This article originally appeared on Velo News
Set your stoke alarms and cancel your Christmas plans - it’s looking like Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, and Tom Pidcock will clash five times this month in an eight-day feast of festive cyclocross.
Pidcock was the last of the “Big Three” of ‘cross to confirm his winter schedule when he posted up his nine-date ‘cross diary Thursday.
The calendar indicates the next battle royale between the world champion and archrivals Van Aert and Van der Poel will be at the Exact Cross Mol on December 23.
Four more three-ways elbow for space in the following week as the so-called “kersteperiode” sees cyclocrossers embark on their own multi-surface grand tour of Belgian ‘cross circuits.
Forget Elf, Home Alone and Die Hard (the best Christmas movie) - these are your must-watch appointments for the coming month:
Confirmed December dates: Van der Poel vs Van Aert vs Pidcock
December 23: Exact Cross Mol
December 26: World Cup Gavere
December 27: Superprestige Zolder
December 28: Superprestige Diegem
December 30: Exact Cross Loenhout
Van Aert has so far only confirmed his calendar through the New Year, so the “Big Three” could also come together many more times in January.
Racing next month will be fully focussed on the Hoogerheiede worlds, where Van der Poel and Van Aert are both confirmed starters. Pidcock is still “wait and see” over whether he will defend his rainbow bands in Hoogerheiede on February 5 while he mulls his training program for the spring classics.
Van der Poel won the winter’s first centerpiece clash between the three multi-discipline kings in Antwerp on Sunday. Van Aert started his season hot by blazing to second behind his long-time rival. Pidcock struggled from the start grid and got stuck in traffic in his ride to eighth.
"It could always be better and that will be necessary because Wout was also strong right away. And he will also be even better at Christmas. Those will be duels,” Van der Poel said after he blitzed to his second victory of the winter in Antwerp.
“I think it's going to be a few really nice races in the busy period between all of us.”
Meanwhile, World Cup racing resumes in Dublin this weekend.
Van Aert and Pidcock’s team mechanics and laundry machines are braced for what could be a cold and swampy slugfest in the World Cup’s first visit to the city.
Van der Poel will be watching with a smile from his team road camp in sunny Spain.
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