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UCI to test team relay at Cyclo-cross World Championships in Arkansas

Reigning elite men's World Champion Mathieu van der Poel leading Thomas Pidcock in cyclo-cross race in Belgium
Reigning elite men's World Champion Mathieu van der Poel leading Thomas Pidcock in cyclo-cross race in Belgium (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Details of the planned test of a team relay event at the 2022 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas have emerged.

According to Wielerflits.nl, the race will consist of six riders - one elite male, one elite female, and two male and two female riders from the U23 or junior ranks. The riders who compete in the event must also take part in their respective fields at the World Championships.

The race will be six laps long, with each rider completing one lap of the 3km course alone and tagging in the next rider at a transition zone. Each nation can determine its own starting order, and the final rider will determine the winner.

The race will take place at 12:30 p.m. local time on Friday, January 28, the first of three days of racing at Centennial Park in Fayetteville. It will be the opening event for the championships, which are sponsored by retail giant Walmart.

The UCI has held a similar relay at the Mountain Bike World Championships since 1999, and expanded it to include U23 and then junior riders in subsequent years. In that event, the finishing riders tag starting riders on opposite sides of a fixed barricade.

The cyclo-cross event differs from the team relay, which was recently introduced at the UCI Road World Championships, where three men and three women race a separate team time trial and the lowest cumulative time wins.

Titles for junior and elite women as well as U23 men will be decided on Saturday, while rainbow jerseys for junior men, U23 women and elite men will be confirmed on Sunday. Last year the junior races were not held in Ostend, Belgium due to coronavirus pandemic precautions.

General admission tickets are on sale now for $30 per day or $50 for a three-day pass and include complimentary shuttle services and/or bike valet, while VIP tickets are $175 per day or $300 for a three-day package. Children aged 11 and under are free and can receive ticket(s) onsite. More information is available at www.cyclocrossfayettevillear2022.com.

It is only the second time in a 72-year span that the Cyclo-cross World Championships have been held in the United States, last taking place on Louisville, Kentucky in 2013.

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