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2024 UCI World Championships in Tabor: Men's Preview – Favorite Mathieu van der Poel seeks sixth title

2024 UCI World Championships in Tabor: Men's Preview – Favorite Mathieu van der Poel seeks sixth title

Thursday, February 1, 2024 at 8:05 pm

The cyclocross world championship is usually the cross we look forward to all winter. But the tension may be short-lived this time. Mathieu van der Poel has never been more dominant than he was last winter, and in Tabor, Czech Republic, he simply had to cap those months with his sixth world title. According to the Dutchman himself, that would complete the circle, because Van der Poel also won his first world title in Tabor in 2015. Cycling He is looking forward to an elite men's title fight.


The last ten winners of the Cycling World Championships (men)
2023: Matthew van der Poel
2022: flag-gbTom Pidcock
2021: flag nlMatthew van der Poel
2020: flag nlMatthew van der Poel
2019: flag nlMatthew van der Poel
2018: Science isWoot Fan Art
2017: Science isWoot Fan Art
2016: Science isWoot Fan Art
2015: flag nlMatthew van der Poel
2014: Flag of CzechoslovakiaZdenek Štybar

last year

2023 World Cycling Championships result (men)
1. flag nlMathieu van der Poel in 1:07:20 seconds
2. Science isWout van Aert in Bt
3. Science isEllie Isserbyt is 12 years old
4. flag nlLars van der Haar is 13 years old
5. Science isMichael Vanthornhout in 46 seconds


There has been speculation for weeks about the World Cup being played on snow and ice. Belgian national team coach Sven Vanthornhout said last week that such conditions would increase the chances of Mathieu van der Poel's rivals in Tabor, Czech Republic. But what will happen a few days before the world title fight? In the Czech Republic, temperatures only drop below freezing at night, and we definitely shouldn't rely on precipitation in the winter. “The temperature was often around five to six degrees this week in Tabor,” explains Jakub Ryman, one of the Czech professionals participating in the World Cup.

Two weeks ago, he got a taste of the track during the National Championships, in which he only finished 12th due to a poorly timed flat tire. “The lap was still covered with a layer of ice, which made it slippery in the corners. But Tabor remained a track where every rider could use his strengths and be the best version of himself.

“Given the changing conditions, I expect a quick cross at Tabor next Sunday,” Reiman says. “It won't be muddy out there anymore. It'll be a dry circuit. But on the other hand: the technical passes, like the high bars immediately before the tough climbs and the short bends, will always lead to a tiebreaker race. Those bars have always been crucial in Tabor, but I expect him to win Best rider on Sunday.

Since Tábor is a cross-country classic, many riders already know the circuit like the back of their hand. Mathieu van der Poel won his first professional world title in 2015 and his first European title in 2017. Moreover, we often find the World Cup round there at the beginning of the season. “You can compare the World Cup track to that by about eighty percent. The only real differences are that the sector at the back is oriented in a different direction and an extra loop has been added. On top of that, two extra bridges have been built.

The beams in question at Tabor – Photo: Cor Vos

However, the beams, which according to experts are the most famous passage of the cycle, deserve an extra word of explanation. Dutch racer Pim Runhaar in particular sees the danger in this. “Normally there are World Cup boards and they are easy to jump on. But I saw that there are other boards in it now. The ones that were there a few years ago are much higher and are very difficult to jump on.

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“On top of that, that area slopes up there. Normally when it's flat, you maintain your speed on the bars. But here you have to hit that bar harder to maintain your speed between the bars. And that's definitely possible with those World Cup boards. You can He put the front wheel there, because it's a little bit wider beam. But what's there now is just a plank. So you shouldn't touch it, because then you'll fall. Take a look at the 2015 edition. Then Matteo hit those beams four times out of the seven rounds that “They rode it there. So it's a risk.”

Program and information

Komora Sports Area, Na Bydžově 3122, 390 05 Tábor

general information
Tickets are available Online And at the ticket office near the course. In the online store A ticket for all three days costs 38 euros. Individual tickets are also on sale for Friday (€4), Saturday (€15) and Sunday (€23). Children under 1.30 meters tall can enter for free.

Practical information
Site organization
Lists of participants

Favorite men

Despite being a global title fight, Sunday promises to be a good old-fashioned Belgian-Dutch battle – as usual – on Czech soil. A total of around 52 riders from 18 countries are preparing for the Male Professional Cyclists' World Championships, but Belgium and the Netherlands are the best equipped of all. The Netherlands – after the much-discussed addition of Mies Hendriks – start with seven, even as their southern neighbors start with nine.

Mathieu van der Poel dominated the winter cross – Photo: Cor Vos

Big favorite? We shouldn't get around this. Belgian national coach Sven Vanthornhout previously stated that everyone at Tabor will be competing for second place and you can't blame him for that, given the reigning champions' dominance. Matthew van der Poel Proven. He has had a very impressive winter, which means we can rightfully call him a top candidate.

Van der Poel denied his rival hope just three minutes later with his first cross at Herenthals. He needed one ski mountain to stand out above the rest and simply develop a higher base pace than the rest for an hour. An image that will last throughout Christmas. Sometimes Van der Poel would wait until mid-race to release Wout van Aert, but we can't say it got really exciting. Although the last three confrontations have changed the picture somewhat.

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The fast laps of Benidorm, Hamm and Hoogerheide made it more difficult for Van der Poel to clear the rest. In Benidorm, Van Aert held on to his wheel until the world champion deliberately crashed, and on the track designed by his father, it took until the final lap before Thibaut Nys broke. The caveat to be made here is that Van der Poel always had a tough week of training before those crosses and was never fresh to begin with. He will likely do so in the Czech Republic, so we should see the best of Van der Poel.

Will Thibaut Ness prove that he is the strongest of all the Belgians? – Photo: Cor Vos

Who in the Belgian camp is considered capable of following in Van der Poel's footsteps? Then we first think about the best crossbar jumpers, as experts consider this section to be the decisive section. Tibau Nice He probably has the best beam technique in the entire peloton, just like the European Champion Michael Vanthornhout. On top of that, Nys also combines a good dose of explosions, so you won't easily get rid of him quickly. But then he must not allow himself to get carried away – as happened when Van der Poel made his decisive attack at Hoogerheide. Nys also appears to have gotten his legs back from the early months of cross country just in time. Vanthourenhout is a championship rider par excellence and can always do more on the day.

However, the two are not sure either. Both Vanthourenhout and Nys alternate the early days with days when they are unable to find their best legs. Then someone like Elie Esserbet Much more regularly. He's already got his jersey, so he can feel confident about competing for the world title. To be honest, we have no longer seen the Azerbait working since the beginning of the season, but that is of course not unreasonable. The Flemish West mainly wanted to win the ratings and put a lot of energy into it.

The Belgian team is completed by Lorenz Swick, Niels Vandeputte, Joran Wisseur, Ton Vandebosch, Jens Adams and Wits Meeusen. On a good day, the top three are close to the podium, or at least the top 5. We certainly have to consider Wyseure one of the finds of the season. The 23-year-old racer was runner-up to Iserbyt at the Belgian Championship in Meulebeke.

Are the Packers throwing a spanner in the works for Van der Haar? – Photo: Cor Vos

Dutch Joris Nieuwenhuis And Pim ronhar They're two names we didn't put among our World Cup favorites last year, but in one year, the two Baloise Trek Lions riders battled it out all the way to the top of cyclo-cross. Nieuwenhuis is in the same boat as Iserbyt: he's already got his shirt. But it seems the new national champion is not finished yet. Furthermore, thanks to its history on the road, it has one of the largest engines in the entire motocross peloton. Ronhaar was on the podium with him in Hoogerheide, and he will be happy to repeat that in Tabor, but after that things will have to go his way. Because a completely Dutch theater is of course something that no Belgian would want to happen.

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If one of them doesn't give up, the orange shirts have one too Lars van der Haar. Being 32 years old, he is the most experienced starter, and also the player who may struggle the most among the models. After all, Van der Haar doesn't like to jump, especially when the bars are too high. However, Tabor, where he has won several World Cups, suits him. So one day he too can be on the podium.

And other countries? They will have to limit themselves to a supporting role. Although we have to admit that Frenchman Clement Venturini, Swiss Timon Roig, Kevin Kuhn and Spaniard Felipe Orts, right behind the top players, did not perform badly in Hoogerheide. A top-10 finish should also be the goal for Tabor, just as it is for Britain's Cameron Mason, who has unfortunately faded in recent weeks. And the Czechs themselves? They are probably hoping to get work from their favourite: retiree Zdeněk Štybar. But national champions Michael Burros and Adam Topalek are better bets on a good result.

Favorites according to WielerFlits
*** Mathieu van der Poel
** Thibaut Ness, Michael Vanthornhout
* Joris Nieuwenhuis, Lars van der Haar, Elie Iserbyt

Lists of participants

Weather and TV

“The weather forecast in Tabor is very favorable,” says meteorologist Matthijs van der Linden. Cycling. He added: “The weather will remain dry over the coming days, with 5-6 degrees in the afternoon and a few degrees of frost at night and in the morning.” Later in the week the weather will be milder with 10 to 13 degrees during the day. Then the chance of frost at night decreases significantly.

“There are more clouds and the chances of some rain are increasing. Rain on Friday appears to be limited to the north of the Czech Republic, but it may also rain in the Tabor region over the weekend. For now, the amount of rain appears to remain limited,” the meteorologist forecasts. Air Weeronline. “This is a fairly favorable climate scenario for winter, because on average at this time of the year in Tabor it is just above zero during the day and freezes by 4 degrees at night.”

TV viewers who want to follow the spectacle live can watch the various channels on Sunday. Sporza On Canvas, there will be a youth ceremony from 10.50am, after which women's vows will also be shown on screen. and Discovery+ online channels make the same choices. Moves for an elite men's title fight Sporza From 1.30pm to VRT1. Eurosport 1 It will then bring the Cross back to your TV screen from 2:15pm, just like NOS Online and NPO1.