European Cyclo-cross Championships rescheduled due to stormy weather

Local authority in western France stops Saturday's planned races from happening; races rescheduled to Sunday

Fem van Empel lifts her bike above her head after the Koppenbergcross
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The European Cyclo-Cross Championships have been rescheduled due to the ongoing effects of Storm Ciarán.

In a statement on Friday afternoon, the day before the events were due to take place, the Union Européenne de Cyclisme (UEC) said that the races will now take place on Sunday instead; it is not known what the impact on the schedule will be. The Team Relay still took place on Friday, however.

The women's elite, under-23 men's and junior women's races were due to be held on Saturday in Pont-Château, France, but with Meteo France predicting gusts of up to 90km/h on Saturday, along with rain, the events have been postponed. The weather does not look much better for Sunday, 5 November.

A tweet from the UEC read: "Due to the extreme weather conditions forecast in Western France, the local authorities (Prefet de la Loire-Atlantique) have decreed that no events can be held tomorrow (4 Nov.). All EuroCross23 events will now be rescheduled for Sunday A new schedule will be announced soon."

There are now men's and women's elite, under-23 and junior races to be rescheduled to Sunday now, all in one day on one course. Among those impacted by the move are the defending champions Fem van Empel (Netherlands) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium), as well as Great Britain's Cameron Mason and Anna Kay.

Pont-Château, which has previously hosted the World Cyclo-cross Championships in 1989 and 2004, has provided a three kilometre long course with three stair sections.

Among the other favourites for the women's elite race include last year's second place, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, and Inge van der Heijden, both of the Netherlands. It is hard to look past Van Empel, though, who has now won every raced she has lined up in this season, including this week's Koppenbergcross.

Meanwhile, in the men's race, Vanthourenhout and Mason will be expected to be up there with Lars van der Haar (Netherlands), and Thibau Nys (Belgium), who won the Koppenbergcross. Nys' fellow Belgians Laurens Sweeck and Eli Iserbyt will also be marked men.

Young British duo Cat Ferguson and Imogen Wolff headline the women’s junior start list, an event which will now take place on Sunday too.

It is not the first event to be called of this week because of storms, with organisers forced to cancel the Dutch National Headwind Championships – due to high winds.

"We've been closely monitoring the development of Storm Ciarán and unfortunately [it has become] so strong that we can't start. Everyone's safety is our top priority,"  the organisers said on social media.

"We were really looking forward to it, but have had to make this decision in cooperation with different parties and with pain in our hearts."

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