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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ)
Belgian 'cross team interested in Frenchman
Telenet-Fidea manager Hans van Kasteren confirmed to Cyclingnews that he made an offer to Francis Mourey. The French cyclo-cross champion has spent his entire 11-year professional career on the FDJ team of Marc Madiot.
"I made an offer to Francis Mourey. I want to get him to race more often in Belgium. I haven't heard back from him just yet," Van Kasteren told Cyclingnews.
The Telenet-Fidea team had been built around Bart Wellens but the Belgian's best years are behind him. This year Tom Meeusen emerged as new team leader, winning five races including Saturday's final round of the Superprestige series.
Mourey, a 33-year-old Frenchman, has combined the road with cyclo-cross. Last year on the road he won the Tro Bro Léon and finished 20th overall in the Giro d'Italia.
Mourey also had one of his best cyclo-cross seasons ever, although he doesn't frequently race in Belgium. The Frenchman claims the organizers are not inviting him. He also skipped the World Cup round at Heusden-Zolder on Boxing Day as it would have forced him to travel from the east of France on Christmas Day.
Despite his different approach Mourey managed to recapture the French title and win the World Cup round in Namur. He was also one of the favourites at the cyclo-cross world championships in Hoogerheide two weeks ago. For a long time he was able to keep up with defending champion Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) and eventual winner Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) but he faded back in the second part of the race, eventually finishing eighth on the day.
Mourey wasn't the only high-profile rider Telenet-Fidea has tried to attract to its roster. In late November it was reported that the Belgian team had made a lucrative offer to Zdenek Stybar, but the Czech Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider, now a three-time 'cross world champion, turned down the offer to keep focusing on his road racing career.