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Despite the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak and the new South African strain of the virus, the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Ostend will take place, the UCI has announced.

With the new coronavirus variant emerging in Belgium, the mayor of Ostend, Bart Tommelein, suggested the World Championships due to take place on January 30 and 31 might be cancelled. However, he later announced the much-awaited event will go ahead – at least the Elite and Under 23 races. The Junior races were cancelled earlier this month.

“Ostend will be the stage for a titanic battle for the UCI World title. That’s what we promised and that’s what will happen thanks to the efforts of all parties.”

The fans will, however, tune in from their homes. The organisers, who expected about 40 000 fans to come to the event, had to exclude spectators for obvious safety reasons.

“Nobody could have anticipated it a year ago, but it’s the only good solution today,” Tommelein explained.

The number of staff has been reduced as well, and everyone present will have to undergo a PCR test.

“There will be strict controls so that no one comes to the site who has not undergone a test. It will be safe, 300 percent corona-proof,” Rik Debeaussaert, one of the organizers, confirmed.

It seems that we can all look forward to Wout van Aert and his rival Mathieu van der Poel racing for the win this weekend. Which one has the greatest chance of becoming the champion? Or do you have another favourite? Let us know!