Good morning and welcome to another Cycling Weekly live blog. The year's only just begun and already we're less than two weeks from the start of the road season, which opens at the Tour Down Under in Australia.
Join me, Tom Davidson, as I gather all the latest news in the world of cycling. I'll also bring you coverage of today's X20 Trofee cyclo-cross races in Koksijde, which starts at 12:45 (GMT).
9:29 - Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas to kick off 2023 at Tour Down Under
9:54 - Race website appears to leak new EF Education-EasyPost kit
10:32 - Police yet to track down two suspects in Mark Cavendish home robbery trial
11:12 - Paris-Nice route unveiled
11:58 - Rayner Foundation reveals list of 24 supported riders for 2023
12:45 - Live coverage of the X20 cyclo-cross racing in Koksijde
13:30 - Shirin van Anrooij wins women's elite cyclo-cross race in Koksijde
15:00 - Wout van Aert takes sixth cyclo-cross victory of the season
15:20 - Rapha release official images of new EF Education kits
Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas to open seasons at Tour Down Under
The five-stage race marks the first WorldTour event of the season and will open in Adelaide with a short time trial prologue.
Other notable names on the start list, which was released last night, include Giro d'Italia winner Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), two-time world time trial champion Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) and current British time trial champion Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers).
The full start list can be found on the race's website.
EF Education-EasyPost kit leaked?
A jersey design, thought to be EF Education-EasyPost's kit for 2023, has been shared on the Tour Down Under's website.
The three-tone pink design bears a blank Rapha armband and was attached to the Australian race's start list, alongside the names of the team's seven riders expected to participate in the event.
EF Education-EasyPost are yet to officially unveil their new jersey, which they tend to do later than other teams.
The design looks almost identical to one worn by the team's new signing Andrey Amador in a now deleted photo on social media.
So a certain Andrey Amador has removed his recently updated profile picture, removed a new kit post and removed the Insta story that showed off this kitSounds like EF Education-EasyPost is trying to put the genie back in the bottle... pic.twitter.com/RNUUC3lJ1MJanuary 1, 2023
Two men at large in Mark Cavendish home robbery
Police are still searching for two men suspected to have been involved in an armed robbery at the home of British national road champion Mark Cavendish in November 2021.
In an ongoing trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, the jury heard how Cavendish and his wife, Peta, were threatened at knifepoint by intruders, who stole items including two Richard Mille watches, worth £400,000 and £300,000.
Two of the suspects have denied two counts of robbery, while a further two are yet to be tracked down by the police.
In September last year, a 28-year-old man from East London admitted his involvement and pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery.
ASO release 2023 Paris-Nice route
Race organisers ASO have today unveiled the route for this year's edition of Paris-Nice, one of the key precursor stage races to the Grand Tours.
The eight-day race will begin in La Verrière on the outskirts of Paris on 5 March, before making it's way south to the Mediterranean city of Nice. The riders will tackle a 32.2km team time trial on stage three and will face a mountaintop finish on the Col de la Couillole (15.7km at 7.1%) on the penultimate day.
All 18 WorldTour teams will be present, including riders such as Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Romain Bardet (DSM) and David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ). ProTeams Lotto Dstny, TotalEnergies, Israel-Premier Tech and Uno-X, the latter two receiving wildcard invitations.
Last year, the race was won by three-time Vuelta a España winner Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) ahead of Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla).
Full details of the route, as well as the map, can be found below:
Sunday, March 5th, stage 1: La Verrière > La Verrière, 169,4 km
Monday, March 6th, stage 2: Bazainville > Fontainebleau, 163,7 km
Tuesday, March 7th, stage 3: Dampierre-en-Burly > Dampierre-en-Burly (T.T.T), 32,2 km
Wednesday, March 8th, stage 4: Saint-Amand-Montrond > La Loge des Gardes, 164,7 km
Thursday, March 9th, stage 5: Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise > Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, 212,4 km
Friday, March 10th, stage 6: Tourves > La-Colle-sur-Loup, 197,4 km
Saturday, March 11st, stage 7: Nice > Col de la Couillole, 142,9 km
Sunday, March 12nd, stage 8: Nice > Nice, 118,4 km
Rayner Foundation announces supported riders for 2023
The Rayner Foundation, a UK cycling charity, has shared its list of supported riders for the 2023 season.
A total of 24 male riders will receive funds and other assistance from the charity as they pursue cycling careers abroad. The full list can be found on the website.
The Rayner Foundation will also continue to run its 'Gateway' scheme next year, supporting women's teams and junior riders overseas.
The charity enjoyed its most successful year in 2022, with six riders signing professional contracts. Of the six, four stepped up to the men’s WorldTour, with Leo Hayter joining Ineos Grenadiers, Sam Watson graduating into Groupama FDJ’s elite squad, Sean Flynn signing with Team DSM and Harrison Wood swapping AVC Aix for Cofidis.
Josie Nelson and Millie Couzens also both joined women’s Continental outfits for the upcoming road season, signing for Team Coop-Hitec Products and Plantur-Pura respectively.
Originally launched in 1995, the Rayner Foundation supports young British riders who opt to travel abroad to cut their teeth in road racing. To date, the charity has provided financial support to hundreds of riders, including the recently retired Dan Martin, 2020 Giro d’Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart, as well as his former Ineos Grenadiers teammate Adam Yates.
NEWS !! #RaynerFoundation riders revealed ......https://t.co/UbeFQ8ykWlJanuary 4, 2023
X20 Trofee Duinencross Koksijde gets underway!
Today's cyclo-cross racing from the Koksijde airbase in Flanders is now underway.
In the opening moments, a crash brought down a few riders as they sprinted for the first corner. The race favourites - Fem van Empel, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Shirin van Anrooij - are all upright and near the front on the first lap.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: Van Anrooij has started excellently, pulling away from her competitors. The 20-year-old won three of her six races last months and has clearly kept her fine form into 2023.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: After the first lap, Van Anrooij leads by 11 seconds, ahead of former world champions Lucinda Brand and Alvarado.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: European champion Van Empel moves through into second.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: Van Anrooij still has a healthy lead at the front of this race. Brand is trying to close the gap to second-placed Van Empel, which is getting drawn out in the sand sections.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: Let's not forget, Van Anrooij is a master of the sand ruts. The Dutchwoman won by almost a minute last month at the Exact Cross in Mol, a course almost entirely covered in sand.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: This will be a five-lap race. Van Empel trails Van Anrooij by 13 seconds after the second lap.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: Van Empel is closing the gap on Van Anrooij. The European champion has been able to ride more of the sand than her compatriot, and is managing to claw back the metres.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: Van Anrooij has a few lapped riders to deal with here as she continues to lead in Koksijde.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: We're into the final lap! Van Anrooij's advantage has been cut to 11 seconds. This is going to be a two-up battle for the win.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: The third-placed rider, Brand, is over a minute down on Van Anrooij here.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: Van Empel gets into a bit of trouble on the course's long sand section. She loses a few seconds, which might well hand victory to Van Anrooij.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Women’s Elite: Van Anrooij secures the win! After taking the lead just moments into the race, the 20-year-old looked assured around the sandy course. Van Empel put the pressure on, but couldn't close the gap on her compatriot.
That's five victories this season for Van Anrooij, who wins by 14 seconds in Koksijde. Van Empel finishes second, with Brand crossing the line in third at 1-09.
Brand remains the top of the X20 Badkamers Trofee classifcation, but her lead over Van Empel has been reduced considerably.
Join us for coverage of the men's race at 2pm.
Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout van Aert set to face off in Koksijde cyclo-cross
We're moment's away from the start of the men's elite race in Koksijde.
This will be the eighth meeting between Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel this season. So far, the advantage is with the Belgian, who has four victories to his long-term rival's three.
World champion Tom Pidcock is not on the start list for this event.
We're off in Koksijde!
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: Laurens Sweeck gets a good start in the men's elite race. As does Toon Vandebosh, who leads the race.
Van der Poel is currently third wheel, waiting for his chance to pounce.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: Sweeck is drawing out an advantage. Van der Poel and Van Aert are in hot pursuit behind.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: Van der Poel powers into the lead. As Sweeck puts a foot down on a sandy incline, the Dutchman stays on his bike and kicks ahead.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: Van der Poel leads by five seconds ahead of Sweeck and Van Aert as they cross the line for the first time. Van Aert then makes his way into second wheel.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: The rain is starting to fall in Koksijde. This race is about to get a lot more dramatic.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: Van der Poel and Van Aert are together at the front of the race. How many times have you read that sentence before?
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: Van Aert and Van der Poel are trading places at the front of the race. Sweeck is holding their wheel, for the moment at least.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: The three leading riders take the same time over the line at the end of lap two. Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is the next best rider, 18 seconds behind in fourth.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: Van Aert pits for a bike change. He slips slightly on the mud, but stays upright and intact with the front group.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: The trio are all still together as they head into lap four of eight. It'd be hard to pick a winner between them at this point.
X20 Trofee Koksijde Men's Elite: Sweeck is losing contact with Van der Poel and Van Aert. He's battling to close the gap, but as he runs through the sand, Van Ae