I’ve just seen the really great news that Belgian tv station Sporza is going to be showing all the women’s Bpost Bank Trofee races for the next three years, as well as the women’s World Cups, all without geo-restrictions – starting this weekend, with Ronse – so what better time to tell you how to follow the races?
For any cyclocross newbies, I’ll include which ones you really should watch, and while I’ll focus on the European circuit, I’ll include some details of the USA as well – but if you want to start at the beginning, my CX in a sentence: Riders race laps of a course that includes man-made and natural obstacles like sand, hills, barriers and SO MUCH MUDDY CARNAGE! which is so hard they have to get off and run with the bikes at points – they race for an hour (50 mins for the women) and the first across the line wins! Helen Wyman once described it as “the muddiest, funnest sport of attrition” and that sums it up nicely!
If you want more than that, there’s a great newbie guide to cyclocross, Cyclocross Q&A and a short primer on why CX is so awesome over on Podium Café, and there are four What is cyclocross? videos on Behind the Barriers, explaining the sport in general, starts, cornering and barriers & obstacles, presented by US pro Jeremy Powers.
The cyclocross season has officially begun, so it’s time for my now-traditional interview with the wonderful Helen Wyman. We talk about the first Cyclocross World Cup of 2015/6, Cross Vegas, the first big cyclocross drama of the season, the interpretation of the UCI feeding rules at Ellison Park CX, and her collaboration with Velocio.cc to create a gorgeous cycling kit. But we don’t stop there – there’s her role on the UCI CX Commission, the new u23 women’s Worlds category the impact the changes in the last few years have had on the sport, and tons more. I could always talk to Helen for hours, so this is a long one!
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To find out more about Helen, check out her website and her page on the Kona team website, follow her twitter and like her facebook page. And check out her cycling kit collaboration with Velocio.cc – look out the the new items, including men’s kit, that are still to come, as well as the existing women’s kit.
As well as Cross Vegas, Helen will be racing USA ‘cross the Midnight Ride in Lancaster MA on 24th September and the Grand Prix of Gloucester (MA) weekend on 26th & 27th September – if you’d like to go to her cyclocross workshops at the Midnight Ride, on 22nd and 23rd September, here’s where you can sign up.
You can find the details of the other three big cyclocross series via these links: the World Cup, the Superprestige and the bpost bank trofee (still the 2014/15 site, but likely updated soon) and the full UCI CX Calender is on their site. There’s more about the new U23 women’s category at Worlds on the UCI site too, and if you want to watch and follow this year’s women’s CX in Europe and the USA , here’s my 2014/5 guide, which I’ll update nearer the Euro season start.
If you want to check out my previous interviews with Helen, they’re here:
I’m funded to do these interviews by my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you so much! If anyone would like to join them, for as little as $1 a month, click here.
So much racing, so much fun – and the next fortnight will be full of muddy winter CX excitement. The weekend kicked off in Essen for the 5th round of the 2014/15 bpost bank trofee, the GP Rouwmoer. Here’s the short Sporza highlights video – and there are the usual lovely photos on cyclephotos.co.uk.
Full results on the race website, more photos of all the Essen races, race report on Cyclingnews, and a race report with a few photos on CX Magazine’s site.
Then Sunday, and on of the most gorgeous courses in cyclocross, the Namur World Cup. Oh, it’s beautiful, and oh it’s tough – all sharp climbs, steep descents and an off-camber section that’s just brutal. Thanks to the UCI, we can watch the full race replay video – but I do caveat that the technical side was a bit wonky, so we don’t have any of the course noise, or atmosphere. It may be geo-restricted in some countries – if it is for you, try Hola or Tunnelbear set to the UK and refresh (turn your tunnelbear off as soon as the stream’s running, to save your allocation). Here’s the highlights video, with an interview with the winner, Kateřina Nash:
I was very, very, very happy to be at the Milton Keynes Cyclocross World Cup yesterday, so of course I’m going to be watching the videos to relive it!
Here’s the UCI highlights:
There are more brief highlights on Sporza, and if you want to watch the full race, it’s archived here. (Restricted in your country? Try Hola or Tunnelbear, set to the UK – if you use Tunnelbear, turn it off once the stream kicks in to save your allocation).
UPDATE! Here’s some on-bike camera footage from Katie Compton‘s bike. I love bikecam, this has added mud!
I recorded the press conference questions with Sanne Cant after her win, and you can listen to it here – and there are 4 more interviews, before and after the race, on my Soundcloud.
UPDATE! I love Balint Hamvas’ photos on Cyclephotos.co.uk – I was grinning in recognition at all the rider and crowd smiles. If you want to know what I thought of the day, listen to my podcast with Ben Atkins, about what it was like at the race, and what it means for the season.
Last winter, young Dutch cyclocross star Sophie de Boer had been thinking about giving up cycling – she’d had a hard season, with mechanicals, crashes and sickness, and after losing her team, it looked like she might not be able to race at all. So it’s great to see her taking a huge step up for the 2014/15 season, winning her first big race at the bpost bank trofee race Ronse, following it up with victory at one of the most famous cyclocross races, Koppenbergcross, and wearing the World Cup leader’s jersey after two rounds. We talked about the season so far, how she’s been able to take that step, what she’s learned, and much more. (36:20 MIN / 34.87 MB)
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Find out more about Sophie on her website, and make sure you’re following her twitter and facebook. Her team, Kalas-NNOF are on facebook too.
Watch the highlights of Sophie’s great start to the 2014/15 season – her wins in the bpost bank trofee Ronse and of course the Koppenbergcross, and her podium places at the World Cups in Valkenburg and Koksijde, and SuperPrestige Gieten. And there’s a Dutch interview with her after Valkenburg here
Sophie will be racing Milton Keynes in the Cyclocross World Cup leader’s jersey on Saturday 29th November, and you can watch her live. And if you want to follow the rest of the women’s CX this season, here’s how.
My podcast interviews are made possible by my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you all so much! To find out more about supporting me, head over to my Patreon page.
The Euro Cyclocross season has started, with the first Superprestige and bpost bank trofee races having already run (video here! SP Gieten and bpost Ronse) – so it’s the right time of the year to share how I’ll be watching and following the season. (If you’d like a Spanish-language guide, here’s El Pelotón‘s)
First of all, if you’re new to the wonderful world of cyclocross, there are three big season-long series – the UCI World Cup, bpost bank trofee and SuperPrestige, as well as some standalone races. The first two have season-long competitions as well as individual race results, and I’d say that World Cup is the most important. My good friend tgsgirl, who writes most of the words in Bálint Hamvas’ gorgeous cyclocross annuals, writes an annual calendar of races for Podium Café, which describes what they’re like – I highly recommend Part 1 of the calendar, to help get an idea of what to watch. November this year looks unbelievable, with the weekend of 1st & 2nd having Koppenbergcross (the Ronde van Vlaanderen of CX! The first C1 Euro race with equal prize money for women!) and Zonhoven (in a super-steep sandpit), 22ndis Koksijde World Cup (sand-dune chaos!), and 29th the first World Cup in the UK, Milton Keynes. Happiness!
It’s pretty crazy, but bike races in Europe have major prize differentiations between women and men – and it runs across different kinds of racing. Last week there was a great “first” – the Koppenbergcross became the first European C1 cyclocross race to offer equal prizes, and it’s especially interesting because the money behind it – just €5,000! – was put up by Twenty20 Cycling, a 2-shop bike company based in Baltimore USA. So political, I love it, the fact it takes a USA bike shop to bring this step towards equality to Europe!
Kona rider Helen Wyman has been instrumental in making this happen, and I interviewed her last week on Podium Café about the process, the politics, and why it means so much more than just money. More things you might like to read about this include:
And follow them all on twitter – Koppenbergcross, Twenty20 and Helen Wyman.
Here’s hoping that other cyclocross races follow suit – and the road races with women’s and men’s editions, like Flèche Wallonne, Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Ronde van Vlaanderen step up too.
Update! Here’s this week’s GCN News video, with Helen talking about all this