Bomans says Belgian team to fully support Gilbert, unable to justify Devolder's selection
Belgian Stijn Devolder is furious at missing the World Championship team selection, calling it "the biggest humiliation of my career."
"We are going to Mendrisio with one leader: Philippe Gilbert," national director Carlo Bomans told Het Nieuwsblad. "The rest of the selection will help him. It's either that or stay home."
Bomans announced the Belgian team on Monday, naming eight of the nine riders. Devolder is one of the five riders up for the final spot, which Bomans will announce next Wednesday.
The road race is four days later, Sunday, in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The 13.8-kilometre circuit repeated 19 times, a total of 262.2 kilometres and 4655 metres of climbing.
"I thought I was a certain pick," insisted Devolder, who is currently riding the Vuelta a España. "If you list three riders in Belgium, you list [Tom] Boonen, Devolder and Gilbert. Right? Other than Boonen, nobody has a record like I do."
Devolder raced the Vuelta especially to prepare for the Worlds, he pointed out. He is currently 103rd overall and 1:50:53 behind leader Alejandro Valverde.
Bomans said that Devolder, 30, had not gone on the offensive in the race. "Then who has, other than team leader Philippe Gilbert?" continued Devolder.
Being put on the long list for the remaining slot "is yet another insult, the greatest humiliation of my career." He may stop his season early if he misses the final ninth spot, he said.
Devolder's only victory this season was in the one-day Classic Ronde van Vlaanderen, in April. "With his condition at the Ronde he left everyone behind him," Bomans said. "But I want riders who are good now."
Bomans said he discussed his selection with Devolder and that he could not justify his inclusion.
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