PREVIEW | Cyclocross World Championships 2023-2024 World Cup Men&Women - Favourites, Track, TV Guide & Poll

Preview. On the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of February the best cyclocross riders are in action in the Czech Republic. Tabor hosts the 2023-2024 World Championships, and several rainbow jerseys are set to be attributed.

Very windy in Tabor this weekend with low temperatures and grey skies, but the rain will not fall. Rain has fallen this week however and the track does not allow for much draining, so we have got a rather heavy grass course with some ruts well present. Not too different from the Europeans in Pontchâteau, but harder. It is a circuit marked by the seated climbs, there will be several and they will be brutal.

Hence do not expect an explosive race, it will be far from it. We've got two stair sections, a difficult uphill planks sector and a few tricky banks. No slipstreaming and little tactics to be applied, it will all be about form on the day and some endurance as well.

PREVIEW | Cyclocross World Championships 2023-2024 World Cup Men&Women - Favourites, Track, TV Guide & Poll
Map Tabor World Championships 2024

The women's field has been quite balanced over the past few weeks. Hoogerheide and Benidorm were very fast but brilliant races. Unfortunately it is not a race that provides the chance for the same explosivity. Two contenders for podium, or victory even, are not at their best level. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado is having back issues which can be deadly on a circuit like this, whilst Puck Pieterse has been sick last week and may not have the form for such a tough effort.

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So we have to main contenders: Defending World Champion Fem van Empel is the woman to beat, she has not looked as dominant over the past month of racing but the Dutch rider has still taken several big victories and will like the climbing aspect of the track. She will match with Lucinda Brand, with no doubt her compatriot is rated the highest out of all competitors. Sara Casasola, bronze medalist in the Europeans, loves these conditions and could be in the run-in for the medals. Alongside Inge van der Heijden and Manon Bakker, one of them could surge to a career-changing result.

Annemarie Worst, Denise Betsema, Laura Verdonschot, Marion Norbert Riberolle, Sanne Cant and Hélène Clauzel will be among the riders who will have a shot at a Top10 or even better on a strong day. In such an interesting track, this could well happen.

The men's race has a clear question: Mathieu van der Poel? In the absence of van Aert and Pidcock, both riders who'd perform well in these conditions, he is without a doubt the man to beat. Even if not overwhelmingly strong over the past few races - take this into consideration - the pressure is all on the defending champions' shoulders. Van der Poel does not find a track that suits his characteristics, lacking the sand and explosivity. Van der Poel is still the big favourite and this is his final race of the season, his ultimate goal of the year.

The Dutch come with an incredibly strong team and could take the whole podium. Pim Ronhaar will love the muddy conditions and has shown this winter to be able to contest victories at the highest level; Joris Nieuwenhuis has just finished second to van der Poel in Hoogerheide and is a fan of these technical circuits; whilst Lars van der Haar certainly has the endurance for such a gruelling race.

The Belgians come in with Michael Vanthourenhout, second to van Aert in Benidorm and to van der Poel in Hamme. Great form, the European Champion is known to reach great levels on specific days. This track will fit him quite well and he is in great form - he could well be van der Poel's biggest rival. Eli Iserbyt does not have good conditions for himself but is a podium contender, whilst Thibau Nys will be a big wildcard, having great form over the past few races but not having the most suited track.

Cameron Mason was second in Pontchâteau and could do very well in race like this. We will find other outsiders in Ryan Kamp, Laurens Sweeck, Joran Wyseyre, Toon Vandebosch, Witse Meeussen, Jens Adams... France is led by Clément Venturini; Switzerland by Kevin Kuhn and Spain by Felipe Orts.

The women's race will start at 14:35 on Saturday and end at around 15:25 local time. The men's race will start at 14:35 on Sunday and end at 15:45 local time.

You can watch the broadcast of the race at the UCI website and Eurosport Player internationally, as well as the traditional outlets. The channels which will broadcast the race will include Sporza (Belgium), Flobikes (Canada), L'Équipe (France), Ceska Televize and RTBF Tipik (Czech Republic), TV2 (Denmark) and TV2 (Norway) and (Netherlands).


Women's Elite
*** Fem van Empel
** Lucinda Brand, Puck Pieterse
* Sara Casasola, Inge van der Heijden, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado

Men's Elite
*** Mathieu van der Poel
** Michael Vanthourenhout, Pim Ronhaar
* Joris Nieuwenhuis, Thibau Nys, Cameron Mason

Preview written by Rúben Silva.


Who will win the women's 2024 Cyclocross World Championships?


Who will win the men's 2024 Cyclocross World Championships?

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