The Belgian team will support its captains in the cyclo-cross world championship race on Sunday, whether they like it or not. The Belgian Cycling Federation has said it expects its riders to obey their orders or face the consequences.
“The scenario of St. Michielsgestel must not be repeated,” Jos Smets of the KBWB told sporza. In the 2000 world championships held in St. Michielsgestel, Netherlands, Sven Nys helped his commercial teammate, Dutchman Richard Groenendaal, to win the title ahead of fellow Belgian Mario de Clercq. Nys took the bronze medal.
“We expect riders who take positions on the national team to adhere to their agreements,” Smets said. “Anyone who does not do so shows that he does not belong on the national team and that in the future he cannot count on being selected.”
The Belgian team at the Worlds on Sunday in Koksijde, Belgium, will feature three of the top favourites for the crown: Niels Albert, Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels.
Pauwels just won the the UCI ranking for the 2010/2011 season by only three points, ahead of Nys. Albert, who missed a month of the season due to a wrist injury, was seventh.
The Belgians will be looking to finally top Czech Zdenek Stybar, who finished third on the year but has claimed the world title the last two consecutive years.