With Milton Keynes hosting Great Britain's first ever round of the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup on Saturday – indeed, the first outside Continental Europe – British Cycling has published a handy guide to the event and the riders who will be flying the flag for home fans.
Whether you already have tickets, are thinking of going, or plan to watch via the UCI’s YouTube channel where it will be streamed live, the weekend’s racing is the last event of a big year for cycling here that’s seen the Tour de France begin in Yorkshire and Glasgow host the Commonwealth Games.
There are strong hopes for a home victory in Saturday's women’s race, too – Helen Wyman is ranked number three in the world and Nikki Harrris number five, helping Great Britain to second spot in the UCI World Ranking behind Belgium.
Harris, riding for Telenet Fidea, comes to the race on the back of winning last weekend’s Superprestige round at Spa Francochamps, where British champion Wyman, who rides for the Kona Factory Team, was runner-up.
Five other British riders feature in Saturday’s elite women’s race – Annie Simpson and Adela Carter will ride for their trade teams while three riders will race in the colours of Great Britain – under-23 Hannah Payton, and juniors Amira Mellor and Ffion James, third to Wyman and Harris in last year’s nationals and aged just 16.
While world champion Marianne Vos is missing, her Dutch compatriot and current leader in the World Cup Sophie De Boer is riding, as is the woman currently top of the World Rankings, Katie Compton of the United States.
Four under-23s represent the country in the elite men’s race - Ben Sumner, Jack Clarkson, Nicholas Barnes and Jack Ravenscroft, with multiple national champion Ian Field the pick of the domestic riders. They will be joined in the home challenge by Steven James, Jody Crawforth and Alex Paton.
As ever there is a very strong Belgian contingent spearheaded by former world champion Sven Nys plus a past winner of that event at under-23 level, Kevin Pauwels, who is currently leading the World Cup standings.
Held on a 2.6km course at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes, Saturday’s action kicks off with a junior race at 10am, followed by the Elite Women’s World Cup race at 12.30pm, with the Elite Men starting at 2pm.
More information is available on the event website, where you can still buy tickets, costing £10 and free for under-12s.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.