It remains a dream of cyclo-cross athletes and fans around the world and rumours of the discipline being added to the Winter Olympics regularly make the rounds but now the time seems right.
By
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

Practiced during the European winter months, cyclo-cross has always been seen to be a good fit for the winter Olympics, however a stumbling block lies in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter which states that a sport must be played on a snow or ice surface and it must meet a minimum country participation rule.

One of the benefits of cyclo-cross achieving Olympic status is that it would immediately attract funding from national Olympic committees, giving it a much needed boost in recognition, if not participation.

International Cycling Union (UCI) President Brian Cookson has thrown his weight behind the possibility, telling Dutch publication Sportwerld in December 2013 that cyclo-cross is a natural addition to the Winter Olympic schedule.

"I'm a fan of cyclo-cross. Beer, frites and mayonnaise. And Sven (Nys) is an incredible athlete.

"At the moment, it is impossible to have cyclo-cross as a discipline at the Winter Olympics because it does not take place on either ice or snow but perhaps the IOC will change the rule, broadening the definition to sport played in winter.

"At the moment, they lack something. For example, cross country running could be added to the athletics program."

Today Sportwerld broke the news that UCI off road co-ordinator Peter Van Den Abeele will meet with Christophe Dubi of the IOC to discuss just that possibility.

Certainly the timing is right for cyclo-cross. There is a growing excitement about what the sport has to offer and it is breaking out of its natural Northern European home, firmly planting itself in America and sprouting shoots in places like Australia.

Cyclo-cross is a terrific television sport - punchy, fast and requiring skill. But its best asset is time and place. Compressed to an hour or so and played inside natural fan-filled ampitheatres, it's easy to televise and perfect for a muddy spectacle.

In some ways the Olympics needs sports like cyclo-cross more than cyclo-cross needs the Olympics, saddled as it is with many outdated legacy events which do little to capture the imagination.

While a discipline with a long history it still presents as fresh, interesting and exciting - a sport coming into its own after spending too much time in the shadows of road cycling.

Expansion and growing interest globally will only add to its appeal for the good burghers of the IOC.

Given its recent growth spurt I'm not sold on the Olympics being the holy grail for cyclo-cross, it has survived to grow without it and controls its own destiny, something it may lose with Olympic inclusion.

However, it is undeniable that the power of the Olympic brand would bring an every four year boost.

What chance we see our first gold medals in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018?