The early part of the cyclocross season is now over as the most prominent 3 riders return to the field and begin their individual paths to be in form for the World Championships in Hoogerheide at the start of February. With all 3 now pursuing road seasons, they each have to dial in their efforts to achieve form peaks for the events they want to do best at. So it’s unlikely we see any of them do full series calendars like the specialists of Eli Iserbyt, Laurens Sweeck and Michael Vanthourenhout these days.
All 3 are in the process of being back racing, with Van der Poel and Pidcock now already off the mark with wins in the 2022/2023 cyclocross season. For the trio, it’s also important to race and do well in order to make sure they get a front-row grid start at the major races. With other riders contesting full cyclocross seasons they will need to take a few wins and be consistent in the few races they attend in order to ensure they aren’t starting as far back as the 7th row like a new Elite. Mathieu van der Poel’s win at Hulst shoots him up to 22nd in the World Cup rankings after just one race. Pidcock’s 2nd place at Overijse puts him 25th as well.
When it comes to the UCI Rankings, Tom Pidcock is in an already secure 5th place, rising up from 7th this week. Wout van Aert is in 15th despite not racing since 9th January at the Belgian national championships. It’s Van der Poel who has the most work to do, currently sitting in 50th place but likely to move up very soon. He’s in the worst position because he only managed 2 races last season. Van der Poel DNFed one of those and rested from others largely down to back pain caused by swelling on a spinal disc.
Last season, the big 3 managed to do quite a good job of avoiding racing each other. Only at the Dendermonde World Cup race and the Heusden-Zolder Superprestige did they all compete against one another. With the World Championships in America at Fayetteville, Van der Poel and Van Aert took the decision to skip it and focus on the build-up to the road classics season. It looks like a similar story this season, with only Diegem on 28th December and the Hoogerheide World Championships on 5th February the only races with all 3 riders. Tom Pidcock has also already publicly debated whether or not he will contest the Worlds.
Van der Poel, Van Aert, Pidcock Cyclocross Race Calendar Comparison
All races subject to change