As this year’s road cycling season comes to an end, it’s only natural to shift the focus towards cyclo-cross. Because every year, as we struggle with the autumn and winter weather shifting to rain, cold and ice, the tough men and women of cyclo-cross are just getting ready to shred in the mud. To get you excited for what’s coming, we’ve listed the female cyclists you should watch when the season begins.

Marianne Vos

Marianne Vos has been a household name for many years in women’s cycling, as she currently holds seven world titles in cyclo-cross. Last year she wasn’t really competing for the wins, but this year we’ve seen her training hard and focusing on cyclo-cross more. During the first two UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup races in the United States, she placed first in Waterloo and finished third in the second race. It will be interesting to see how our old favourite will perform this season.

Photo: Cor Vos

Sanne Cant

The biggest opponent of Marianne Vos seems to be Sanne Cant. Where there is a distant third contender in men’s cyclo-cross, after Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, Vos and Cant seem to have been neck and neck in recent years. Cant is a double world champion and has been the Belgian champion nine times. Last season, she won no less than 20 races, including five victories in the World Cup series. However, this season she hasn’t reached her killer form just yet: she finished tenth in the first race in the United States and fifth in the second race.

Photo: Cor Vos

Sophie de Boer

Sophie de Boer had her best season two years ago. In 2016 she took first place at the race in Las Vegas and had a solid performance the rest of the season, thereafter finishing first in the World Cup series. That was her best achievement in her career so far. Last season was a bit weak as she missed the last of the scheduled races.  We aren’t sure what to expect this year, however she did secure fourth in both the recent American races.

Photo: Cor Vos

Kaitlin Keough

The last name we want to highlight is Kaitlin Keough. In 2017 she took second place in the World Cup series, just behind Sanne Cant, without winning any of the races. Just like Sophie de Boer, Keough is a strong performer. This year, she took nineteenth in the first race, but she came back hard in the second, winning it from Evie Richards and Marianne Vos. It will be interesting to see how she is going to perform and whether she will really play a significant role during the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships.

Photo: Cor Vos