Three big names to miss Cyclo-cross World Cup in Dublin as line-up to be confirmed in coming days

Defending champion Wout van Aert and world road race champion Mathieu van der Poel will be among the field

Hopes that defending champion Wout van Aert and world road race champion Mathieu van der Poel will be among the field at the upcoming Cyclo-cross World Cup in Dublin have been dashed, with both riders confirming they will miss the event on Sunday, November 26th.

While the two have focused mostly on road racing in recent seasons, they dominated cyclocross for many years. Dutchman Van der Poel has taken five CX world titles, including securing gold earlier this season. The Belgian Van Aert won the world championships on three occasions.

Their increased targeting of road races have yielded considerable success, elevating their prestige worldwide. In addition to winning the world road race championship this year, Van der Poel also took the Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix Classics.

Van Aert was second to him in the world championships in August and clocked up nine Tour de France stage wins between 2019 and 2022.

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However, the heavy road programme has come at a cost, with both riders resting at this time of the year and opting to do fewer cyclocross events overall.

While Van der Poel will do a dozen races before February’s world championships, the first of those will not be until December 22nd in Mol.

Van Aert has been confirmed for just six cyclocross fixtures thus far, with Mol also his first.

Also set to miss the race in Dublin’ Sport Ireland campus is current cyclocross World Cup series leader Lars van der Haar. Speaking recently to Het Nieuwsblad, he said that the hosting of an event the day beforehand in Kortrijk in Belgium complicated things.

“I will skip the Dublin World Cup because I want to go for the overall standings in the X2O trophy,” he explained. “That’s just an unattainable situation.”

One of the challenges with that is that riders need to have at least two bikes and other equipment at each race, making things logistically difficult.

“If you start somewhere, you have to go 100% for it. So that’s why I’m skipping Dublin. I did Dublin with great pleasure last year and now I’m going to skip it with pain in my heart.”

He was fourth last year behind Van Aert, Laurens Sweeck and Tom Pidcock.

This year’s World Cup series has 14 rounds, making it possible for riders such as Van der Haar to miss some races yet still be in a position to win overall.

The absence of big-name riders from various rounds of the competition prompted UCI President David Lappartient to threaten last week to block riders from competing in the world championships if they do not prioritise the top races beforehand.

“If a rider prefers to ride a national event during World Cup rounds, you will not do the next World Cup rounds and therefore no world championship,” he said. “The World Cup is not a competition where you pick and choose as you please. Every rider has to play the game.”

The start list for the various races at the Dublin World Cup will be unveiled early next week. Notwithstanding the absence of Van der Poel, Van Aert and Van der Haar, a strong international line-up is still expected for what is arguably the most visually spectacular discipline in cycling.

Cycling Ireland announced on Wednesday that 17 Irish riders will ride in the national colours across four events, namely the under 23 men’s race, the Elite women’s race and the men’s and women’s junior contests.

A strong turnout of 8,000 spectators attended last year despite difficult road conditions caused by a sudden freeze on race weekend.

Tickets for this year’s event are on sale at www.ucicyclocrossworldcup.com.

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