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Kids’ Guide to the Milton Keynes Cyclocross World Cup

21 November 2014

What to see, who to cheer for! Anna Buick has written our children’s guide to enjoying the first ever cyclocross World Cup to be held in the UK.

Get cross!

There are hundreds and hundreds of youth cyclocrossers in Britain, ranging from Under 8s who have a go at the weekends in their local league to Under 16 National Champions who race and win in the youth versions of some of the world’s most prestigious cyclocross races.

To all of you, and to those who have never raced cyclocross but think it looks a good crack, we invite you to the Milton Keynes Cyclocross World Cup on Saturday 29th November.

Cyclocross is such an accessible form of cycle sport, with leagues up and down the country which cater fantastically for all levels of youth racing.

It’s raced in a safe environment away from roads and traffic, and without anything that will scare parents too much! Most of all, it is an excellent excuse to get muddy, eat cake, see your friends and have loads of fun.

The World Cup is coming…

Cyclocross is not as well known as other cycling disciplines like road and track, but we believe that’s all about to change. Next weekend sees the very best riders in the world – some of whom are British – come to race a World Cup in England.

This is a historic event, the first time a cyclocross World Cup has been held outside of mainland Europe, and we would love for you – the future of UK cyclocross – to come and watch what promises to be an amazing cycling spectacle.

What you’ll need

First things first, you’ll need a ticket. They are £10 for adults and free for Under 12s. You can tell your parents that this gets you into the venue and right up close to the action, plus you have access to the expo village and can come face-to-face with the riders at the team area. You may wish to bring some pocket money for some food and drink – there will be lots of caterers on site – and maybe you can buy some Christmas presents at the stalls (best to keep Mum and Dad sweet, hey?).

Once you have a ticket you are all set.

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See the stars

So, back to the action. Racing starts at 10:00 a.m. with the best Junior (U19) Boys in the country. Although not a World Cup race, these boys represent the next step on from Youth racing and we are giving them a chance to showcase their talent in a World Cup environment.

Next up will be the women at 12:30 p.m.. The Great Britain team has topped the international rankings for cyclocross for the last three seasons! Nikki Harris, Helen Wyman and Gabby Day are some of the very best riders in the world, basing themselves in Belgium and the USA to race at the very pinnacle of the sport. This is your chance to watch first-hand as they go all-out for victory on home soil, with a home crowd behind them. British Cycling is sending a full team of eight women for the race, including two Junior women: Ffion James and Amira Mellor. Two years ago they were Youth riders and now they will be wearing the GB colours, racing a home World Cup! How cool is that?!

Of course, there will be women from all around the world coming to race at Milton Keynes. Last year’s World Cup overall winner and multiple US Champion Katy Compton will be there, as will Belgian Champion and in-form rider, Sanne Cant. The list goes on and on. But of course we want to see a British victory! For Youth girls, our GB cyclocross stars are a real inspiration; incredible athletes and wonderful people. Cheer them on and then go and say hi and get an autograph. They would love that, and I’m sure you would too. Go girls!

And now for the elite men. Again, British Cycling is sending a full team of eight. They are led by three-time British Champion and bona fide Belgian-based big deal, Ian Field! Ian has had some very promising results so far this season and is looking to finally crack the top ten in Milton Keynes. He is counting on your cheers to help him along the way.

Also part of the team is regular YCS contributor Jack Ravenscroft who has only just moved up from the Junior category. This is a huge step up for him but he can’t wait to get stuck in. When we asked for some advice to Youth spectators, here is what he said:

When you come down to Milton Keynes you should bring with you anything you can find which will make as much noise as possible: cowbells, air horns, football rattles, vuvuzelas… my dad is bringing a set of handlebars which he intends to blow like a conch shell. My best racing experiences have come from crowds going crazy so I expect no less from the British contingent!

Once you get back home I urge you to find out about the nearest regional league (there are leagues all over the country so you’ll never have to travel far). Entry fees are minimal for Under 12s and you can race on your old mountain bike; under 12 races last for 15 minutes which makes it great fun as racing is fast and furious; there’s usually a soft surface to fall on so you’re less likely to get injured (do try to stay on your bike though); your older self will thank you for having learned essential skills for all disciplines through cyclocross and you’ll be participating in just about the funnest discipline in all of cycling.

There are too many reasons to list here why cyclocross is a great sport to get into as a youngster but my enthusiasm should serve as testament.”

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Jack Ravenscroft in action representing Great Britain

Lining up alongside the British boys will be a whole host of huge international ‘cross stars including the incredible line up of Belgians such as Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout, Tom Meeusen and the legend that is Sven Nys! Lars van der Haar will go about defending his World Cup overall title from last year and he will have the support of a number of Dutch fans making the journey across the Channel.

With throngs of fans with flags and fancydress; cyclocross heroes and fresh upcoming talent; food vans, bike stalls and more merchandise than you could possibly wear all at once, the Milton Keynes World Cup Cyclocross is set to have an amazing atmosphere!

There’s still chance to buy your tickets and get in amongst the best cyclocross action the World has to offer. See you there!

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Anna Buick is a cycling writer and photographer who works with some great brands and teams. Visit her excellent “From the Pits” website for plenty of cyclocross and MTB features.

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Kids’ Guide to the Milton Keynes Cyclocross World Cup

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