If anything can be said about the current cyclocross world, it is a sign that it has become very diverse. Certainly at the 2023 European Championships in cyclo-cross, another step in the right direction has been taken, or not?
Diversity in cycling is very important. And in that regard, the Cyclocross European Championships in Pontchâteau, France, may have been a new step in the right direction. Ok, the European champions for men and women are still a Belgian man (Vanthourenhout) and a Dutch woman (van Empel), but still.
There is more diversity than ever in the youth series and there were also an Italian (Casasola) and a Brit (Mason) on the two main stages. In addition, new countries have also been added to the all-time medal table.
Across all editions, the Netherlands (39x gold, 26x silver and 19x bronze) remains the primus inter pares, followed by our country (23x gold, 21x silver, 22x bronze). Everything else follows at a huge disadvantage. France and Great Britain have six gold medals, Germany (4), Switzerland (3), the Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia (2) follow further.
But the French were the country with the most medals at the 2023 European Championships. They won in their own country in various youth series and also the mixed relay. They did a solid job with three golds and two bronzes. And that can actually be said of the British with Backstedt.
Luxembourg is also added, France wins the medal classification
Luxembourg won a medal for the first time ever with Schreiber and Hungary also contributed again to the not so bright bag. If the cyclo-cross riders want to dream of one day ending up at the Olympic (winter) Games, there must be diversity. It is possible that these European championships are indeed a step in the right direction.
It is now up to the organizers and (international) cycling associations to keep the French, Schreiber, Casasola, Mason and Backstedt in the field and not let them choose the road. This way everything can take off even further.