European XCO Championships 2023: when, how to watch and favorites
The European XCO Championships 2023 will be held this Sunday in Poland. The event will be attended by 137 athletes from 27 countries. The event will be scoring for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and will bring together some of the most important names of the cycling scene of the moment.
Schedule and how to watch the European XCO Championships 2023
The XCO European Championship is part of this year's European Games —third time that this competition takes place, which is held every four years and in which 29 different sports coincide—. The day chosen to host the XCO races will be Sunday, June 25th.
The men's race can be followed on RTVE Play from 14:10 and also on Eurosport. The women's race will be available on the Eurosport app.
Sunday, June 25th
11:30-13:15 Women's category
14:15-16:00 Men's Category LINK RTVE Play
What happened in the 2022 European XCO?
Tom Pidcock shone with his own light and ended up taking the European Championships in Munich 2022 after an exhibition in which he found no rival. The British rider came from behind to take first place and, once he had taken the lead, no one was able to threaten his gold medal. He was joined on the podium by Denmark's Fini and Switzerland's Colombo.
As for the women's category, it was Loana Lecomte who took the victory, who was able to take advantage of an exit of chain of the all-powerful Ferrand-Prevot when she was leading with a cushion of half a minute. Thus, the 23-year-old Frenchwoman won the continental title ahead of her compatriot, while the Dutch Terpstra took third place.
Fini, Cink and Valero are some of the favorites with more options
The choice of Poland —an almost entirely flat country— as the venue for the 2023 XCO European Championships has led the organizers to decide to set up the circuit in the only mountainous area of the country, i.e. on the border with Slovakia. Specifically, the competition will be held in the town of Krynica-Zdroj, about 140 km south of Krakow.
Although the official list of participants is not yet available, the presence of some important names that will surely fight for one of the top positions in the table has been confirmed.
With the presumed —for now unofficial— absence of the reigning champion Tom Pidcock, currently the top favorite wherever he races, the door to victory is wide open for another rider to win the gold medal.
Among the candidates for the victory is Sebastian Fini. The Dane has been left with the honey on the lips up to two times, since he has taken the silver the last two years. Although he may generate some doubts due to his rather discreet performances in this year's XCO World Cup, the truth is that this season he arrives as National champion and comes from a third place in the XCC of Lenzerheide.
David Valero will be another of the top players. The Spaniard is always an asset to be reckoned with and, as number one in the ranking and current runner-up in the world, he is undoubtedly among the great candidates.
On the other hand, Czech rider Ondrej Cink is in great shape after last weekend's third place at the XCO World Cup in Leogang. But by the same token, the Swiss Lars Forster, winner in Leogang, can also play a role.
The Swiss team is always one of the highest level. This time it will be no less, and Forster will be joined by Alexandre Balmer and Andri Frischknecht.
Finally, of the names known for now, it is worth mentioning Luca Braidot. The Italian will go all out, he already came second at the 2018 European, is the current second in the ranking and came third at the last World Cup.
Lecomte, Ferrand-Prevot, Frei and Pieterse share the top of the list
Everything is tight in the women's category to get the victory. Lecomte and Ferrand-Prevot make the French team a luxury combination that has two very valuable cards to take the top step of the podium. Both are the reigning European champion and runner-up, respectively, and come after great performances in the World Cup.
Dutch rider Puck Pieterse —one of the most popular riders on the grid— will be another of those who will have the best chance for victory. Despite her youth, which can be a disadvantage in this kind of races where experience can be an extra point, she makes up for the sensational season she is having so far.
Rounding out the list of contenders are such well-known names as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games podium trio Jolanda Neff, Sina Frei and Linda Indergand.
On the other hand, Anne Terpstra (third last year and in great shape), Celyn Del Carmen Alvarado and Fem Van Empel, who could run a good race and fight for a metal.