Puck Pieterse took to the course of the 2023 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Hoogerheide on Friday during the official training session and posted a video to YouTube of her lap (see above), ridden with teammate Danny van Lierop, giving her viewers a rare first-hand glimpse of what riders will experience.
Dutch champion Pieterse is one of the favourites to win the elite women’s race on Saturday, where she will go up against a strong field including teammate Fem van Empel, winner of the World Cup and European champion, former world champion Lucinda Brand and outside contenders Silvia Persico (Italy) and Blanka Vas (Hungary).
The video opens with Pieterse pretending to wake Lauren Molengraaf, who emerges from her hotel bed wearing the rainbow jersey she won as part of the Netherlands’ team relay squad.
As the Dutch riders start the circuit, they encounter Costa Rican Felipe Nystrom on the first flyover. Nystrom, who raced Worlds in Fayetteville, is the only rider from his country at the races. You can read more about Felipe Nystrom’s story, including his battle against depression here.
Pieterse gives her impression of the circuit, designed by Adrie van der Poel, as they ride across the grass and dirt track. She stopped to lower her tyre pressure, finding the surface a bit slippery.
After dipping down through the short sand pit, she noted it would be Shirin van Anrooij’s favourite part of the course. Soon after the sand, there was a steep drop-off she found startling.
The course winds around, going over the flyover two more times before they tackle “the big climb,” pass through the mechanics’ pits a second time and are joined by junior Jelte Jochems, who she kids about not speaking English.
One more time over the flyover, Pieterse gets a taste of the trickiest corner on the course. She ramps up the pace to practice bunny-hopping the barriers, which come not long before the “dangerous” blind entry to the steepest descent into the ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
Viewers get a first-hand ride through the off-camber turn to the finishing straight, which Pieterse and Van Lierop tackle with apparent ease. “Now you come in with the wheelie if you win”, she says as she crosses the line.
Will Pieterse be wheeling to the rainbow jersey on Saturday? Find out how to watch and follow the UCI Cyclocross World Championships with Cyclingnews.
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