February 3, 2022
By Molly Hurford
Cyclocross World Championships took place in Fayetteville, Arkansas, this past weekend, and Team Canada was there in full force with 26 racers, including quite a few racers from Ontario. In the junior men’s and women’s races, Ontario athletes shined. Here’s how all the Ontario athletes did at the race:
This year, a Team Relay was added to Cyclocross World Championships, and while only seven teams competed, the racing was fast and furious at the first race of the weekend.
Canada fielded two teams, and ‘Team Eh’ finished in fourth place with Ontario’s Ava Holmgren and Owen Clark along with Michael van den Ham and Sidney McGill.
The junior women started the races off on Saturday at Worlds, and Ava Holmgren had a fantastic start to her race, sitting in second place for a lap. She eventually finished in seventh place. “I might have gone out a little too hard on the start, but it was good being near the front and it gave me that little bit of extra confidence,” she told Canadian Cyclist after the race. “I’m so happy that my first world champs was in North America, because I got to hear my friends and family at the side of the course cheering me on.
It was so great having their support here. I just amazed at how everything went, and so happy with my race right now.” Her sister Isabella Holmgren had a great second half of the race, moving up to eighth place and finishing right behind Ava. The two girls were the only two North Americans in the top 10. Fellow Ontarian Kiara Lylyk finished in 22nd.
There were four Ontario athletes in the U23 men’s race: Matt Leliveld finished 35th, Noah Ramsay was 38th, and Owen Clark came in 39th.
Ontario’s Katelyn Walcroft and Kelly Lawson both finished down laps, but with the three Dutch riders who took gold, silver and bronze, the racing speed was incredibly high for this event!
Ontario racer Ruby West was on the start line for her first Worlds in the elite field after having great success as a U23 rider. She ultimately finished 23rd, and admitted later in an interview that, “I’ve been racing in the elite category for World Cups, and in the States for a bunch of years now. And so I think, deep down, I thought that this race wasn’t going to be any different. But it was a whole other level.” Behind her, Siobhan Kelly of London, ON, finished down one lap.
Alberta’s Michael Van den Haam was top Canadian (25th place) in the race that was dominated by Great Britain’s Thomas Pidcock. Behind him, Uxbridge, ON’s Tyler Orschel came in 27th with Malcolm Barton in 32nd and Brody Sanderson in 33rd.
In the junior men’s race, Ian Ackert of Severn, ON, was the news topic of the day. After a start line crash set him in last place by over a minute, he got up, adjusted his bike, aimed for the pits, and sped his way up to the back of the field, then continued to pick riders off through the race, ultimately finishing in an amazing eighth place.
His fastest lap time was faster than the fastest U23 lap the day prior, and he still managed to ‘win’ a sprint finish against David Haverdings, a racer who was projected to win the event. Behind him, Orangeville, ON, rider Luke Valenti also had a great race, coming in 12th. Fellow Orangeville native Theo DeGroote came in for 29th, while Alexander Woodford of Ottawa was 27th.
About the writer
Molly Hurford is a journalist in love with all things cycling, running, nutrition and movement-related. When not outside, she’s writing about being outside and healthy habits of athletes and interviewing world-class athletes and scientists for The Consummate Athlete podcast and website, and most recently launched the book ‘Becoming A Consummate Athlete.‘ She’s the author of multiple books including the Shred Girls, a young adult fiction series and online community focused on getting girls excited about bikes.
Molly is a little obsessed with getting people psyched on adventure and being outside, and she regularly hosts talks and runs clinics for cyclists and teaches yoga online and IRL… And in her spare time, the former Ironman triathlete now spends time tackling long runs and rides on trails or can be found out hiking with her mini-dachshund DW and husband, cycling coach and kinesiologist Peter Glassford.