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Thus far this Elite Women’s European season, cyclocross fans have quickly become acquainted with a number of new stars.

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon – Circus) and Annemarie Worst (777) have both taken their ’cross game to new levels, and Yara Kastelijn (777) and Inge van der Heijden (777) have rocketed to the top of the Elite Women’s peloton this season.

The impact the young Dutch women have had  on Euro racing has made Sanne Cant (IKO – Beobank) and Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions), ages 29 and 30, respectively, kind of the “old guard” in the field.

In the coming weeks, some additional star power will be added to the Women’s ’cross peloton mix with Marianne Vos (CCC – Liv), Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon Factory Racing) and Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing CX) set to start racing cyclocross once again.

Marianne Vos

Last season, Vos spoiled cyclocross fans by starting her season at the U.S. World Cups and continuing to race through the end of the season where she finished third at Bogense Worlds. This year, Vos opted to extend her road season into the fall and race with the Dutch team at Road Worlds in Yorkshire.

Marianne Vos spoiled U.S. cyclocross fans last year. 2018 World Cup Waterloo. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

Marianne Vos spoiled U.S. cyclocross fans last year. 2018 World Cup Waterloo. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

After a break, the seven-time world champion is set to return this Saturday at Ethias Cross Essen. The race will kick off an abbreviated seven-race season for the Dutch star. The races on her schedule include:

  • December 7 – Ethias Cross Essen
  • December 22 – World Cup Namur
  • December 26 – World Cup Zolder
  • January 5 – GP Brussels
  • January 12 – Dutch Nationals
  • January 26 – World Cup Hoogerheide
  • February 2 – World Championships Dübendorf

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot

Ferrand-Prevot missed the 2018/19 cyclocross season after a leg condition that required her to have surgery. Her pending return to cyclocross no doubt has the chance to shake up the scene, with Ferrand-Prevot capping a monster mountain bike season by winning her second XCO world championship at Mont-Sainte-Anne in Canada. The title was her fourth Elite rainbow jersey after she famously won the Cyclocross, Road and XCO Mountain Bike titles in 2015.

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is returning to race cyclocross this January and February. 2017 Vlaamse Druivencross. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is returning to race cyclocross this January and February. 2017 Vlaamse Druivencross. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

With Tokyo 2020 coming up this summer, Ferrand-Prevot is also racing an abbreviated cyclocross schedule. She will start with a French race in December and then make her international debut at the EKZ Cross Tour race on New Year’s Day.

  • December 27 – Regional Cross Eckwersheim (France)
  • January 1 – EKZ Cross Tour Meilen
  • January 4 – Troyes Cyclocross International (France)
  • January 12 – French Nationals
  • January 19 – World Cup Nommay
  • January 26 – World Cup Hoogerheide
  • February 2 – World Championships Dübendorf

Jolanda Neff

While U.S. ’cross fans missed Vos this fall, they did get to see the megawatt star power of Jolanda Neff. Fresh off a silver medal at XCO Worlds, the Swiss star affectionately known in some parts as Sendy Poof put on a show at the Trek CX Cup and came close to the win by finishing second at World Cup Waterloo.

Jolanda Neff put on a show in Waterloo this September. Elite Women, 2019 Trek CX Cup. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

Jolanda Neff put on a show in Waterloo this September. Elite Women, 2019 Trek CX Cup. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

The World Cups represented the end tail end of a long summer of racing for Neff, and she has since returned home to the Swiss mountains to rest and recharge. Although her focus is primarily getting ready for the 2020 mountain bike season, she did recently head to Dübendorf to check out the 2020 World Championships course.


Featured image: Bart Hazen