It's time for the 2023 Cyclocross World Championships! As of this writing, just two tune-up races remain: the X2O Trofee Hamme and a World Cup round from Besançon, as riders try to put the finishing touches on their form.
Here's how to watch the 2023 cyclocross World Championship via live stream, and riders to keep an eye on; plus my predictions for the Elite Men and Elite Women categories.
2023 Cyclocross World Championship Live Stream
For viewers in the USA, FloSports has the broadcast rights to the 2023 Cyclocross World Championship with their FloBikes subscription service. FloBikes is an annual subscription package that offers live streaming of different cycling disciplines; notably, the cyclocross World Cup and World Championship events.
Outside the USA, check out GCN+ / Eurosport in some other countries, including the United Kingdom, for coverage of Hoogerheide 2023.
What about in-person tickets?
If you're lucky enough to be able to attend in-person, don't forget your tickets, here.
When and where is the 2023 Cyclocross World Championship?
The 2023 UCI Cyclocross World Championship will be held the weekend of February 4-5, 2023 in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.
- Men U23 - February 4
- Women U23 - February 4
- Men Junior - February 4
- Women Junior - February 4
- Elite Men - February 5
- Elite Women - February 5
2023 Cyclocross World Championship Live Timing
If you're looking for extra info while live streaming, or you can't live stream but want to follow the race, check this page for the official UCI live chip timing.
Elite Men's Predictions
The main news in the Elite Men's category is that Tom Pidcock has decided not to defend his title, so we'll have a new wearer of the rainbow jersey no matter what. Who are the favorites?
Unlike the Elite Women, in the Men's field there is no chance of a talented U23 racing-up to the Elite category and taking the win. The contenders are well established - prior to Pidcock, the last winner not named van der Poel or van Aert was Zdeněk Štybar, way back in 2014!
Wout van Aert dominated the Kerstperiode and looks incredibly strong. He appears to be able to close gaps at will and has a killer sprint, should the race end in one. He's my pick to win.
Mathieu van der Poel has been consistently "good" but looks much more beatable than in prior years. He's cited back pain as hampering his performance recently. But even injured, he's one of the best bike handlers on the planet.
Who else to watch?
- Eli Iserbyt looked renewed at the Benidorm World Cup, finishing just 9 seconds behind the WVA / MVDP duo
- Lars van der Haar
- Laurens Sweeck has just secured the overall World Cup title for the year, as well as winning two individual rounds
- and Michael Vanthourenhout are the rest of the likely podium candidates, with Vanthourenhout and Sweeck having a close battle at Belgian nationals.
A win by any of those 4 would definitely be a surprise, as everyone has van Aert and van der Poel... then everyone else.
Elite Women's Predictions
The 2022/23 cyclocross season has been the year of the youth in the Elite Women's category, as three athletes: Fem van Empel, Puck Pieterse, and Shirin van Anrooij have largely dominated. To accurately predict the Elite Women's category, we'd have to know first who plans to start! Each of those 3 athletes have U23 eligibility, but might choose to race the Elite category instead.
As with the Men's category, the reigning champ will not defend her title, leaving the field wide open. Marianne Vos hasn't been able to get things going this year, and recently announced she will not start due to an ongoing health condition related to a pelvic artery.
- van Empel dominated the early season (3 World Cups in a row) before a crash and injury slowed her down. Over the last month she's been still great, but looks beatable now; including a clunky performance at Zonhoven in which she seemed to lack confidence.
- Puck Pieterse is the new Dutch National Champion and has won a smattering of World Cup, Superprestige, and X20 races, as well as the U23 European championship. Having won 4 of her last 7, and finished no worse than 3rd during that time, she's my pick - especially if it turns muddy where she can leverage her handling skills.
- while Shirin van Anrooij has the late-season juice thanks to a strong Kerstperiode performance, the most dominant rider as of late - but she has announced that she'll stay as a U23 and won't contest the Elite title. Too bad.
That makes van Empel and Pieterse your preliminary favorites. Who are the other contenders? Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado is the only rider that's consistently been even close. Lucinda Brand has been inconsistent, she is still ranked 3rd in the UCI rankings, but hasn't looked the same since a broken finger. It could be a two horse race, then everyone else.
You also won't see prior World Champs Pauline Ferrand-Prevot or Sanne Cant, as both have already ended their season and won't start; nor do I think Denise Betsema or Inge van der Heijden have much of a shot.
What about the weather?
Unsurprisingly, there are sprinkles, but not major storms, in the forecast. Daily highs are in the mid-40's Fahrenheit. We'll have to wait until Puck Pieterse posts her YouTube course preview (worth checking her channel out, if you aren't following already) to see how the wet affects the course.
2023 Cyclocross World Championship Course Preview
Take a look at the official course map for an idea of what to expect. The Hoogerheide course is highlighted by a massive run-up with many steps. It could be a decisive point on the course.