The 'cross worlds is 65 years old this year but it’s far from drawing its pension – the 2015 edition on 31 January to 1 February in Tabor, Czech Republic takes place when the profile of the sport is on a high.
Here are five top facts to make you look like a cowbell-ringing, frites-and-mayo eating aficionado.
1. The first cyclo-cross world championships took place way back in 1950 in Paris, making 2015 the 65th anniversary of the event. Prior to 1950, the annual Criterium International du Cyclo-Cross in France was the considered to be the unofficial world championships.
2. This year’s championships takes place in Tabor, Czech Republic, home-country of 2014 elite men’s champion Zdenek Stybar, who took his third world title in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. The last time the worlds visited Czech Republic in 2010, Stybar took a home win but this year the Czech is sidelined with a shoulder injury.
3. Marianne Vos (who else?) is the current elite women’s world champion and is in great form. Among her staggering palmares, Vos has won the women’s ‘cross world title seven times.
4. The world championships have been held in Great Britain three times – London in 1973, Birmingham in 1983 and Leeds in 1992, when the home crowds were treated to a memorable British victory by Roger Hammond in the junior category. Hammond went on to win the British elite title eight times, land a podium place at Paris-Roubaix and become a successful directeur sportif.
5. No British rider has ever won the elite men’s or women’s event. Louise Robinson was closest in the inaugural women’s event in 2000 – winning a silver medal, while Helen Wyman came near with a bronze medal in 2014 at Hoogerheide.