The 2022/2023 "Kerstperiode" of cyclocross is here! Kerstperiode - the action-packed block of European elite races between Christmas and New Year's Day (or more loosely, the races adjacent to those holidays) crams a whopping 10 World Cup, Superprestige, Exact Cross, and X²O Badkamers Trophy races into just two calendar weeks!
That number doesn't even include some "minor" events which are also on the calendar but won't make the live streaming cut.
Kerstperiode 2022/23 kicks off with the Exact Cross from Mol Friday December 23, 2022
The Zilvermeer ("silver lake") cross falls on a Friday, so why not knock off work and get your vacation started early? Don't overlook this one, because Tom Pidcock, Wout van Aert, and Mathieu van der Poel are all on the start list and plan to start their Kerstperiode block here. For viewers in the USA, GCN+ has the live stream.
Riders to watch
We will see some stories develop during the Kerstperiode as riders begin to make their final preparations before the World Championship. Here are some story lines to follow:
- Can Lucinda Brand recover her form and return to the front of the field as she recovers from a broken bone in her hand?
- Annemarie Worst is another rider who will attempt a comeback from injury, returning to action at Mol
- Head-to-head battles between Wout van Aert, Tom Pidcock, and Mathieu van der Poel. They have yet to announce their World Championship plans, but this block could be a preview.
- Quinten Hermans looks for fresh start on Alpecin-Deceuninck
- Fem van Empel and Eli Iserbyt have question marks as they come back from heavy crashes on the snow and ice at Val di Sole
- Silvia Persico heads to UAE Team ADQ
Previously cancelled races, like Diegem, return
One of my favorite Kerstperiode races is Diegem, historically held at night. That means Americans can watch the live stream without waking up at the crack of dawn as is usually required! Racers fly around a village under artificial lights. Diegem was cancelled due to COVID-19 for the last two years, but makes a return in 2022.
You can watch the Diegem night race this year on Wednesday, December 28, 2022.
Koksijde sand dunes is back too
Another venue making a return this season is the Kerstperiode-adjaced Koksijde, on January 5, 2023. Koksijde has had a rough go lately - cancelled in 2016 due to a wind storm, cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19... but the unique sand dunes are back to start 2023.
Koksijde was the site of on of my all-time favorite races. Sven Nys at the end of his career, dueling with Wout van Aert at the start of his career. The two go head-to-head into the final corner. Look that one up on YouTube to see who wins!
Watch for the new jerseys and teams January 1
An oddity about cyclocross - rider contracts tend to run from January 1 - December 31. In road racing, no big deal, riders are on the same team all season. But in cyclocross, changing teams on January 1 means that change falls right in the middle of the season!
That means at the GP Sven Nys - which typically kicks off the new year on January 1 - you can see riders in their new team colors for the first time. This can be a little disorienting, depending on how many changes there are!
Full 2022/23 Kerstperiode calendar
December 23, 2022 - January 7, 2023 could reasonably considered to be the Kerstperiode window. That includes these "major" events:
- December 23, 2022 - Exact Cross Mol - Zilvermeercross
- December 26, 2022 World Cup - Gavere
- December 27, 2022 - Superprestige Heusden-Zolder
- December 28, 2022 - Superprestige Diegem
- December 30, 2022 - Exact Cross, Loenhout
- January 1, 2023 - X²O Badkamers Trophy (GP Sven Nys)
- January 3, 2023 - X²O Badkamers Trophy Herentals
- January 5, 2023 - X²O Badkamers Trophy - Koksijde
- January 7, 2023 - Superprestige Gullegem
How to stream the 2022/23 Kerstperiode races
For fans in the USA, two subscription streaming services will cover your bases. Tune in to FloBikes for the Gavere and Zonhoven World Cups, while GCN+ has all the other major races like Diegem, Koksijde, etc. - the X²O Badkamers Trophy, Superprestige, and Exact Cross races.
Enjoy your cyclocross holidays and happy watching!