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Cyclocross season is almost over, and this weekend, racers from around the world will be at a new venue in Dübendorf, Switzerland, competing for six coveted rainbow jerseys at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships. Switzerland hasn’t hosted World Championships since 1995, and this year also finally brings the first ever under-19 women’s cyclocross championship race.
What we know about the course so far is limited—thanks, in part, to a Swiss visit from President Donald Trump last week that halted construction of the course, according to . It’s on an airfield base, so expect flat racing with a lot of corners. However, it may not be fast as rain in the forecast may turn this event mudfest.
What they’ve shown so far, though, has . But an animated film of the course looks a bit more promising, loaded with hairpin turns and manmade obstacles:
The racing begins on Saturday and runs until Sunday afternoon, with six races in total. Here’s what you need to know to watch the races, from the schedule to where to stream them to the podium hopefuls.
Six races in two days could mean considerable TV time, but don’t stress—you’ll be done by 10 a.m. if you’re watching live on the East Coast.
- Saturday, February 1 (5 a.m. ET): Under-19 Women
- Saturday, February 1 (7 a.m. ET): Under-23 Men
- Saturday, February 1 (9 a.m. ET): Elite Women
- Sunday, February 2 (5 a.m. ET): Under-19 Men
- Sunday, February 2 (7 a.m. ET): Under-23 Women
- Sunday, February 2 (8:30 a.m. ET): Elite Men
How to Watch
If you have a subscription, NBC Sports will stream both days of the UCI Cyclocross World Championships on its Olympic and Sports Gold channels, as well as on NBCsports.com. You can purchase the network’s Cycling Pass—on sale right now for $20, though the subscription ends May 1, 2020—for access to livestreams and on-demand replays.
If you don’t have access to NBC, you can also try Fubo.TV, which will be livestreaming the races and have replays available in the U.S. and Canada. (You can get a 7-day free trial.)
Lastly, if you’re reading this in Europe, Red Bull will be hosting the livestream on Red Bull TV.
Last Year’s Results
Last year in Denmark, Sanne Cant was barely able to defend her rainbow jersey, heading off attacks from Lucinda Brand, who had a disastrous incident in the pits during a bike change, and multi-time, multi-discipline former world champion Marianne Vos.
In the men’s race, Mathieu Van der Poel took his first elite win with former World Champion Wout van Aert hot on his heels and Toon Aerts close behind. Van Aert managed to stay with Van der Poel much longer than anyone expected in that race, but by the finish, it appeared to be a nearly-effortless win for Van der Poel.
Rainbow Jersey Hopefuls
In the elite women’s field, last week’s final World Cup at Hoogerheide showed that there are several riders who could potentially take the rainbow jersey.
The top contenders will almost certainly be Dutch racers Annemarie Worst, Brand, and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado. But Cant, the defending champion and Belgian rider, managed to stay in the lead group at Hoogerheide after a tough season.
The same is true for American Katie Compton, who finished on the podium in Nommay two weeks ago after losing her national champion title for the first time in 15 years by Clara Honsinger. Other wildcards for podium spots include Czech racing legend Katerina Nash, who finished third overall in the World Cup Series, and Canadian Maghalie Rochette, who won the first World Cup of the season.
Unfortunately for Switzerland, their podium contender, mountain biker and occasional cyclocrosser Jolanda Neff, will not be on the start line, as she was injured in a training accident in December. Marianne Vos will also be missing from the start line, as she is recovering from a surgery. And lastly, 2019’s star racer Denise Betsema, who was suspended for anabolic steroid use, has returned to racing but will not be lining up.
In the men’s race, it’s a sucker bet to think that anyone other than Dutch racer Van Der Poel will win the race, but miracles do happen. His top competitors will be Belgians Toon Aert—the World Cup overall winner—and Eli Iserbyt, who’s also topped the podium at the World Cup this season.
Laurens Sweeck, who recently took the Belgian National Champion jersey, is a podium contender, as is Lars Van der Haar, who does well in roadie-friendly conditions. Van Aert will be on the start line, but after a devastating crash during the summer kept him out of competition for much of the season, he won’t be on the front row. He did manage to race his way toward the front at Hoogerheide last weekend, so there’s always an outside chance that he’ll be a contender.
One thing is certain: Regardless of how “boring” the course is on the weekend, the racing will be anything but. And American fans should absolutely tune in, since in 2022, the UCI World Championships will be coming stateside to Fayetteville, Arkansas.