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  • Writer's pictureEsko Lius

Festival of Cyclocross in November

Race Director Ala-Peijari: "Aiming High at Kivikko Prestige!"

The Finnish Cyclocross Championship will take place on Saturday, November 18, 2023, in Kivikko, Helsinki. On the same track, an open Cyclocross Cup will be held on Sunday, November 19, 2023, and participants can participate in this even without a license.

Juho Ala-Peijari

Cycle Club Helsinki interviewed Race Director Juho Ala-Peijari.

CCH: Hi Juho. You're organizing a cyclocross event in Kivikko, Helsinki, on November 18-19, 2023. The races have been held there frequently. What makes Kivikko so special??


The Kivikko area is absolutely magnificent and characteristic of the sport. There's plenty of elevation and grass. Thanks to the city for contributing to the organization of the event every year. The competition areas are surveyed in good cooperation with the city.

CCH: The track has been somewhat different in different years. What has been the guiding principle in planning this year's races?


I've organized CCH's HelCX Cup race in Kivikko for many years now. The track has varied quite a bit annually as we've searched for the best version.

Tracks in Belgium and the Netherlands are often more challenging both technically and physically compared to Finnish cyclocross routes. This year, it's also the Finnish Championship route. In last November's HelCX Cup race, we tried a technically and physically demanding variation to see if it would be suitable for a national champs level competition. Based on feedback, we achieved this goal, and on November 18, we'll find Finland's most skilled and fittest cx rider.

CCH: Is the idea here to familiarize competitors with similar tracks as elsewhere??


Exactly. When athletes go to measure their skills in Central Europe in the future, the demands of those tracks won't come as a surprise. Even from a European perspective, we already have a fairly challenging course available for the national champ races for cx.

CCH: What about those who aren't the most skilled and fit?


This is going to be fun to ride for everyone. Of course, some can ride through 99.9% of the course, and some may have to dismount more. That's part of the sport's nature. The track won't prevent reaching the finish line :)

CCH: Gravel and cyclocross go hand in hand and are gaining popularity. How would you develop the event for the coming years?


It would be fantastic if we could strengthen the event's financial foundation to the point where we could televise the Finnish Championship.

And this might be a bit of a daydream, but last autumn in Zonhoven, when MVDP fell at the front of the race in the "De Kuil" sand pit while Wout was chasing behind, and 20,000 spectators roared so loud that the French mayonnaise flew onto the supporters' scarves, I thought, it would be great if we could have Pauwels' sauces here in Kivikko for a thousand-strong audience, right on top of the French.

However, this might require a bit more long-term development than what I or CCH is currently capable of.

CCH: So, here's a hint for potential partners on where we can aim.


Exactly. Right now, we have a joyful weekend for cyclists. A year from now, there could be a hint of a national celebration here.


Cyclocross pyöräkilpailu
A scene from the 2021 race track.



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