Preview: 2010 Cyclo-Cross World Championships
Tabor, Czech Republic - Jan 30-31 2010
The sixtieth edition of the UCI World Cyclocross World Championships start this Friday; British Cycling Online will bring you live coverage from the races and behind the scenes of the GB camp.
Tabor plays host to the 2010 UCI World Cyclocross Championships this weekend for the first time in nine years, and with home hero Zdenek Stybar in form tension is building ahead cyclocross racing's biggest calendar race.
However, to count out a Belgian, or even Dutch winner would be a grave error. Both squads have strength in depth and the capability to play the team-tactics which would suit a fast, frozen course - the conditions currently prevailing in Tabor which is forecast to receive further snow over the week and temperatures as low as -20 centigrade.
The course, used for the Czech Championships three weeks ago will be slightly different to this computer-impression (just imagine lots of white instead of brown) giving the race advantage to the fast men over the strong men.
UCI course inspection 10:00-12:00
Official training 14:00-16:00
Official training 14:00-16:00
Team managers meeting 17:00-17:30
Juniors Men 11:00
Under 23 Men 14:00
Elite Men 14:00
Travelling to the Czech Republic on Wednesday the eleven-strong British team headed by Phil Dixon will look for their best results in Sunday's women's Elite race where Gabriella Day, Helen Wyman, Annie Last and Nikki Harris aim to repeat or better their string of top-20 results recorded in the final round of the World Cup held last weekend.
In that race Wyman finished 13th, Harris 15th and Last 16th; all within three minutes of winner Marianne Vos. The Dutchwoman's impressive margin of 33 seconds on countrywomen Sanne Van Passen and Daphny Van Den Brand cements her credentials as favourite to retain the title of World Champion; while mountain bikers Katerina Nash and Eva Lechner are good outside bets for the podium. American Katie Compton is not expected to make the start.
Wyman, the current British Champion has built her career as a cyclo-cross specialist alongside Gabriella Day and in this years selection are been by Nikki Harris who in the last 18 months has reduced her road, track and mountain bike duties for a specialist ‘cross programme.
Annie Last is the odd rider out of quartet; the 19-year-old mountain biker who has exploded onto the scene in her first senior season travels to the World Championships for good experience and the genuine potential to finish within the top ten.
In the men's race the task will fall to National Trophy winner Paul Oldham, British Champion Jody Crawforth and Britain's only full-time cyclocross rider Ian Field, to overcome the best racers on the planet.
Field, who has based himself on the continent in 2009/10 has recorded some impressive results in a season that has been unashamedly focussed on performances at the British and World Championships. For Field this is the first opportunity to show his one-day capabilities which have been hinted at with 15th at Erpe Mere, 25th at Koppenburg and a top-30 World Cup finish amongst others.
Current British Champion Jody Crawforth may have forgone the chance to defend his title following the postponement of the event, but select performances in the National Trophy and continental events have shownhis ability to race at the highest level.
The final four riders who travel to Tabor are Juniors Dan McLay, Luke Gray, Tom Moses and Luke Grivell-Mellor. The top performers in the National Trophy all have some experience of European racing and for Moses and McLay this will be their second year racing at the World Championships and an opportunity to build on the lessons learned last time around.
Stay tuned to British Cycling Online for expert insight, rider interviews and live coverage of the racing throughout the week.