Maghalie Rochette is one of our favorite racers. She’s got a huge motor and an open heart, and can always be counted on to race her best and tell some hard truths about racing. She brings humility and insight into a sport that so often gets squeezed down into abrupt soundbytes that lack emotion, that fail to show the deeper commitment that all racers put into their craft. Maghalie keeps it real.
And this past weekend, at the Cyclocross World Cup in Besançon, France, she kept it real all the way to scoring her first World Cup podium, in a hard-earned display of grit battled out in freezing, muddy conditions. We are beyond proud of her.
For perspective into just how hard it is to reach the podium in European cyclocross, this is a long way from being Magh’s first rodeo. She’s tasted the top ten at World Championships, has been utterly dominant in US and Canadian racing over the past several seasons, and has campaigned the past few winters in Europe, trying different tactical and logistical methods in the hopes of cracking the World Cup podium code. She and her partner/coach/mechanic David have tried every approach, from basing themselves in Belgium for entire seasons, to flying in and cherry-picking races and dealing with all the logistical and jet-lag nightmares that come with the transatlantic schedule. And in spite of meticulous preparation and awesome form, that podium has been elusive. The past season or two, those podium spots have been almost exclusively owned by a powerful and dominant roster of Dutch riders. They are good. They are always on form. And they do not give up podiums without a battle.
Maghalie has lined up for 57 World Cups. She has served a long apprenticeship, honing her craft. 57 World Cup starts. Five long winters spent chipping away at the stone, working diligently at the puzzle. On Sunday she finally cracked it open, and her second place felt bigger than any win to us.
We’ve made it abundantly clear just how much we love cyclocross, so rather than bang on about it some more, we’ll just say that you should visit her website and subscribe to Maghalie’s newsletters here. Her insight and perspective is true, her passion for the sport undeniable, and her writing offers a look inside racing that is both informative and heartfelt.
And, just for the record: Roval CLX 50 wheels, Specialized Terra tubulars, 15psi.
Bravo, Maghalie. Onward and upward from here. December 4th; Superprestige Boom. December 5th; World Cup Antwerpen. Pack your biggest hammers!