Posted by Editoress on 11/24/23
The final national championships of 2023 will take place on Saturday, with the Cyclo-cross National Championships returning to Saanich on Vancouver Island for the second consecutive year. The Championships will, once again, take place at Layritz Park, where numerous past cyclo-cross events have taken place, including the Tripleshot Cross Fondo.
National titles will be awarded for women and men in U17, U19, U23, Elite and Masters categories, with racing beginning at 8:30 am (11:30 am Eastern) in three waves for the categories U17 Women, Master Women (four categories), U17 Men, and Master Men (four categories). At Noon, the second set of four waves of racing will take place, with the U19 and U23 Men racing together, followed by the U19 and U23 women, then the Elite women and, finally, the Elite men starting at 3:30 pm (6:30 pm Eastern). Event organizer Jon Watkins says that registration is 10% higher than last year, with nearly 300 signed up to race.
"We are thrilled to return to beautiful Saanich for the Canadian Cyclo-cross Championships and Bear Crossing Grand Prix," says Josh Peacock, Cycling Canada Events and Marketing Director. "With such a strong local cyclo-cross community, competitors and fans alike will be treated to world class racing on Canadian soil."
The 2022 Junior world champion gold and silver medallists, Isabella and Ava Holmgren, will be on the start line, looking to defend the Championship titles they won last year, with Isabella racing in the U23 category and Ava hoping to defend her Elite title. Other reigning champions that have returned include Nico Knoll (U17 Women), Kelan Well (U17 Men), Ian Ackert (Junior Men), Luke Valenti (U23 Men) and Tyler Clark (Elite Men). Missing from the field are multi-time national champions Maghalie Rochette, who isin Europe for the World Cup circuit, and Michael van den Ham, who has announced his retirement AND taken on a coaching role with the national federation.
The circuit is similar to last year, full of off-camber twists and turns, with short run ups and descents. The organizers have added a set of stairs and moved the double barriers to a different section of the course. Last year, morning categories raced in frosty conditions, while the later categories faced a cold steady rain. This year, the forecast is for near-perfect conditions - sunny and reaching a high of 10C. However, as riders found out in training, much of the course - especially the off-camber sections and run ups - are very muddy and treacherous, with many riders sliding out.
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