Parties, poems and IPAs: pro cycling’s wedding season gets underway

Find out which pros are getting married this year

Remco Evenepoel and Oumi Rayane in Brussels
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wedding bells, it seems, are ringing throughout the peloton. With the racing calendar all but wrapped up, riders are swapping out Lycra for their smartest attire and heading down the aisle.

It’s no mystery why the latter part of the season is such a popular wedding period for pro cyclists. The Grand Tours are over, race days are few, and so condition is not a top priority. At least not for the next few months. 

It’s the perfect time, then, to gather all your friends in a posh venue and celebrate as you join in matrimony with your life partner. 

Here are some of this season’s newly and soon-to-be weds, including a blockbuster double-header this Friday. 

Remco Evenepoel

Remco Evenepoel kissing his fiancée Oumi Rayane

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel returned to Belgium last month as a national hero. The 22-year-old waltzed through the arrivals gate at Brussels airport with a smile on his face, a swagger in his step and, most importantly, a rainbow jersey on his back.

Throngs of adoring fans came to welcome the Belgian home, but he couldn’t stay long. He uttered a few words to the press and shuffled joyfully along on his way. “I have to go and choose my wedding suit with my mum,” Evenepoel told Het Nieuwsblad.  

This Friday, the world champion is set to tie the knot with his long-term partner Oumi Rayane. It's not been a bad year for the Belgian, has it?

Dan Bigham and Joss Lowden

Dan Bigham and Joss Lowden at the world championships in 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

On the same day as Evenepoel’s wedding, British time trialling power couple Dan Bigham and Joss Lowden are set to get married in the UK. 

The pair got engaged last September at a training camp in Sierra Nevada and have spent the past year planning the big day. Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Bigham said he “cannot take a huge amount of credit” for organising the event. 

“Joss has led the way on it all. She is by trade a project manager so she’s actually really good at this,” the World Hour Record holder added. 

The one thing Bigham has arranged, however, is the beer selection. “I’m a bit of a beer connoisseur,” he said. “I have [chosen] two different IPAs, so a fairly standard quite light, sessionable IPA, and then a more hazy IPA. I’ve got a porter, a lager, and what was the fifth one? I think it was going to be a dunkel, a Munich dunkel, but then they changed it to something else.”

On Friday, with the party in full flow, it's likely Bigham will be keeping an eye on how much he drinks. The 31-year-old has been selected to represent Great Britain in the UCI Track World Championships next week, where he’ll compete in both the team and individual pursuits. 

Jesús Ezquerra

Jesús Ezquerra of BH Burgos

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Some more attentive viewers might remember the moment Jesús Ezquerra proposed to his partner. On the final stage of the 2019 Vuelta a España, the BH Burgos rider pedalled alongside his team car, pulled a ring out of his jersey pocket, and presented it to his girlfriend in the backseat. The pair sealed their promise with a kiss, before Ezquerra rode the remaining 72km to the stage finish in Madrid.

Three years later, with the big day drawing closer, the couple were forced to postpone their wedding after Ezquerra was selected to represent Spain at the World Championships in Australia. 

“If it's for something like this, it hurts less to change the wedding date,” he told MARCA last month. “I'm going to delay it for a week. My future wife is also happy and excited about this issue because she knows it's a dream. Both things are important, the wedding more. She is the main thing, but we have decided to delay it."

The couple were duly wed in the northern Spanish region of Cantabria on Monday.

Elynor and Charley Bäckstedt-Calvert

Elynor Bäckstedt hugs Charley Calvert

(Image credit: Getty Images)

On 29 June, three days after she took fifth in the road race at the British National Championships, Elynor Bäckstedt married her partner Charley Calvert. But didn't take a honeymoon until this autumn.

The pair opted to hold their special day at St Tewdrics House, a 19th-century villa owned and operated as a wedding venue by Geraint Thomas (yes, that one) and his wife Sara. 

Rather than asking for wedding presents, the couple addressed their loved ones in poem form, proposing they contribute to the costs of a honeymoon. Below are the opening stanzas. 

We’ve lived together quite a while
with all our pots and pans,
and as we don’t need homely gifts
we’ve got another plan.

We know it’s not traditional,
and not the way it’s done,
but rather than a wedding list
we’d love a bit of sun.

The Bäckstedt-Calverts are expected to travel to Disneyland Paris and the Canary Islands later this year for their honeymoon. 

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