Former MTB world champion Filip Meirhaeghe caused a little bit of a stir at the latest round of the MTB world cup, held on home turf at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday. Not that the Belgian did anything to bring it upon himself, but his presence at the race was a little too much for some, and he received some 'negative energy' from the crowd - and just a little from current world champion Julien Absalon, who won on the day.
Speaking to Canadian Cyclist's Rob Jones about sections of the crowd, who were yelling 'dopé, dopé', Meirhaeghe said, "The boos were expected, I knew they would happen. Those people have negative energy, and I don't accept that energy." He was confident that most people enjoyed him being there, however. "I think 99 percent of the people were supportive," he added.
Absalon, who extended his lead in the world cup standings with victory in Belgium, wasn't overly happy with Meirhaeghe being around when asked about his presence on the podium, and said that, "When he finished (retired) it was honest, and I thought that was good, but now he's back...and his suspension, I think it was so short, too short."
With the Fort William round of the world cup just a week away, sparks could be flying in Scotland; with both Absalon and Meirhaeghe in form, this little bit of flint from the Frenchman could liven the series up in a number of ways. Cyclingnews will have all the latest as the world cup makes its fourth stop for 2006 next weekend.