An action-packed championship cycling event is set to return to East Suffolk over the first weekend of December.
Hundreds of riders are set to descend on Trinity Park for the UCI Masters Cyclo-Cross World Championships between Friday 2 and Sunday 4 December.
The exciting event will feature more than 600 world-class competitors from 20 different nations, as far afield as the USA, Japan, Canada and across Europe, racing along a purpose-built circuit of varying and often tricky terrain, including obstacles, bends, muddy slopes and bridges.
Supported by East Suffolk Council and staged at the same venue for the first time last year, the 2022 edition of the UCI Masters Cyclo-Cross World Championships again promises to be a great day out for all the family and is free to attend for spectators.
Each race comprises multiple laps of a circuit measuring 3km and featuring pavement, woodland trails, grass, climbs, and challenging obstacles requiring riders to dismount and carry their bikes.
In recent years, Suffolk has played host to many prestigious cyclo-cross events, including the UEC European Championships in 2012, and multiple British Cycling National Cyclo-Cross Championships and National Trophy Series events, as well as hosting the UCI Women’s Tour and Men’s Tour on numerous occasions.
The UCI Masters Cyclo-Cross World Championships sees riders aged 35 or over, who no longer compete in an Elite Professional Team, pitted against each other across five age groups containing many former pros, Olympians, national champions and some of the best Cyclo-Cross age category riders the world has to offer, including European Champion (50-54), Cordula Neudörffer (pictured).
They will compete for spoils on Friday and Saturday, with open races for riders of all ages planned during a support programme on Sunday, which will also feature a Special Olympics Cyclo-Cross event.
Racing starts at 11.45am on Friday and 9am on Saturday, with medal ceremonies closing the event from 3pm-4pm each day.
Supporting races for children and local riders conclude the weekend’s racing on Sunday.
Ahead of the main event, on Thursday 1 December, schools in the Ipswich and South Suffolk School Games partnership came together for a morning of cycling activity organised in partnership between Active Suffolk, British Cycling, East Suffolk Council and the Elmy Cycles.
Youngsters who may not regularly participate in school sport were given the chance to take part in a carousel of activity that included the involvement of the Suffolk RoadSafe partnership, Suffolk Constabulary, schools outreach organisation Kinetic Science, art organisation Rock Paper Scissors, British Cycling and Loose Cannon's Conditioning.
Cllr Letitia Smith, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism, who is due to attend the event and present medals to the winners, said:
“I’m delighted to welcome back the UCI Masters Cyclo-Cross World Championships following the success of last year’s event.
“It’s a really exciting spectator sport and another great asset for the district in terms of hosting top cycling events.
“As a local authority, we’re committed to increasing participation in sporting activity to improve health and wellbeing for everyone in East Suffolk, while also helping to tackle social and rural isolation.
“In the last six months, we’ve adopted new strategies for the sustainable future of our leisure and sports facilities, and for the enhancement of our cycling and walking network.”
James Payne, Active Suffolk Senior Development Officer, said:
“When high profile events come to our locality it provides huge opportunities to inspire local people to take part in physical activity.
“On this occasion, a number organisations have worked in collaboration to provide a unique opportunity for local school children to come and have a fun day experiencing the event venue and taking part in a number of specially selected activities before the Championships get underway over the weekend.”
Organiser Steve Grimwood, of Elmy Cycles, said:
“It is an honour for us to bring UCI Cyclo-Cross racing back to Suffolk.
“Hosting the UCI World Masters Cyclo-Cross gives us a fantastic opportunity to welcome the riders and visitors back to Suffolk.
“The racing is sure to be fast and furious, with riders keen to get their hands on the coveted UCI World Champions jerseys.”
For more information on the event, including a schedule of races, visit worldmasterscx.co.uk. You can also follow preparations for the event at twitter.com/WorldCyclo or facebook.com/worldmasterscyclocross.