7 Riders to Watch This Cyclocross Season
We're already knee-deep into the muck of cyclocross season. While you're watching all of the dirty action, be sure to keep an eye on these seven riders who are rapidly rising up the ranks and keeping us entertained each weekend.
With two World Cups already behind us, the 2019/20 cyclocross season is well underway — and what a wild ride it’s been so far. If the Jingle Cross and Waterloo World Cups are any indications of what’s to come, cyclocross fans won’t be disappointed this season. Here are seven riders that we’ll be keeping a close eye on as the action heats up.
It took the UCI until the 2015–2016 cyclocross season to finally recognize that women racers under the age of 23 exist in the world. As the winner of the inaugural Women’s U23 Cyclocross Championship, Evie Richards quickly showed the governing body just how much skill and talent it had been missing out on for so many years. That championship race in Zolder also happened to be Richard’s first cyclocross race outside of her native Great Britain. She’s been a regular on the world stage ever since, winning a bronze medal the following years and a second rainbow jersey in 2018. In her first season in the Elite field, Richards already has back-to-back top-five World Cup finishes.
Another first-year Elite off to an excellent start is Clara Honsinger — and as the outgoing U23 National and Pan-American Champion, her final U23 season didn’t end too badly either. Beginning with back-to-back second-place finishes at Rochester Cyclocross and ending with third- and fourth-place finishes at the Jingle Cross and Waterloo World Cups, respectively, September was a hell of a month for the young racer. Hailing from Oregon, a state that has produced a remarkable number of pro cyclocross racers, Honsinger began winning Elite races in her local scene when she was still in high school. Since then, she’s become one of the fastest-rising stars in international cyclocross.
While Katie Keough has been a top name in cyclocross for going on a decade, there’s one race that has always eluded her: the Elite National Championship. Since 2012, Keough has found herself on the Championship podium five times but has yet to dethrone the 15-time reigning champion, Katie Compton. Could this be the year that the Badger finally catches her prey? While neither racer managed to crack the top five at Jingle Cross this year — a World Cup that they’ve both previously won — Keough did finish well ahead of Compton. It was a similar story the following weekend at the Waterloo World Cup.
Eli Iserbyt is hardly an unknown name in the world of cyclocross. With multiple World and Belgian national championship wins, the 21-year-old’s career is certainly noteworthy. This year brings a new challenge for Iserbyt — his first year racing in the Elite field. So far, he’s making it look easy. After back-to-back World Cup wins at Jingle Cross and Trek Cup, Iserbyt is well on his way to adding another rainbow jersey to his collection. The real test is yet to come for Iserbyt as several notable names were absent from the start lists at both World Cups so far.
A name often used in the same breath as Iserbyt the last couple years is Tom Pidcock. The two young racers have often found themselves on the same podium in the sport's highest-profile races including the U23 World Championships in Bogenses where it was Pidcock on top. Satisfied with his U23 successes, Pidcock jumps up to the elite level for the 2019/20 season. Oh, and If you’re wondering where Pidcock has been so far this cyclocross season, he’s been busy winning a bronze medal at the U23 Road World Championship despite recovering from a smashed face. Fun fact: Tom rides Ritchey WCS XC Pedals.
2019 has been a whirlwind year for 21-year-old Lance Haidet. Just a few short weeks before winning the U23 Road National Championship (his second Stars and Stripes jersey), Haidet lined up at the Dirty Kanza 200. In a remarkably stacked field, Haidet clinched a top 20 finish in the 200-mile behemoth race. Next, it was on to France for a month of stage racing before heading back to the U.S. for the Jingle Cross World Cup — again with another top 20 finish. Noticeably absent from the start line at Trek Cup the following weekend, Haidet was preparing for another Euro trip — this time for Road Worlds. With road season officially over, we’re sure to see him in the mud much more frequently.
Gosse van der Meer
Young, mustachioed, and fiercely focused, Gosse van der Meer ditched a contract with an established team a few years ago in a quest to conquer cyclocross courses (and roads and trails) as an independent racer. While Gosse identifies as Frisian (an ethnic group inhabiting parts of the Netherlands and Germany), he has raced with the Dutch national team in the European Championships and stood on the podium at the Dutch National Championships as a U23 rider. A regular at World Cup events and other UCI races around the world, Gosse somehow finds enough hours in the day to train full-time while also studying for his university degree. Refreshingly independent and eternally positive, Gosse brings a healthy dose of personality between the course tape and in the peloton.