Security concerns have Koksijde World Cup organisers on edge
The local organisers of the Koksijde UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup have been set on edge by the fallout from the Paris terrorist attacks, as authorities continue to conduct operations in the Brussels area where several of the Paris attackers originated.
Although Koksijde is 140km away from Brussels, organisers are concerned that a general threat against Belgium, and the proximity of an air base containing a refugee center, could make the event a target.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, Chief Constable Nicholas Paelinck assured organiser Jan Deramoudt that his officers could secure the grounds. There has been a general warning from the French Interior Minister about movements of suspects across the French-Belgian border, and a specific mention of Koksijde that read, "The Elysée is concerned about the presence of Belgian asylum centers in the border areas with France. The French fear infiltrations in particular for people with bad intentions. The concern would include the presence of a refugee camp in Koksijde..."
The pair met with Koksijde Mayor Marc Vanden Bussche and are seeking clarification from the Belgian Interior Minister to determine the exact situation. "We have no idea on what this analysis is based, though they may have information in France we do not," Vanden Bussche said, but plans to keep the refugees indoors during the races.
The organisers plan to hold the race, but promise extra security checks. The Gent Six Day also added extra police presence and banned spectators from carrying bags into the velodrome. Koksijde organisers have asked spectators to leave their bags at home to prevent delays entering the venue.
Nys in line to take over Telenet-Fidea upon retirement
Long time Telenet-Fidea manager Hans van Kasteren announced he would stop running the team at the end of this cyclo-cross season, and has been busy trying to find his successor. One name has risen to the top of the list is two-time 'cross world champion Sven Nys, who is due to retire from racing at the same time that Van Kasteren will step aside.
Het Nieuwsblad confirmed that Van Kasteren and Nys' management company Golazo are in talks for Nys to step is as director and his current manager Jan Verstraeten to become Telenet-Fidea's manager.
Nys announced this March that he would race one more season of cyclo-cross before going out with a star-studded extravaganza at the Sportpaleis Antwerp that has been dubbed 'Merci Sven'.
He will also open the Sven Nys Cycling Centre in Baal.
No cyclo-cross for Bosmans as he continues recovery from chronic Lyme disease
Wietse Bosmans, a former U23 cyclo-cross World Cup overall winner, will not be returning to race cyclo-cross this season as he continues to recover from chronic Lyme disease. He will begin two six-week rounds of treatment on Monday.
"This morning I was told that I have a chronic form of Lyme disease. After 15 months in limbo I finally know where I stand and that there is 95 per cent chance of full recovery," he said in a statement on his website.
"Monday starts the first six weeks of treatment, followed by a second course of another six weeks. In mid-February, there is an evaluation, then from April I may one hundred per cent be able to focus on my sport."
Bosmans has been ill since last year when he initially announced that he had Lyme disease. The disease is typically spread through tick bites.
Niels Albert comeback?
Niels Albert posted a photo of his Garmin device on Twitter with the "#comeback?". According to Nieuwsblad.be the retired rider managed to produce over 1,500 Watts while climbing the 17 per cent Vlaams-Brabantse Huldenberg.
The two-time elite World Champion retired from the sport last year, announcing that he had a heart problems - cardiac arrhythmia, which, when in competition, could cause a fatal heart attack.
Albert has been seen at two charity rides including Boonen and Friends and Zilvermeer.