The UCI Cyclocross World Championships get underway with a new event – the team relay – on Friday, starting at 12:35 p.m. CET in Hoogerheide. The team relay was run as a test event in Fayetteville last year and is now a title race, with teams of six (rather than four), one from each of the UCI categories (men and women from junior, under-23, elite). Each rider races one lap then tags the next rider in the relay zone.
The weekend’s races for six rainbow jerseys will see this year’s stand-out riders. Wout van Aert (Belgium) and Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) renew their rivalry in the elite men’s race.
The Dutch women crowd the favourites in the women’s elite contest – with World Cup winner Fem van Empel sure to be pushed to her limits by World Cup runner-up Puck Pieterse.
Find out how to watch the UCI Cyclocross World Championships, who the favourites are, what the course looks like and the schedule on our Cyclocross Worlds hub.
The 2023 Saudi Tour continues after two sprint stages, won by Dylan Groenwegen (Jayco-AlUla) and Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), respectively. The race moves into the hills on Wednesday, first with a short uphill finish into Abu Rakah after 159.2 kilometres.
Then, on Thursday comes the punishing climb before the line at Harrat Uwayrid on stage 4. The addition of the climb led to bigger gaps last season, that saw Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Soudal) staying away solo to win by 40 seconds.
Van Gils is absent from the Saudi Tour this year since Lotto-Dstny aren’t racing. However, last year’s runner-up Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) is a solid bet and it would certainly please the hosts to see the regional team win. Look out for Movistar’s new recruit Ruben Guerreiro, who has been staying near the front in the sprints, as too is Felix Grossschartner (UAE Team Emirates).
Looking for British riders? Mark Donovan (Q36.5) is currently in 30th, 19 seconds down. Will Barta (Movistar) is the top USA rider just behind in 34th.
On Friday’s final stage, it’s back to focusing on the sprinters, and another elbows-out sprint between Groenewegen, Cees Bol (Astana) and Max Walscheid (Cofids).
Europeans can look for the stages to finish around 2:15 p.m. local time, while North Americans can enjoy the coverage over coffee with live streaming on GCN+.
Not in a broadcast zone? ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) offers the ability to simulate being back in your home country, allowing you to watch the race live on various devices – including Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, iPads, tablets, etc.
Volta Comunitat Valenciana and Etoile de Bèsseges
Both Valenciana (2.Pro) and Bèsseges (2.1) start on Wednesday and run through Sunday. While Valenciana is the higher-ranked event as a ProSeries race, the 2.1-ranked French race has lured in a slew of top talent including Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot, who earlier this year made the surprise announcement that he would retire this season. Ineos Grenadiers come with Michal Kwiatkowski and Pavel Sivakov, EF Education-EasyPost bring GP la Marseillaise winner Neilson Powless, Tour de France stage winner Magnus Cort and the promising Italian Andrea Piccolo.
AG2R Citroën’s Benoît Cosnefroy and defending champion Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis) carry the French hopes, while opportunists Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Dylan Teuns (Israel-Premier Tech) are there.
Classics specialists Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) will eye the opening stage and its short, steep ramp to the line. Stages 2 and 3 will be eyed by sprinters like Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) and Pedersen. The key stage comes on Saturday with the summit finish on Le Mont Bouquet and a short time trial in Alès closes out the race.
Stages finish around 5:30 p.m. CET each day. Find out how to watch the Etoile de Bessèges here.
In Valenciana, there are plenty of hills to get in the way of the pure sprinters, who have largely shied away for flatter pastures. Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma), Biniam Girmay and Rui Costa (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X) and GC riders Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao (both Bahrain Victorious), Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) and any number of Ineos Grenadiers riders, including Thymen Arensman, Tao Geoghegan Hart, are on the list of favourites.
Most of the stages finish around 5:15 p.m. CET, so make time before dinner to follow the races live streaming, on television or on Cyclingnews.
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Vuelta CV Feminas on Sunday
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The Vuelta CV Feminas takes place Sunday, Feb. 3 and will cover 93.2km from Paterna to Valencia. Among the Women’s WorldTour teams at the start are Movistar, Uno-X, Israel-Premier Tech-Roland and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB.
Two major climbs are located in the middle of the route, the second-category Oronet and first-category La Frontera.
Last year Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) won from a bunch sprint. Fellow Italians Ilaria Sanguineti (Valcar-Travel & Service) and Barbara Guarischi (Movistar) finished second and third but race officials later relegated Guarischi and so Kathrin Schweinberger (Ceratizit-WNT) moved up to third place.