With cross-discipline stars like Tom Pidcock and Wout van Aert set to skip the 2024 Cyclocross World Championships, internal discussions have been held at the UCI about moving the event to earlier in the winter in order to attract more stars. Ultimately though, it has decided against such a switch.
"After the World Championships in Hoogerheide last year, we debated this internally," says UCI CEO Peter Van den Abeele in quotes collected by Sporza. "We wondered whether the World Championship and national championships should switch places on the calendar. An idea that we quickly abandoned."
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Fans, experts and even riders have all raised the idea of this switch in the past, so why does Van den Abeele feel it's not the right move? "Because that would have a detrimental impact on the national federations," he answers. "In addition, the national championships now serve as a benchmark for the World Championships. For example, if you put the Belgian Championship on the calendar after the World Championship, the national title battle loses value."
Another reason, is because bringing forward the World Championships would allude to an earlier end of the season in many people's minds Van den Abeele believes. "The cross season only lasts a few months and has been shortened in recent years. Not only because the Big Three start the season later, but also because the real cross riders often take time off during the season. They no longer ride all the crosses," explains the UCI CEO.
"If you move the World Championship to the first half of January, the season will be even shorter," he concludes. "Without prejudice to the races in Belgium, but internationally speaking the cyclo-cross season ends after the World Championship. After that everyone starts to focus on the road. That is the case now and it will always remain that way."