Sports Listings: Plan Ahead: World Cyclo-Cross

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The Independent Online
THOUGH places in Britain's team for the World Cyclo-Cross Championships will not be announced until after the National Championships on 9 January, the squad faces a daunting task at the Koksijde course, south-west Belgium, on the last Sunday of the month. For the spectator, travelling to the North Sea resort of Koksijde should prove easier.

The Championships will be staged two miles inland on tarmac and field, but the British contingent's main hurdle will be the sand dunes on the course. It is a type of terrain not encountered on cyclo-cross circuits in Britain and the coarseness of the sand discourages freezing, making the dunes difficult to negotiate. Koksijde is 8km from the French border and Calais is an hour's drive. Along the coast Ostende is 25km away and the mediaeval city of Bruges is 35km distant on the E40 motorway from the Veurne exit.

For the first time at these Championships, the professional and senior amateur races have been amalgamated into an open event. Contenders for the British team will include the professionals Steve Douce, from Reigate, and Barrie Clarke, from Sutton, and the leading amateur, Roger Hammond, from Chalfont St Peter. Hammond is an improving prospect. He will be 20 on the day of the race, only his second senior championship after winning the World Junior Championship at Leeds in 1992.

Sporting Tours, of West Yorkshire, specialises in cycling tours and has two packages to the Championships, involving coach travel via Calais with hotel accommodation in Bruges and including transfer to Koksidje. The two- night tour (29-31 January) costs pounds 109 per person. The three-night package, starting a day earlier, is pounds 129.

World Cyclo-Cross Championships, Koksijde, Belgium, 30 January.

Race programme: 11am juniors; 3pm seniors.

Sporting Tours, 21 Manor Gardens, Pool- in-Wharfedale, Otley, West Yorkshire (Tel and fax: 0532-843617).

Belgian Tourist Office, 29 Princes Street, London W1R 7RG (Tel: 071-629 0230).