Many of professional road cycling's top names will try their luck at cyclo-cross in a charity event at Lake 'Het Zilvermeer' in Mol, Belgium this Saturday. The event benefits the organisation 'Move to Improve' which helps disabled children, and was organised by Tom Boonen and Wilfried Peeters.
Boonen, fellow Belgian Stijn Devolder, Italians Filippo Pozzato and Alessandro Ballan and Spaniard Carlos Barredo are just a few of the 43 professionals from 15 countries which will take part in the event. Boonen and his Quick Step teammates tested out the course in Mol on Wednesday.
The full line-up includes Mario Aerts, Jan Bakelants, Alessandro Ballan (Ita), Carlos Barredo (Spa), Kris Boeckmans, Tom Boonen, David Boucher (Fra), Arnaud Coyot (Fra), Wilfried Cretskens, Steven de Jongh (Ned), Wim De Vocht, Bert De Waele, Kevin De Weert, Dries Devenyns, Stijn Devolder, Gert Dockx, Yannick Eijssen, Addy Engels (Ned), Denis Flahaut (Fra), Kevin Hulsmans, Stijn Joseph, Servais Knaven (Ned), Bjorn Leukemans, Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita), Nick Nuyens, Geert Omloop, Filippo Pozzato (Ita), Frederique Robert, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Roy Sentjens, Bram Tankink (Ned), Niki Terpstra, Matteo Tosatto (Ita), Greg Van Avermaet, Jurgen Van de Walle, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Kevin Van Impe, Stijn Vandenbergh, Jelle Vanendert, Pieter Vanspeybrouck, Geert Verheyen, Wouter Weylandt, Maarten Wijnants.
The Quick Step team also launched a charity auction to benefit a young Belgian named Zita Deweghe, who has suffered from a serious congenital hearing problem since birth. Deweghe will finally be able to undergo a surgical procedure that will allow her to hear her parents' voice.
The team is auctioning off special black and white autographed photos of the 2009 team Quick Step riders taken by Belgian photographer Henk Van Cauwenbergh.
Bids for the images can be made at the team's web site by clicking on the "Quick Step for Charity" pop up. All of the portraits will be on display on-line with the details and instructions for participating in the auction.
"It's important that athletes at a high level play a significant social role," said Boonen. "For me, as for all the team, it's a matter of great pride to be able to put our popularity to the service of people who are less fortunate. A victory in life is without a doubt more important than a victory on a bicycle."
Proceeds from the auction, which will end on Friday night, December 11th, will be donated entirely to the cause for Deweghe.