The rise and rise of cyclo-cross

Experts from the increasingly popular discipline discuss its success and what the future may hold

Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles)

Two-time British champion Ian Field – the first man to successfully defend the national champions’ jersey since Roger Hammond – is Britain’s sole male representative at elite World Cup level. The Kent rider previously enjoyed success on the national trophy scene, not least in Abergavenny where he has won rounds on three occasions, but this year he has surged into the top 20 in the last two World Cup rounds this year alongside finishing 13th in the prestigious Koppenbergcross.

British champion Ian Field, pictured at Koksijde last year, will compete there again this weekend (pic: Balint Hamvas)

‘Field de Brit’, as the Belgians affectionately call him, believes the British scene is growing at grassroots level but having experienced first hand the love of ‘cross in the Low Countries, he does not believe it can be matched here.

He said: “I really don’t get to do many domestic races but I hear at a local level, rather than the national scene, the numbers participating are getting bigger and bigger.

“This isn’t really transferring to the national level for some reason. But participation numbers being up has got to be a good thing for the sport.

“I don’t think ‘cross will ever be as big anywhere as it is in Belgium right now however, the numbers of people spectating is just crazy. Nearly one million people watched the Superprestige at the weekend live on TV.

“When you think there are only about six million Flemish people, this percentage is way above and beyond pretty much anything on UK television.”

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