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.
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:
— Sven Nys (@sven_nys) November 29, 2018
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.”
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