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Could Ian Ackert be the first Canadian elite man to finish top-ten at the CX worlds?

Could Ian Ackert be the first Canadian elite man to finish top-ten at the CX worlds?

Ian Ackert had a great ride in Tábor, Czech Republic, taking a well-deserved sixth place in the under-23 race. It was no shock–he’s been consistently getting better since 2022, when he started the junior worlds at the back of the field due to a mechanical issue on the first lap. Despite this setback, he fought his way through the junior competition, finishing in 8th place.

Why this really was the most important ‘cross worlds for Canadians ever

Since then, his performance has continued to improve, winning the under-23 national championships and achieving some big results in mountain biking. Ackert also took a bronze medal at the under-23 world XC championships and recently joined Trek Future Racing.

He’s a first year under-23 as well–so he’s got a few more cracks at a rainbow jersey, but what about when he races elite? Sorry to get ahead of ourselves, Ian, but it’s just an exciting prospect of what you’ll do with the big boys. If you look at the recent winners in the under-23 worlds, you’ll see lots of familiar faces. Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Joris Nieuwenhuis, Tom Pidcock, Eli Iserbyt, Thibau Nys–you get the point.

What I learned from riding the sandy Koksijde World Cup in the ’90s

Although Canada has made it in the top-10 in the elite women’s races, thanks to Maghalie Rochette, it still hasn’t happened for the men. Mark Orzel was the first Canadian to head across the pond to compete at the pro men’s cyclocross worlds in Hägendorf, finishing in 38th. The following year, Jim Sciberas would join Orzel, and they would finish 47th and 48th. A few years later, a quartet of Canadians would spend several years racing in Europe, Brian Pedersen, Kris Westwood, Bill Hurley and Peter Wedge.

Although they’d flirt with a top-30, (along with riders like Mike Garrigan) it wasn’t until Geoff Kabush raced the worlds in 2013 this would happen. He finished 24th, and six years later, Michael van den Ham did the same, as well as a 25th in 2022.

Sure, 2027 is a ways away, but could that be the year that we see a Canuck finish in the top-10 at the elite ‘cross worlds?

No pressure Ian, but it sure would be great to see.

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…