The 2024 cyclocross worlds are almost here! Team Canada is sending 23 riders to the races in Tábor, the Czech Republic. Racing begins on Friday, with the team relay. Canada will be sending a strong squad for the event, with Rafaelle Carrier, Isabella Holmgren, Ava Holmgren, Jayden McMullen, Ian Ackert, and Tyler Clark lining up. Each rider does one lap and then tags the next.
After that, there are several races which could see some special results for Canada.
The Holmgren factor
The 2023 ‘cross worlds were exceptionally memorable, with Canada taking its first ever rainbow jersey in the event. Isabella Holmgren took an emotional victory, followed by her sister Ava who took silver. The twins have been riding well this season, and they could have some impressive performances on Sunday.
They join three other Canucks in the under-23 women’s category. The Holmgrens have signed with the Lidl-Trek WorldTour team, and look poised to level up this year on the road. But they’ve been having some strong results in the elite women’s field, so it’s highly probable they will have a special day. They have strong competition, however, in Zoe Backstedt. The British rider took second in 2023 to Shirin van Anrooij, and with the defending champion not racing in 2024, you can bet the daughter of Magnus wants a rainbow jersey. Could the Holmgren’s one-two punch spoil the Team Canyon–SRAM’s day? The way the Canadians have been riding, we may very well see another incredible day for the Orillia natives.
Keep calm and Carrier on
Although the Holmgrens have moved on to under-23, there’s still a big chance for a medal with Rafaelle Carrier. The Quebec rider has had an incredible 2023-2024 season, with multiple wins–including the Pan Am championships. She will Saturday’s race as one of the big favourites for the win.
Elite women: return of Rochette?
Maghalie Rochette began the 2023-2024 season with style, sweeping the USCX series. After a season prior that was plagued of sickness and injury, the multiple national champion showed she was back. She was 7th at the Dublin WC, and was poised for another top-ten at Flamanville before a late-race crash pushed her down to 12th. Rochette would take eighth at the next World Cup in Italy, and was seventh overall in the standings.
However, in early December she decided to return to Quebec and retool and refocus. She returned to Belgium in 2024,…