Opinion: Globalisation in cycling? Not in cyclocross
With the announcement that Zdenek Stybar will focus completely on a career in road racing, elite cyclocross has lost its last non-Belgian star. Where road racing gets more and more global, cyclocross gets more and more Flemish. How can that be appealing to an international audience?
The road season starts with races in (formerly) exotic places like San Luis (Argentina), Tour Down Under, Tour of Oman, Tour of Qatar before finally returning to the ancient home of cycling: Europe. On the track the globalisation has been a process of many years so far. In cross the large majority of races takes place in Belgium with some world cups abroad. Those world cups are a UCI thing which means that a Flemish commentator has to interview a Flemish winner in English. That doens’t work!
The new generation of cyclocross is mainly Dutch with a few Belgians too. But with only Dutch and Flemish riders you don’t merit to be an international sport. When the focus of big stars like Lars Boom and Zdenek Stybar switches to road racing, you must realize that cross is a winter passtime, a training ride. I do know that cross is very popular amongst French youth riders but they all aspire a road career like Steve Chainel and mostly John Gadret showed.
Road racing will always be the big, wealthy brother and cyclocross the smaller infant that will never grow up. It’s sad for the lovers of cross but it’s reality.