2023 UCI Cyclocross World Championships course

The Hoogerheide course is a classic, having hosted UCI Cyclocross World Cup rounds almost every year since 2003 except when the World Championships were held there in 2009 and 2014.

The race has been known in the past as the GP Adrie van der Poel, a familiar name in Hoogerheide, the family's home town. The father of four-time World Champion Mathieu van der Poel and former cyclocross world champion himself, Van der Poel senior and Marc Dierickx designed the Hoogerheide circuit with great care.

The Hoogerheide course features two runs of stairs - the usual flyover as well as the "Stairway to Heaven" - a massive run of steps riders that riders enter from a flowing u-turn on pavement. It has a tricky stretch of singletrack, a wicked off-camber and a steep drop to a long, hard sprint finish.

One thing that is absent is the abundance of 180-degree turns that Mathieu van der Poel blames for stressing his bad back, with most turns having more flow. One set of barriers is placed in front of the accessible viewing area and well out of the muddy sections, and come shortly before the Stairway to Heaven, off-camber drop and finishing stretch.

According to Wielerflits, organisers have revised the course to leave out the lower meadow due to heavy rains this winter and modified some of the muddier areas so that the running sections are interspersed with faster ground.

“We are now making an extra loop in front of the forest. That has to do with the subsoil, because it has rained a lot lately," Adrie van der Poel said. "I don't want the riders to have to run too much behind each other. Four times 50 meters rather than one time 200 meters."

The course, slightly more than three kilometres long, is structured so that spectators can move around the route without having to cross the course thanks to three flyovers that fans can pass under and one bridge. More measures have been put in place to keep spectators two metres from the course to avoid "crazy scenes".

"The great and, at the same time, challenging thing about this course is that you can make a difference everywhere. Although we are terribly dependent on the weather, when it rains, it is a lot of walking in the mud in the lower meadow. We are now coming back from the forest, a really difficult part. I think that is a very nice and spectacular added value."

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Laura Weislo
Managing Editor

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing 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. Laura's specialises in covering doping, anti-doping, UCI governance and performing data analysis.

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