, I hope they scream me to the top!

PWC:  What have been your favourite memories from World Championships?

EvL:  Each year I’m happy to be part of the national team, so each year and each edition is special. But last year, I was a spectator on Sunday. It was interesting to see the men’s race and feel the atmosphere around the circuit. All the Belgian fans cheering for their Belgian team!

There’s another interview with Ellen about Worlds on CX Magazine, and of course you can find out more about her on her website, and follow her twitter.


Åsa Erlandsson

 Åsa Erlandsson is a Swedish cross country MTB rider who races Cyclocross over the winter, and when she’s not on her bike, you can find her drawing and painting.

ProWomensCycling: What do you think of the Zolder World Championships course?

Åsa Erlandsson:  It’s a nice course. Fast, with some technical parts. In the last two years they have added some more technical parts and a very steep climbs which I really like a lot. For me as a Mountainbiker it’s hard on the fast flat sections, but I hope to be able to use my skills on this technical and hilly sections.

PWC:  Is it strange, racing it so soon after the Zolder World Cup?  Or is that good for you?

ÅE: For me it’s normal to race a lot as I feel I lose some speed when not doing it. As an older rider I feel I have to race more to stay in shape.

PWC:   How’s your season been?  What have been the highlights or lows?

ÅE:  The season has been up, down and up again. In the pre-season I had two really good CX races in China, with a 1st and a 3rd. That is the highlight i think!

I was really disappointed finished 6th at our Swedish Nationals in October,  after a period feeling really exhausted. But we found out that I had very low levels of Iron and Magnesium in my body. So after some rest and supplements, my performance turned up again.

PWC:   For people who’ve never watched CX, or CX Worlds, why should they watch this year?

ÅE: It’s going to be a really exiting race in all categories. You have the speed, the technical parts and the tactics and maybe some mud. It’s all in a short time (40-60 minutes), it will never be boring, and the crowd is going to be amazing!

PWC:  What are your hopes for Saturday’s race?

ÅE: It’s really hard to say what place I want to be in the results. Of course as good as possible!

It is the first time we race with only elite women at Worlds, so there may be fewer racers on the startline, but all of them are really good riders so everyone is going to have a really good fight. I’m not a top rider, so for me it’s more that I want to do my very best race of this year, go hard, and get the flow and see how I end up at the end. Hope to inspire some more Swedish riders to get a spot for next year.

PWC:  Cyclocross isn’t that big in Sweden, how did you get into the sport?

ÅE:  We have a small national series in Sweden, but it’s growing every year. One year at the beginning of it I was asked by one of our local clubs in Gothenburg to take part in their round of the series, just 2kilometers from where I live. They offered to lend me a cyclocross bike for the race, and so I did. I went to the start line without knowing how to shift properly, started the race -and loved it! After that it took some years for me to start compete on a more serious level, but when I did, I found it even more fun. It became a big passion.

PWC:  And what is it that you love about it?  How is it different to MTB?

ÅE:  I love that it’s almost full speed from the beginning to the end. It’s like a 10k running race, you have to push yourself all the time. Also that the CX race is about half of the time of a cross country race. Even if the races are in that high intensity, I feel that after the shorter race time, I recover faster from this races compared to XCo MTB races, and that I can do more races compare to cross country and marathons. Also I like that every course can be so different, and that you need a lot of different skills. From high speed on asphalt and grass to slow running in the mud or deep sand. Also when you race in Belgium you have the spectators.

The biggest differences from MTB are that MTB races are more technical, laps are longer, climbs are longer, descents are longer and more demanding, but on the other side you have a bike that are situated for that terrain, with wide tires and suspension.

I love both disciplines, to choose a favourite would be impossible.

Follow Åsa on her website and twitter.  And of course, check out her illustrations and webshop!


More previews and media

  • A great interview with Spanish rider Mercè Pacios Pujadó, in English and Spanish, on El Pelotón.
  • Italian star Eva Lechner
  • Junior Italian riders Francesca Baroni and Sara Casasola talk about Worlds (Italian)
  • Interview with the Canadian team manager Scott Kelly about the team goals and Canadian CX in general

If you’ve seen more media you’ve enjoyed, let me know, either in the comments or on twitter, and I’ll edit it in.

Big thanks to my wonderful Patreon supporters, who fund me to do this kind of thing – click through if you’d like to join them, from as little as £1.50/$2 a month.


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