What is Cyclo-Cross?

Young Foyle Cycling Club members Evan Wynne (aged 5) and his brother Ashton (3) after their first Cyclo-Cross race in Dublin a few weeks ago.

Young Foyle Cycling Club members Evan Wynne (aged 5) and his brother Ashton (3) after their first Cyclo-Cross race in Dublin a few weeks ago.

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Cyclo-Cross racing is one of the oldest disciplines of cycle sport with races recorded as far back in 1902 in France .

The sport is increasing in popularity in Ireland with almost 300 competitors turning up for events.

Until recently it was prohibited to take on any nutrition or fluids in the race.

Cyclists are faced with a mixed terrain course, ranging from smooth tarmac to deep uncycleable mud.

Man-made obstacles are part of the typical course meaning cyclists must dismount, pick up their bike and remount in as fast and smooth a method as possible.

The bikes themselves are best described as toughened road bikes with off-road tyres, lower off-road gearing and strong brakes.

At a professional level in Europe, riders are supported by factory teams and appear at events with up to 60,000 spectators.

In Belgium, which is seen as the home of ‘cross’, the events have beer tents, hot dogs, and cow bells and competitors are typically heckled by spectators – but that’s all part of the fun!

In Ireland the dominant rider has been Olympian Mountain Bike Racer, Robin Seymour, who so far has 19 National titles to his name.

The reigning national champion is David Montgomery from Ballymena who has been racing in Europe of late.

At the Londonderry event, he will be looking to end the season long domination handed out by Belfast Cycle Shop Owner Glenn Kinning.