Cyclocross World Cup race in Antwerp cancelled due to Covid case surge

Rising cases and the new Omicron variant meant that the race could not go ahead

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The cyclocross World Cup races in Antwerp have been cancelled due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in northern mainland Europe as well as the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

The call to cancel both the men's and women's events that were due to take place on Sunday, December 5 was made late on Sunday, November 28 with other races now set to take place without spectators.

This race was set to be the first appearance of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) this cyclocross season with Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) expected to race soon too.

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Pidcock and Van Aert are now instead starting their season at the Superprestige race in Boom with Van der Poel not starting his season until December 18 at the World Cup in Rucphen.

In a statement, cyclocross World Cup organiser Golazo said: "After a thorough evaluation, the parties involved agreed that a full-fledged cyclocross, such as the one in Antwerp has always been and should be, lives by the grace of the massive public turnout and ambiance.

"With the current measures, the World Cup cyclocross threatens to become only a faint decoction of this."

The Covid-19 restrictions in Belgium require spectators to provide proof they have been vaccinated to gain access to events, and the races that have already taken place drew huge crowds after last season's 'behind closed doors' rule.

Boss of the Antwerp event, Christophe Impens said: "Cyclocross in Antwerp lives from the public and it is traditionally a meeting place for all Antwerpers who love cyclocross and atmosphere."

"But to optimally guarantee the safety and health of everyone, we would have to impose a lot of extra measures that are also hardly controllable."

The Rucphen race in the Netherlands, which sees Van der Poel race, is one of the races having to be held behind closed doors with new Covid rules in the Netherlands requiring all sporting events to take place without crowds.

Antwerp may not be the only World Cup event to be chalked off the season schedule due to the virus as Golazo say others may need cancelling if new Covid rules mean that they are unable to go ahead.

"We are waiting for the next federal consultation committee on December 15,” Impens continued. 

"Depending on the decisions made there, we will look at our next cyclocross races one by one, of course always in close consultation with the local government."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.