Belgian concerned about future of his discipline
Cyclo-crosser Sven Nys has a proposition for the International Cycling Union – to give WorldTour points to winning 'cross riders. According to Nys this would "breathe life into the sport, and encourage road teams to take more of an interest."
Licences for the road teams are currently allotted on a points systems, which leads to riders being signed solely for their points to help a team.
Nys will present his proposal to the UCI next week, suggesting that points be earned in all the various disciplines. "In the long term it is essential for our sport," he said in Het Laatste Nieuws. "For the large teams, the points are as valuable as gold. It will also generate interest in the 'crossers.
"Other disciplines can take part too. If Iljo Keisse scores points on the track, it would encourage teams like Quick Step to be interested in the Track as well.
"With such a system you wake the interests of stars on the road. Peter Sagan and Roman Kreuziger are super talents who used to ride 'cross. But now they have disappeared from the field."
"The 'cross peloton, dominated by Belgians, needs to become more international," Nys said. "You only need one sometimes, like Stybar, to turn on a country. Find such men in Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands and France, then you're going. When discussing the future of our sport, sometimes I think people ignore the obvious ways forward.
"In a few years, when Stybar and I are gone, there will be a difficult period anyway. It is best to anticipate it, and act now."
Wilfried Peeters of Quick Step, which has Stybar under contract, was interested in the idea. “I think a lot of teams, like us, want the riders to ride even in winter,” he said. “We would need more than thirty riders in a roster though. Otherwise you invest it in the 'cross, but you limit your team's road capacity."
The downside of the proposal is that it would help the mixed 'cross and road teams, but would be to the disadvantage of the pure 'cross teams which now dominate the field and would not be able to match the financial offers of WorldTour teams.
"They will have to make sure they are strong enough to survive. But we cannot stay put. We have to move," Nys concluded.
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