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Watch with us live as the world’s best cyclocross riders will return to familiar Circuit Zolder course in Belgium tomorrow for the pinnacle event of the season: the 2016 UCI World Cyclocross Championships.
With exiting world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and former multi-world champion Marianne Vos out due to injury, this will be the first time since 2000, when the UCI sanctioned the women’s event with World Championship status, that a former world champion will not be in the field.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t marked favourites for the race however. All eyes will surely be on Belgian Sanne Cant (Enertherm- BKCP), a multi-national champion, European champion and World Cup series winner. She is the number one ranked rider in the world and she’s written just about every possible cyclocross title to her name but the rainbow jersey is still glaringly missing.
Racing on home soil, Cant has never wanted those rainbow stripes more. And anything less than victory will be a bitter disappointment, as it was in 2015, when she was out-sprinted at the line by the French champion and had to make do with silver.
But that doesn’t mean that she is a shoo-in. Behind Cant, there is a wide-open field of women vying for the podium. Among them are British champion Nikki Harris (Boels-Dolmans), Italian champion Eva Lechner (Luna) and Dutch rider Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF), all of whom won World Cup events this season. Others include Great Britain’s Helen Wyman (Kona) and Belgium’s Ellen van Loy (Telenet-Fidea).
And perhaps the second biggest favourite, next to Cant, is American Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) . With three World Championship silver medals and no less than 22 World Cup victories to her name, Compton seems to be a favourite year-in, year-out. After a summer to forget, she’s had a few solid results this season, finishing second to Cant at Zolder, on December 26, and winning a 12th national title on January 10 against an extremely fit and determined Georgia Gould (Luna).
Could 2016 be Compton’s year? Watch it all unfold right here on Ella.
Live coverage starts at 13:50 GMT on January 30th / 8:50 ET on January 30th/ 00:50 AEDT on January 31st