THE international UCI cyclocross season has once again started on the opposite side of the world to its European heartland. In recent seasons the UCI calendar has begun with the Qiansen Trophy in China which - first held in 2013 - is subsidised by the UCI in order to help with the globalisation of cyclocross. Last season James Madgwick told us the exciting story of his trip to race in China which you can read here.

Officially the new 2017-18 UCI cyclocross season began a little earlier than usual with the Australian National Championships on August 5th in Zombie Park, Adelaide where Chris Jongewaard retained his title and Peta Mullens won the women's championship. The final two rounds of the Australian National Series at the excellent Fields of Joy venue on August 26-27th were the first 'open' UCI C2-ranked races with ranking points on offer (and the first-ever in Australia). Jongewaard and Mullens were winners again on day one as Garry Millburn and Samantha Runnels (USA) took the honours on day two.

Another early season national championship will be the Chilean Championships being hosted again by Santiago on September 3rd.

Air miles

It wasn't so many seasons ago when riders headed to America to get some early season UCI points and perhaps now they must consider trips to Australia and China beforehand!

China's Qiansen Trophy will take place near Beijing on September 3rd and those on the trip will have a second chance of UCI points in the second C1-ranked race three days later.

The first big Belgium cyclocross event (UCI C2 ranked) will be the Cross Eeklo on September 10th before the Telenet Superprestige and DVV Trofee series kick off in October. Eeklo in East Flanders is famously the hometown of cycling legends Erik and Roger De Vlaeminck and where Eddy Merckx won a two-man madison 'cross with Erik in 1970.

The 2017-18 Telenet UCI World Cup will kick-off on Sunday September 17th at the Jingle Cross in Iowa City, USA before continuing with round two in Waterloo, Iowa on Sunday September 24th. There will be nine rounds in total this season including Belgian favourites Koksijde, Namur and Zolder.

It's time to get excited, because 'cross has started (early)!

Full UCI World Cup fixtures

17.09.17 Jingle Cross, Iowa City, USA.
24.09.17 Waterloo, Iowa, USA.
22.10.17 Koksijde, Belgium.
19.11.17 Bogense, Denmark.
25.11.17 Zeven, Germany.
17.12.17 Namur, Belgium.
26.12.17 Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.
21.01.18 Nommay, France.
28.01.18 Hoogerheide, Netherlands.