2009/01/22

Cyclocross at the Olympics?



Cyclocross is like the forgotten little brother of cycling. The one who doesn't get new clothes but takes the older brothers worn out and not-cool-anymore shirts and pants when they are too small, the one who plays soccer because his older brothers already do and there is no way parents are going to go to both soccer and hockey practices and games... Cyclocross has the least support from the federations, not as much budget, marketing and while everybody knows what road cycling, mountain biking and bmx is, ask someone on the street about cyclocross and you'll get an empty confused look.

The sport is pretty big in Belgium and at least a bit known in Europe, it's growing in North America too but still almost exclusively known by serious cyclists. US and canadian federations don't seem to care too much about it either because it's not an olympic sport. The cross World Championships are just around the corner so maybe the excitment generated could bring a few more logs to the fire that is cyclocross growth.

It seems like it could finally change but, as I have had discussions suggesting exactly that in the past, not by bringing cross to summer, but to winter olympic games, as soon as the 2010 Vancouver games. I for one think that makes sense. The sport is a winter sport in the not as snowy and cold European winter. Again, cross is very spectator friendly, easier to broadcast than mountain biking, courses can be built almost anywhere cheaply and featuring it in winter would help make cycling being perceived as a year round sport (I still get some rude 'what the hell are you doing on a bike in winter?' yelling often). Cyclocross Magazine just published a piece on the subject, it's worth a look...

4 comments:

Mister T. said...

As a Belgian it is hard to imagine that Cyclocross is so less popular in other parts of the 'cyclingworld'. Here, from november till march, it's Cyclocross every weekend on television sunday afternoon. Ideal stuff to watch while relaxing from a sunday morning ride :-)
I hope it get more popular in the future. It is the next best thing to MTB'ing... And the idea of a Olympic discipline on the winter Olympics is not all that crazy. I'm pro the idea ;-)

Self_90 said...

I'm all for that also! very good idea!

Masini said...

I'm glad you got into cross - I remember when you had FAR more snowboarding posts this time of year!

Dan Gerous said...

Masini: You may have noticed I switched Snowboarding to Cyclocross in the header... I've always been much more a cyclist than a snowboarder, snowboarding is just something I do to help me get through winter, people that don't do any winter sports here are the ones you hear complaining non-stop from December until April...