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With December now here, some athletes are making plans to get their cyclocross seasons started.

Marianne Vos (WaowDeals Pro Cycling) has perfected the late-season start throughout her career, but this year she upended her usual plans and kicked off her season in September at the U.S. World Cups. The change has worked thus far, with the Dutch living legend currently leading the World Cup overall series.

Today, we have a look at some other riders and their plans to hit the mud and ruts this December.

Jolanda Neff is Back

Last season, 2017 mountain bike XCO world champion Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) did her first full cyclocross campaign. It ended unfortunately short in a crash in Hoogerheide, but Neff returned quickly from her bad break to race on the mountain bike just six weeks later.

Following the 2018 XCO World Championships, the Swiss star signed with Trek Factory Racing to join Ellen Noble, Evie Richards and Emily Batty for the upcoming mountain bike season.

She will be wearing her new colors later this month when she starts the Namur and Zolder Cyclocross World Cups.

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Happy December, everyone! 🍾😄💖 we‘ve got one month left of what has already been an amazing 2018! In fact, it was the most successful year of my life. Despite starting of with a nasty crash in January which saw me break both my collarbone and elbow, I managed to race the first MTB World Cup just 6 weeks later in South Africa and finish on 6th place. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and fight through pain, especially when it matters for the overall World Cup! From South Africa onwards I finished every xco race in the top 5 🎉 and every World Cup in the top 3 😊✨ it was Albstadt 1st, Nove Mesto 2nd, Val di Sole 3rd, Vallnord 2nd, Mont-Sainte-Anne 1st, La Bresse 1st which made me win the overall World Cup for the third time 💫 and I became European Champion for the third time which meant sooo much to me cause at that point, I had all the jerseys 🇨🇭✨🌈 and yeah you‘re right, I would have loved to make my home crowd happy in Lenzerheide, but I guess it‘s a good thing I have something left fighting for next year!! I’m already soo excited for Canada, the champagne bottles over there are my favorites, you know what I mean? 😍 but, back to what I wanted to say: we‘ve got one month left! I will race the cyclocross World Cups in Namur (23rd December) and Zolder (26th December) 🥳 just can‘t wait to get back on my cyclocross bike! #thebestisyettocome #twothousandnineteen #trekbikes #happylegs #sendit

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Neff has not given any indication of whether or not she will continue her cyclocross season into 2019 for the Pont-Chateau and Hoogerheide World Cups and Worlds in Denmark. Stay tuned…

Stybar to Return for Kerstperiode

Three-time world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) last raced cyclocross in 2014, toeing the line in October of that year after winning the 2014 World Championships in a thriller against Sven Nys.

Stybar recently announced he will be returning for four races this Kerstperiode before heading to his Quick-Step Floors team training camp in Calpe. Stybar is set to race the Zolder World Cup, Azencross, Diegem and GP Sven Nys in Baal on January 1.

“I am really looking forward to my return to cyclocross, a beautiful discipline that I love taking part in”, Stybar said. “It will be some really hard and competitive racing and hopefully I can have some good form and try to have some fun. It is also a great chance for me to mix with my Czech teammates and to help some of the younger riders who are coming through, which is something that I am very passionate about.”

Stybar’s long-time foe welcomed him back:

Ferrand-Prevot Dealing with Health Issues

The good news of Neff returning is tempered by Pauline Ferrand-Prevot’s (Canyon – SRAM) news that her return to cyclocross is uncertain this season.

In an Instagram post, the 2015 cyclocross world champion said that she is dealing with a circulation issue in her leg.

“For 4 years now, I have had an inexplicable pain in my leg,” Ferrand-Prevot wrote. “When I push over 70% of my maximum power, I don’t feel my leg anymore, and I have the sensation of ‘dead leg’ (like my bib-short and shoe are too tight). During the last 4 years I saw a lot of doctors, and I had a lot of different treatments. Nothing really worked.”

She continued, “I’m a bit “sad” to read all your messages on social media about CX season (because I LOVE CX and for sure I would like to race) and I don’t like to lie. For the moment I don’t have the answer.”

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Hello guys, I have a good and less good news to tell you. Since now 4 years I have an inexplicable pain in my leg. When I push over 70% of my maximum power I don’t feel my leg anymore, and I have the sensation of “dead leg” ( like my bib-short and my shoe are too tight). During this last 4 years I saw a lot of doctor, and I had a lot of different treatment. Nothing really worked. I started to become crazy (I was already a bit 😉) because I really didn’t understand why I have this pain, less power, why I wasn’t able to push hard on my bike during training and races. I had to quite a lot of trainings and too much races because of that, and I never felt myself during this past years. I was so tired to wake up every morning asking me if today it would be possible to finish the training, or before a race if I would feel this pain. Sometimes the pain was ok when I was training really little before a race (like Val di sole World Cup this year) but with the tiredness and the succession of races (like in Vallnord the week after Val di sole short race/XCO + La course by le tour) it wasn’t even possible to push 200watts. After few consecutive days of training in South Africa, I started to feel a lot of pain in my leg on the bike, but also during the night. I was super scared. I asked my trainer if it was possible to do an examen because it was the first time I could feel it when I wasn’t pushing hard on my bike. We did an echo, and they couldn’t see anything. Finally, I did another exam and they detected a flow problem (too little blood pressure) in my left leg. They don’t know why yet , but I have an appointment with a World best specialist the 12/12 in France. I’m a bit “sad” to read all your messages on social media about CX season (because I LOVE Cx and for sure I would like to race) and I don’t like to lie. For the moment I don’t have answer, and I count every day until my appointment with the specialist. ✌🏻 . (In French in my Facebook account)

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Upcoming European Race Schedule

Sat, Dec 8 – Brico Cross Essen
Sun, Dec 9 – Vlaamse Druivencross
Sat, Dec 15 – DVV Trofee Soudal Scheldecross
Sun, Dec 16 – Superprestige Zonhoven
Sun, Dec 23 – World Cup Namur
Wed, Dec 26 – World Cup Zolder
Fri, Dec 28 – DVV Trofee Azencross
Sun, Dec 30 – Superprestige Diegem
Tue, Jan 1 – DVV Trofee GP Sven Nys, Baal

Featured image: Thomas Van Bracht