Eagle-eyed readers, especially those who rely on FloBikes or GCN Race Pass to follow European cyclocross, may have noticed some funny quirks on the schedule coming up in January 2021 - there aren't any races on the streaming calendar the weekend of January 9/10, 2021, nor on January 16/17, 2021.
So what happened? Mid-January should be prime-time as athletes make their final push to the World Championships in Ostend, Belgium on January 30/31, 2021... where did all the planned races and streaming coverage go?
Almost every country in the world holds their cyclocross national championship on the same weekend (the United States is a notable exception.) It's typically about 3 weeks prior to the world championship. In 2021, almost every country had their national championship scheduled for the weekend of January 9/10.
As of this writing, about half of the countries have cancelled their national championships outright, leaving those dates empty on the calendar. This includes the Netherlands, so Mathieu van der Poel won't contest that jersey. Germany, Luxembourg, and Ireland have cancelled too. The Belgian, French, Swiss, and Italian races are still scheduled to take place.
As a result, many riders will instead take a mid-season break to complete a block of training, possibly in warmer climates.
COVID-19 has caused many races scheduled for January 2021 to be cancelled outright.
Notably, cyclocross Otagem was lost (January 11), as well as a World Cup originally scheduled for the 17th that should have taken place in Villars, Switzerland, leaving no tier-1 races for riders on this weekend.
Although there is no coverage on GCN or FloBikes during this unusual two week window, it's likely that you'll be able to tune into at least some racing using other channels.
Many national federations stream their own national championships, so you may be able to tune in the weekend of January 9/10 for at least some of those events. You can use a VPN as needed to circumvent any geo-restrictions.
Fear not, racing returns the weekend of January 23/24, 2021, so riders will have the opportunity for two tune-up races prior to worlds - GCN has the Flandriencross on Saturday, followed by the Overijse World Cup, Sunday, on FloBikes - see you there!
While you enjoy a little break from the recent fast and furious Kerstperiode racing block, take a few moments to check out a preview of the upcoming world championships.