New Team Relay Kicks Off UCI World Championships for Cyclo-cross in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA this Weekend
The 2022 Walmart UCI World Championships for Cyclo-cross kicks-off Friday with an historic new event, the Team Relay, at Centennial Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.
Friday’s Team Relay will serve as a test event and an appetizer for the six divisional world championships on Saturday and Sunday. Both men and women from more than 20 countries will contest for titles in Junior, Under 23 and Elite divisions over the weekend.
The UCI announced the Team Relay will be contested by five nations and seven teams, including: Belgium, Canada A and B, Czech Republic, Italy and United States A and B teams.
Teams of (4) riders will make up each squad in this unique format that will feature:
- (1) female Junior or (1) woman Under 23 of age;
- (1) female Under 23 or (1) woman Elite
- (1) male Junior or (1) male Under 23
- (1) male Under 23 or (1) male Elite.
The current pool of U.S. athletes announced were: Eric Brunner (Boulder, Colo.; Blue-Stages Racing; Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah; Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com); Scott Funston (Maple Valley, Wash.; Blue-Stages Racing); Clara Honsinger (Portland, Ore.; Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com); Katherine Sarkisov (North Potomac, Md.; CX Hairs Devo/ Trek Bikes) and Jack Spranger (Sammamish, Wash.; Bear National Team) with additions likely due to an added U.S. squad.
The UCI has added flexibility to the original program based on the changing climate. This first-time event assuredly will be interesting to watch as teams have the choice of staggering their athletes as desired by lap.
The big highlight Friday will be the 3-kilometer (1.8 mile) course. Experience Fayetteville and its partners have spent a considerable amount of time and energy creating one of the world’s most unique courses. First featured at October’s World Cup, the course was considered extremely fast by cyclo-cross standards. Several athletes that raced in October said the new additions to the course, including a cobblestone sector and several new climbs, have made the course more challenging.
“We had a lot of mud in October but the weather this weekend will be much warmer and perhaps no rain,” said women’s elite champion Lucinda Brand of the Netherlands. “The new additions to the course will ‘slow the race’ down a bit, which is not a bad thing. It is a very unique course and different than those in Europe. But, it is exciting.”
Key course features include “Stonehenge” (a serpentine track around an elevated stone structure); “The 39 Climb” (39 stairs where rider dismount and run up); “Electric Avenue” (a hill climb up an electric line coming out of a forest); “The Drop” (a 30 percent drop off 39 stairs); and a snaking descent through a forest which will be anything but enchanting with an ensuing climb.
"The 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships is the culmination of three years of hard work for Experience Fayetteville, Trailblazers NWA, the UCI, Team USA athletes and staff and countless others. USA Cycling along with the event management group Medalist Sports have put in hundreds of hours preparing for this event. Arriving into the venue for the first time this week was surreal, and Centennial Park has dramatically come to life. Our entire team is beyond excited to compete in this cyclo-cross world championship and for this purpose-built venue to make its worldwide debut. Fayetteville has welcomed the entire world with open arms, and we are humbled to call this new course home for US Cyclo-cross." said CEO of Experience Fayetteville, Molly Rawn.
Fayetteville, anointed as the first “UCI Bike City”, will be only the second American city to host the UCI World Championships for cyclo-cross following a successful event in Louisville, Ky.
Friday, January 28
- 12:30p – Team Relay (test event)
Saturday, January 29
- 11:00a – Junior Women
- 1:00p – U23 Men
- 2:30p – Elite Women
Sunday, January 30
- 11:00a – Junior Men
- 1:00p – U23 Women
- 2:30p – Elite Men