On 11th December, Ireland will host its very first UCI cyclocross World Cup event . It will be the ninth round in a series of 14 events, which started in October. Along with the events in Belgium and the Netherlands, there will also be two rounds in the USA, along with one in the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and France. In a distinctively Irish landscape at the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown, best known for its cross-country athletics events, the elite cyclists are taking their turn to tear up the track. The Sport Ireland Campus will use its existing grounds at the venue to create a world-class cyclocross route with an Irish touch, incorporating both natural and built features creating a spectacular experience for both riders and fans.
Cyclocross (also known as CX) is one of the most fast paced and accessible disciplines in all of cycling. The discipline – likened to cross-country running on wheels – combines many of the skills used in standard road and mountain biking with an added emphasis being placed on bike handling skills as the riders navigate the sometimes bumpy and muddy terrain. With relatively short circuits, it gives spectators a front row view of all the action.
The start list features a very strong list of international contenders including high calibre names such as Fem van Empel, who is currently sitting at the top of the women’s leader board, and Tour de France green jersey winner, Wout Van Aert. It is sure to be a cracker to watch. It is a fantastic opportunity for Irish riders to show their prowess, with reigning cyclocross national champions Maria Larkin and Chris McGlinchey expected to be selected to lead the Irish campaign.
“To be able to race a World Cup cyclocross event in Ireland in the national champion’s jersey will be incredible. I’m definitely looking forward to that. I’m planning to be in great shape for it to do the jersey proud,” McGlinchey explained to the Irish Independent recently.
It is hoped that many Irish fans will flock to the venue to watch the riders race to the finish line, while International fans are also expected to make the journey over seas with cowbells and air horns to support their athletes. The weekend of racing is sure to bring a carnival atmosphere to the capital.
With such a strong emphasis being put on the two-wheel lifestyle recently, this may just be the event to inspire people to ditch the petrol engine for a more environmentally friendly, albeit sweaty, commute.
Tickets are currently being sold online at €15, with the day price rising to €18. Children under 12 can gain entry to the event for free.