Cyclo-Cross NEWS

Ottawa, ON (January 9, 2019) – Between December 23rd and January 1st, twelve athletes in the Elite, Under-23 and Junior categories went to Belgium to compete in five races in preparation for the Cyclo-cross World Championships to be held in Bogense, Denmark at the end of January.

Among the highlights were Elite woman Jenn Jackson finishing tenth at the GP Sven Nys, with Under-23 national champion Ruby West finishing 15th in the same race, as the second Under-23 aged rider. Canadian Junior woman Magdeleine Vallieres Mill was sixth in DVV Trofee Azencross, the first standalone cyclo-cross race at this level for Junior women. Canadian Under-23 men’s champion Gunnar Holmgren finished in the top-40 in both World Cup races, while Elite men’s champion Michael van den Ham was 24th at DVV Trofee Azencross.

“The Christmas Cross Camp this year was extremely successful on several different fronts,” said Scott Kelly, project manager. “We had a ton of interest from our top athletes and it was amazing to have, for the first time ever, both of our Elite national champions and both of our Under-23 national champions racing in Europe during the Kerstperiode. It shows a commitment to improving their craft, and I think it’s going to pay dividends this year at Worlds. We also had an amazing outpouring of financial support from the cycling community. That financial support allows a camp like this to take place and our program to continue to build. We’re really excited about the momentum the program is carrying right now, and we’re hoping to carry that momentum through to Worlds and into the next season.”

Jackson was extremely pleased with the project, saying “Christmas Cross has totally lived up to and exceeded all expectations I had coming into it. The team dynamic was positive and constructive; I learned so much in and out of racing. There was a great mix of experienced Elites with Michael van den Ham and Cam Jette, and sharp U23s like Gunnar Holmgren and Ruby West – it was awesome to have them and our staff for advice around race tactics, course nuances, and general bike-racing wisdom.”

National Under-23 women’s champion Ruby West echoed Jackson’s comments, saying “The Christmas cross project was an incredible trip, it was a great chance to do a bunch of races in a short amount of time. The racing in Europe is another level of challenging in every aspect, from the courses, to the competition, to just the logistics of even just getting to a race in a foreign country. This trip has been the perfect lead up to the World Championships coming up in February.”

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