It has been up in the air whether Shirin van Anrooij will race in the Elites or U23 Cyclocross World Championships in Hoogerheide this year. The 20-year-old has been impressive this cx season, taking 6 wins. She was particularly good during the Christmas period which sees multiple races in a short period of time. Wins at Mol, Gavere, Loenhout, Koksijde and Zonhoven have all been completed since December 23rd. Many of those have been sand-based and Van Anrooij appears to be the quickest on that surface at the moment. Van Anrooij would finish 3rd behind Van Empel and Pieterse at the Spanish race in Benidorm this weekend.
“There are still many years to come in which I can fight for a podium place in the elites while I want to close my period as a U23 in Hoogerheide. I choose to develop my career step by step and do not want to skip any steps.
In 2020 in Dubendorf I became the very first junior ladies world champion. In Hoogerheide I will try again to give everything for that beautiful rainbow jersey. So I will stay U23 for another year, and then make a plan for the coming years. Over the past few weeks I have talked a lot with those around me and I am happy that both my family and my team support this decision.
I had the feeling that it was going to be a ‘now or never’ chance for an elite world title, but there was no wrong choice and it only gives extra motivation for the coming years. Now that the decision has been made, my focus is completely on Sunday, February 5, 2023.”Shirin van Anrooij
After racing and winning the U23 European Championships and avoiding the national championships to delay the decision-making, this decision closes the matter. Shirin van Anrooij will race this year’s World Championships in the U23 category.
Main photo credit: David Pintens