Niels Albert won the World Cyclo-cross Championship on his own and does not need to share his bonus from the national federation with his Belgian teammates, his manager Christophe Roodhooft has told Het Laatste Nieuws. The national coach and federation vehemently disagree with this conclusion.
Albert won 22,000 Euro as a bonus from the Belgian cycling federation for becoming world champion, which would normally be divided among the other six riders on the team.
Roodhooft did not think the money should be shared. “Albert has done everything alone," Roodhooft said. "He received no help, on the contrary. They rode in chase of Albert. Why should he have to hand over part of the profits?”
Albert broke from the pack in Koksijde on the first of ten laps, and his lead was never endangered. Defending champion Zdenek Stybar of the Czech Republic gave chase, along with Belgians Kevein Pauwels and Sven Nys. "Who is violating the agreements? Albert or the other Belgians?” asked Roodhooft.
Both national coach Rudy De Bie and sports director Jos Smets of the national federation vigorously opposed Roodhooft's viewpoint. “This cannot be - it was not the deal,” said De Bie. "Years ago it was agreed that the federation's premium for the Worlds would be divided with teammates. That deal is ratified by the national sports committee. Albert rode the majority of the race alone in the lead, but the other Belgians played their role when Stybar led the chase.”
Smets echoed those sentiments, saying: “Agreements are to be adhered to. Coach Rudy De Bie has a trust agreement that all the riders made at a meeting. If someone does not agree, he had to say at that time, and not afterwards. Moreover, this is not a new system but has existed for years. Unless the riders themselves agree not to ask for their share, I will assume that the bonus must be shared.”