Get ready, ’cross fans! It’s time. The 74th edition of the UCI Cyclocross World Championships will take place from February 4 and 5 at the legendary Hoogerheide Cyclocross course in the Netherlands.
Hoogerheide is a fast, flat and technical course with an exceptional history. It’s been the traditional finish for the UCI Cyclocross World Cup since it was founded as a farewell for Adri van der Poel, father of one of the overall race favorites on the men’s side, Mathieu van der Poel, when he retired from racing (the elder van der Poel now designs the courses at Hoogerheide, including the World Champs course for this weekend. No pressure, MVDP!).
There won’t be any repeat champions this season with 2022 world champions Tom Pidcock and Marianne Vos pulling out of the event.
More From Bicycling
Here’s all the information you’ll need to watch this weekend
- What: The 2023 UCI Cyclocross World Championships
- When: Saturday, February, 4 and Sunday, February 5
- Where: Hoogerheide, Netherlands
- How to Watch: The weekend races will be livestreamed on FloBikes with a subscription. A subscription costs $150 for a year. Those in the U.S. should plan to get up early to watch the action live, but replays will also be available on FloBikes.
- Race Times – Saturday, February 4
- 5:00 a.m. – Junior Women
- 7:00 a.m. – U23 Men
- 9:00 a.m. – Elite Women
- Race Times – Sunday, February 5
- 5:00 a.m. – Junior Men
- 7:00 a.m. – U23 Women
- 9:00 a.m. – Elite Men
The next generation of ’cross rivalries unfold
Sports fans love a good rivalry, and pro cycling fans are no exception. Rivalries are one of the foundational things that spurs our growth from someone who just “watches a sport” to a dedicated fan. Epic rivalries are the pro cycling gateway drug. The biggest storyline of CX Worlds this year in the elite races is the culmination of two epic rivalries we’ve watched unfold all winter long.
Fem vs. Puck clash again for the women’s title!
The entire women’s UCI Cyclocross World Cup was essentially a battle between the two 20-year-old phenoms, Fem Van Empel (Jumbo Visma) and Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceunick), with Van Empel winning first place with just five more overall points than Pieterse.
Normally these riders would be racing in the U23 category in the World Championships, but they’re just…too good. Therefore they’re been going head-to-head in the Elite category, where no one else has been able to touch either of these riders. They’ll be racing in the Elite category once again during the World Championships as the two undisputed favorites for the rainbow jersey win.
Mathieu van der Poel vs. Wout van Aert for all the marbles!
It has also been hard to miss the excitement around the showdown during this year’s Cyclocross season between Peterse’s and Van Empel’s teammates, the two super-talents on the men’s side, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceunick) and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma). These riders were the two everyone was talking about during the World Cup (as they generally have been for the last several years) with van der Poel leading Van Aert by seventy-eight points by the end of the series.
The rivalry between these two goes back to each rider’s junior racing days, or maybe even further back, given the gene pool of these two riders. It takes on almost mythic proportions because not only are these so well matched in talent, there’s also a matter of national pride on the line. Van der Poel hails from the Netherlands, and Van Aert is from Belgium, and the fervor with which both of these countries obsess over cyclocross is similar to America’s love of football. And this weekend is a little like the Super Bowl.
The weather looks…bad…but that’s good!
The forecast is calling for a rainy weekend and this translates into one of the things cyclocross is known and loved for: mud. So set you alarms this weekend, and remember the saying that “anything can happen in ’cross” so while the race has its favorites, with unpredictable, muddy course conditions the rider who will ultimately stand on the podium in the end won’t be settled until the end of the bell lap.
Natascha Grief is a writer and NASM-certified personal trainer with two decades of experience in the cycling and fitness industries. She joined the editorial staff as News Editor for Bicycling Magazine in 2022.