With start times one hour apart, Christine Majerus and Anna van der Breggen are lining up tomorrow for the national cross championships in their respective home countries. While Majerus is up for her ninth national cross title and 28th national title overall, Van der Breggen’s goal at nationals is mainly to be challenged and have good time.
Although it’s a mind-boggling number of national titles that Majerus already has to her name, that’s not of any interest to her. “Numbers aren’t really important to me,” Majerus said. “At least not those numbers. I’m heading into every national championships as if it was the first one.”
“Cyclocross is also pretty unpredictable,” she continued. “I had really good days this winter and also really bad ones, so I just hope that Saturday won't be one of those underaverage days.”
The Luxembourg championships are back in Kayl, where Majerus has raced before. “But that’s already ages ago, so I need to do a recon of it tomorrow,” Majerus said. “What I remember is that it’s technically interesting and that it can be really muddy. The first part is uphill, so that will be very physical.”
It’s been common over the last couple of years that Majerus races in orange only three times a year, when she prolongues her national titles on the road, in the time trial and in cyclocross. On Saturday, she’ll swap her red, white and blue for the newly designed stripey orange kit. “It’s raceready,” she said. “I like wearing the normal kit, I do train with it from time to time as I like to change colors. So I am used to it. I just fear it won’t stay orange and white for a very long time. Maybe they should have thought about a cross version,” she jokes.
Van der Breggen lines up at the Dutch cyclocross championships with different goals. She mainly uses cyclocross to get in shape for road season.
“Road cyclists use the winter months for long rides on the bike to build up endurance,” Van der Breggen explained. "But you can imagine that at some point, it will get a bit boring. And at this time of year in the Netherlands, the weather conditions also don’t . So for variety and sometimes out of necessity, I have a cross bike and mountainbike that I use to train on. "
"As the start of the season gets close, we’re switchting to more intensive training," she continued. "Since we all love competition and haven’t competed for several months by this time, I always love to do my interval training in some sort of race."
Van der Breggen rode a cross race in Boxtel on Sunday December 24 and recentely one in Didam on January 7. She won both races dominantly. "The smaller national crosses are usually not very technical, something I find useful as a non-cross racer. The course in Surhuisterveen, where the Dutch championships are held, usually isn’t that technical either. I have raced in Surhuisterveen a few times before."
Then what are the ambitions of the Olympic champion? "I consider it a nice challenge, since I'm starting near the back in a field of many international cross ladies we have in our country," she said. "I have my base miles, so I’m not afraid of the race distance. But I do lack a bit of intensity, so I don’t expect to be able to compete on the heavy parts of the course. But I’ll see how far I’ll come.”
Luxembourg cyclocross championships
Saturday 13 January, 2pm CET