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Rochette leads 26-rider Canadian team for cyclo-cross Worlds

Maghalie Rochette racing at the UCI World Cup in Namur
Maghalie Rochette racing at the UCI World Cup in Namur (Image credit: Getty Images)

Cycling Canada announced a 26-rider team for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships that take place in Fayetteville, Arkansas from January 28-30.

Led by World Cup podium finisher Maghalie Rochette, the country is fielding full rosters for the junior, under-23 and elite fields, much like hosts USA Cycling, while the dominant European nations - the Netherlands and Belgium - are cutting back due to the logistics and expense of the journey to the US.

Rochette started her season with a pair of wins in Rochester, New York in September but arguably had her best performances during the two weeks around the start of December when she scored a second place at the Besançon World Cup, third place at the Val di Sole World Cup, and fourth in the Superprestige in Boom.

"I'm really happy with my season so far," Rochette said in the federation's press release. "I had some of the best results of my career and was more consistent than ever."

Rochette had her best performance at Worlds in 2017 when she was fifth behind winner Sanne Cant (Belgium). Since then, she hasn't made the top 10 but has high aspirations for Fayetteville.

"My goal for Worlds is to put all these learnings into practice and to deliver the best possible performance. I think it's realistic to aim for a podium, but I really want to start this race with an open mind and I don't want to set any limits for myself. I've prepared as much as possible, so my goal is to cross the finish line feeling completely drained, knowing that I've done my best."

Rochette will be joined by Pan American Games silver medallist Ruby West, as well as national cyclo-cross champions Michael van den Ham and Sydney McGill.

The Canadian team will also feature Pan American Champion Ava Holmgren, the third-ranked junior in the world. Holmgren finished in the top 10 in two World Cups - Namur and Dendermonde - in the juniors and won the junior race in Gullegem earlier this month as part of the federation's team trip to Belgium.

"The international race experience we were able to provide for our development athletes this season will be largely beneficial at Worlds," said Cycling Canada's Cyclo-cross Lead, Rob Holmgren. 

"The new skills and experience they were able to acquire will carry them well into this competition and further into their careers. We have a great group of development athletes and veterans, and we look forward to seeing them perform against the best in the world."

Canada for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships

  • Junior Women: Jenaya Francis, Ava Holmgren, Isabella Holmgren, Kiara Lylyk, Ella Myers
  • Junior Men: Ian Ackert, Theo DeGroote, Sasha Renaud-Tremblay, Luke Valenti, Alexander Woodford
  • U23 Women: Christiane Bilodeau, Kelly Lawson, Katelyn Walcroft
  • U23 Men: Hugo Brisebois, Owen Clark, Tyler Clark, Matt Leliveld, Noah Ramsey
  • Elite Women: Siobhan Kelly, Sidney McGill, Maghalie Rochette, Ruby West
  • Elite Men: Malcolm Barton, Tyler Orschel, Brody Sanderson, Michael van den Ham
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.