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Plans are being prepared to send an Irish team to the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in February (Photo by Toby Watson, homepage photo by Caroline Kerley)

An Irish national team looks set to be selected for the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in the New Year. The world title races will be run on a very technical course in the Czech Republic, with the circuit in Tabor really set to test the riders.

Cycling Ireland has said this will effectively raise the bar for selection, with a responsibility on Irish riders to demonstrate they have what it takes to compete on such a challenging course.

The national governing body is also leaving some time to allow riders go abroad to race in coming weeks – during the packed period of competition in Belgium over the festive period – to help earn their place on the team, if they need to boost their chances.

National teams have already been selected for the Europeans in France last month, and the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Dublin, also last month. News that an Irish team will also be selected for the Worlds is a welcome boost for the Irish ‘cross scene.

The Worlds will be held in Tabor from February 2nd to 4th. Cycling Ireland said riders who have “demonstrated the ability to be competitive at international-level events will be considered” for selection.

“Results and performances for the season up to January 2nd will be considered, with results in UCI standard events holding a higher relevance in selection,” it added in a statement, giving Irish riders time, just about, to get to Europe and race in coming weeks.

“There will be a particular emphasis regarding selection for the Junior and Under-23 categories in line with the Ireland national team selections at the 2023 European Championships and last month’s UCI Cyclocross World Cup Dublin, with the goal to provide young riders with race experience at the highest level to aid their continuing development.”

Paul Birchall, off-road commission cyclocross representative and Irish team manager, said expressions of interest were now being sought from riders who believed they should be selected.

“As we have communicated over the course of this season and last, our focus is on the development age categories – Junior and U23 – and providing young riders with opportunity to become Internationally competitive in the coming years,” he said. “This aspect is specifically built into one of our selection aims.

“Tabor is a challenging location and may prove extremely technical in nature if conditions are as wintry as previous years. Any rider aspiring to selection must demonstrate, via their race results, a high level of technical proficiency on suitably challenging terrain or courses to be considered.”

Interested riders are invited to express their interest and should submit a completed ‘expression of interest‘ form to [email protected] before 5pm on January 2nd.

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