With the 2024 British Cyclo-cross National Championships getting underway in Falkirk this weekend, get ready for plenty of exhilarating, mud-filled action with our preview.
Find out more about which course at Callender Park is a must-see, and how you can follow all the action in person or from home via the BBC.
This will be the first time Scotland has hosted the British National Cyclo-Cross Championships, with scenic Callender Park providing a stunning backdrop to some epic racing. Falkirk, home to the 14th-century Callendar House, has been a favorite with spectators and riders on the National Cup Series calendar, with last year's round seeing Millie Cousins and Scottish jockey Cameron Mason win there.
The challenging course will be a true test of cyclo-cross prowess, with technical, muddy sections where skill and agility are paramount, the steep challenge of the 'wall', and fast descents that will require physical strength and dexterity.
Elite riders and under-23 riders from all over Britain will be taking to the course on Saturday in a bid to claim the coveted national champion jerseys, as will novice riders and seasoned over-50s and over-60s pros. On Sunday, young riders, veterans and veterans over 40 will compete.
Of which to watch
Local rider Cameron Mason will be looking to retain his national title this weekend, after winning last year's nationals in Cumbria. Mason had a strong season, finishing second in the UEC European Cyclo-cross Championships, and finishing in the top 15 in the UCI World Cup. He will be looking to finish at Falkirk – a track he has raced at since childhood.
Mason will face stiff competition from the likes of National Cup Series winner Thomas Main, who has shown consistent strength all season, as well as from Groupama-FDJ rider Lewis Askey. A road cyclist by trade, Askey has shown his mettle as an all-rounder, winning the West Midlands Regional Cross Country Championships in December, as well as a mountain bike tour of the 2023 National Cross Country Series. Other riders to watch include Oliver Akers Toby Barnes, Dan Barnes, Jenson Young, Ben Askey and Scottish champion Lewis Martin.
Zoe Backstedt's absence leaves the women's elite race wide open, with Millie Cousins looking to repeat last season's National Cup round win at Falkirk for another win in the field. She will face stiff competition from main rival Anna Kay, who has had a strong season, having won round two of the National Cup Series and also being victorious at all three Hope Supercross rounds, before finishing seventh at the European Championships in November. .
Kai will be challenged by multiple national champion and UCI World Cup winner Niki Brammer, who was victorious in the third round of the National Cup Series. National Cup Series winner Elena Day is still in the under-23 category and will also be in contention for a place on the podium, being challenged by young rider Imogen Wolff. Wolff has been a strong competitor in UCI Junior World Cup races throughout the winter and has decided to ride in the elite category. Other riders to watch include Ella McLean Howell, Hope Inglis, Robbie James, Alderney Baker, Elizabeth MacKinnon and Casey Ayington.
There is a lot of excitement surrounding the junior women's category, with World Road Championships silver medalist Cat Ferguson leading the line-up. The 17-year-old, who is preparing to ride on the road for the Movistar Women's WorldTour team, has had a fantastic season on the 'cross bike, regularly topping World Cup podiums. Domestically, Alice Collinge put in some great performances in the National Cup Series, taking the overall victory. Isabel Mayes, Rebecca Woodfin, Esther Wong and Madeleine Moorhouse-Smith are also hoping for a medal.
Riders and little brothers, Oscar and Alfie Amy, will be out on the podium this weekend, having put in an exceptional performance in the National Cup Series this year. Sebastian Grindley, Louis Tinsley and Seth Jackson will also be people to keep an eye on for consistent results throughout the season.
Where to watch
Fans can come and cheer on our fantastic British riders in Falkirk, and experience the thrill of cyclo-cross racing in a lively, family-friendly atmosphere. The tournament will be held at Callendar Park, Falkirk, FK1 1YR.
Falkirk High train station is a five-minute walk from the western end of Callendar Wood and local buses serve all sides of Callendar Park. Parking is available at Callendar Business Park, Callendar Boulevard, Falkirk, FK1 1XR. Please follow the directional signs on Callendar Road and follow the direction of the guards when arriving at the business park. There are a number of areas in the business park that are not available for day parking including Antonine House, Office of Public Guardian, The Forum and Link Housing.
We've invested once again this weekend to make sure our members and fans across the country can watch all the action live from home.
The elite races will be broadcast live from 11:20 on the BBC Sport website, BBC Sport app and BBC iPlayer, with commentary from Marty MacDonald and Helen Wyman.
The Elite and Junior races will also be broadcast in full on British Cycling's YouTube channel herestarting at 9:15.
Junior Open – 09:25
Junior females – 10:25
Elite and U23 – 11:25
Elite and U23 Open – 1:15 p.m
Veteran 50-59 Open – 2:45 p.m
Veteran 60+ Open – 14:46
Veteran 40-49 Female – 09:25
Veteran 50-59 and 60+ Female – 09:26
Youth under 16 years old, females – 10:25
Youth U14 Female – 10:26
Youth U14 Open – 12:20
Youth U16 Open – 1:20 p.m
Veteran 40-49 Open – 14:20
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