The next cyclocross World Cup event will take place on snow as part of Winter Olympic bid

Organisers in Val di Sole have deliberately maintained the snow to show that cyclocross could be classed as an event for the Winter Olympics

Val di Sole cyclocross course
(Image credit: Vitesse)

The next meeting in the 2021/22 cyclocross World Cup season will take place at Val di Sole in the Italian Alps, and the hosts have chosen to leave compacted snow untouched.

The Alpine course forms part of a bid to show that cyclocross could be classed as a possible event for future Winter Olympic Games.

The organisers have been working hard to preserve the snow as best they can with specialist snow ploughs among other machinery. 

Some of the world's best riders will be competing in both the men's and women's events with Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal).

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Val di Sole has become known over the years as one of the main events in the mountain biking world for cross-country and downhill, with cyclocross races usually taking place in the Milan and Veneto regions. However, an expansion to the World Cup has allowed Val di Sole into the calendar. 

The track is set in a stunning valley at the Nordic ski centre in Vermiglio at an altitude of 1,261 metres right at the base of the famous Passo del Tonale, which has been used in road cycling races.

The temperatures are expected to be between a nippy 3°C and a pretty brutal -7°C when the sun has gone in.

The race was going to be held on snow come what may, with fake snow usually used for events such as downhill skiing and biathlon on standby. However, natural early winter snow has covered the course nicely with a further 40cm expected before the race.

Chris Mannaerts, Flanders Classics, is in Val di Sole and said in a video by the organisers: "Sometimes the track is more icy, sometimes more snow. We expect more snow, the local experts told us it could snow another 40cm but it won’t be a problem because the locals are experts at preparing the snow.

"The track has two parts: there’s a more technical track at the beginning and then on the other side of the river, there’s a really steep hill. That will be very challenging because it's a straight line to the hill.

"We’ll see who can climb to the top and who steps off the bike. That will be the key thing in this cyclo-cross race, along with who can make the efforts over and over again."

The venue choice could see the sport of cyclocross be part of the Winter Olympics as all winter sports in the Games must take place on snow or ice. But the earliest it can become a Winter Olympic event is 2030.

Inclusion would be a perfect way to get the audience-friendly sport of cyclocross into the Games, and being a winter activity, it would be wrong to have it alongside the other cycling events in the summer Games.

Discussion of including cyclocross within the Winter Olympics first came about back in 2014 when the International Olympic Committee set up a meeting with the UCI to discuss the possibilities. 

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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.