Kortrijk on Saturday, the Irish capital Dublin on Sunday. Those are the two big events to watch for the global cyclo-cross world this weekend. A number of big names have opted to skip the overseas race, partly due to logistical problems, but there is still plenty to look forward to! IDLProCycling.com explains the ins and outs.
Last season, the cyclo-cross world descended upon Ireland for the first time, where we got to witness a duel between Wout van Aert and world champion Tom Pidcock. The Belgian ultimately triumphed, while Fem van Empel won the women's race.
While the cyclo-cross riders came to Dublin in mid-December last season, this year the event is taking place in the last weekend of November. In the capital of Ireland, however, there won't be too much focus on cyclo-cross these days: on Thursday, a man attacked several children with a knife, leading to riots across Dublin.
Latest Cyclo-cross World Cup winners Dublin
2022 Wout van Aert / Fem van Empel.
Course, weather and times Cyclo-cross World Cup Dublin 2023
While places like Benidorm and Saturday's host city of Kortrijk opt for a cyclo-cross in the city center, in Dublin, the event is held in the suburbs of the city. This isn't surprising, as they have the Sport Ireland Campus there, an area that breathes sports and can easily accommodate a large number of spectators.
Compared to last year's first Cyclo-cross World Cup, not much has changed in the course. From the map below, we can see that the first material post is reached quite quickly, followed by a more technical section. Shortly after, we encounter the barriers, followed by a second zone with more turns, which then leads to a section through the sand.
Through the second passage at the material post, there are some longer stretches over the Irish grass, and then we reach the finish line on this slightly more than three kilometer long circuit.
Those traveling to Dublin during this time of the year can expect wind and rain. Rain is forecast in the Irish capital on Sunday, although the days leading up to it are expected to be dry. On the day of the race, scattered rainfall is expected throughout the day, with temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius.
Start women: 2:10 p.m.
Finish women: 3:00 p.m.
Start men: 3:40 p.m.
Finish men: 4:45 p.m.
Favorites women's Cyclo-cross World Cup Dublin 2023
Neither Fem van Empel (Jumbo-Visma) nor Puck Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck) will race on Sunday, as they are only participating in the X2O Trophy event in Kortrijk on Saturday. Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) is skipping this weekend altogether, leading us to Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who has been performing exceptionally well this season and is again on the participants list this time around.
The Dutch rider has not finished off the podium in any cyclo-cross race this season and won the last four races, including the World Cups in Dendermonde and Troyes. During the latter, Lucinda Brand also stood on the podium as usual: the Dutch rider has now moved to Belgium, from where she is tackling the challenging Kortrijk-Dublin double whammy.
There are also plenty of outsiders. What about European Championship revelation Sara Casasola (FAS Airport Services - Guerciotti), who continues her strong form? Or the Belgian mud queen Marion Norbert-Riberolle (Crelan-Corendon), who is also increasingly finding her rhythm? And the British riders Zoe Backstedt (Canyon/SRAM) and Anna Kay (Cyclocross Reds), for whom his race will likely be on the preferred side of Europe? We will also be keeping an eye on the Canadian Maghalie Rochette and Marie Schreiber (SD Worx).
Several Dutch riders are also making the trip and likely hoping for a podium position. We are primarily thinking of Inge van der Heijden (Crelan-Corendon), Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Aniek van Alphen (Cyclocross Reds), but let's not forget Manon Bakker (Crelan-Corendon) and Leonie Bentveld (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) either.
Favorites women's Cyclo-cross World Cup Dublin, according to IDLProCycling.com
Top favorite: Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
Outsiders: Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) and Inge van der Heijden (Crelan-Corendon)
Long shots: Sara Casasola (FAS Airport Services - Guerciotti), Marion Norbert-Riberolle (Crelan-Corendon), Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Aniek van Alphen (Cyclocross Reds)
Favorites men's Cyclo-cross World Cup Dublin 2023
In the men's category, we see that Lars van der Haar, among others, will not be starting: the Dutch Baloise Trek Lions rider, who is second in the World Cup standings, was willing but found the logistical relocation too demanding. However, Eli Iserbyt of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal, who won last Sunday in Troyes, is going for a double whammy and is not only on the participants list for Dublin, but he is the top favorite as well.
The main competition is likely to come from the Baloise Trek Lions camp, which starts without Van der Haar and Joris Nieuwenhuis but brings Pim Ronhaar and Thibau Nys to the race. Both the young Dutchman (winner in Dendermonde) and the Belgian (winner in Waterloo) have already won a World Cup this year, so they certainly have what it takes to challenge Iserbyt.
Iserbyt's teammate, Michael Vanthourenhout, also returns after a period of some issues, but we don't expect too much from the European champion just yet. Cameron Mason, the European Championship revelation of Cyclocross Reds, is also participating. Expectations are higher for him, and the same goes for Ryan Kamp of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal, who is in good form.
Additionally, Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Gerben Kuypers (Circus-ReUz-Technord) have shown some impressive performances this winter, while Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Corendon) still seems to be searching for a significant victory. Finally, Witse Meeussen, Joran Wyseure, Toon Vandebosch (Crelan-Corendon) and Kevin Kuhn (Circus-ReUz-Technord) are definitely also worth mentioning.
Favorites men's Cyclo-cross World Cup Dublin, according to IDLProCycling.com
Top favorite: Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal)
Outsiders: Pim Ronhaar and Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions)
Long shots: Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds), Gerben Kuypers (Circus-ReUz-Technord) and Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Corendon)
TV Cyclo-cross World Cup Dublin 2023
Eurosport will broadcast both events live on Eurosport 1 as well as the online channels. It is possible that the Dutch NOS will also cover the World Cup in its afternoon broadcast. Sporza will broadcast a summary of both races on VRT1 from 5:30pm onwards.