World champion Wout van Aert was not been named in Belgium’s line-up for next weekend’s UEC Cyclo-cross European Championships as his compatriot Toon Aerts looks to defend his title. Women’s world champion, Sanne Cant will be there and will lead the charge for victory in Tabor, Czech Republic, on Sunday, November 5.
Van Aert was expected to miss the European Championships as he takes a rest period at the start of November. Van Aert finished third at last weekend’s third round of the World Cup in Koksijde with Mathieu van der Poel taking a dominant win.
Aerts was the surprise champion at last year’s European championships after he soloed away from Van der Poel and teammate Van Aert.
Cant is a two-time European champion but she missed out on a podium finish in Pont-Château last year, riding into seventh in the end. She will be joined by last year’s fourth-place finisher and former silver medallist Jolien Verschueren in the six-rider line-up.
Belgium Elite Men for European Championships: Jens Adams, Toon Aerts, Quiten Hermans, Tim Merlier, Kevin Pauwels, Daan Soete, Laurens Sweeck, Michael Vanthourenhout, Gianni Versmeersch.
Elite Women: Sanne Cant, Loes Sels, Joyce Vanderbeken, Kim Van De Steene, Ellen Van Loy, Jolien Verschueren.
Doping will not be criminal offence, says UK sports minister
After reviewing Great Britain's anti-doping rules, UK Sport Minister Tracy Couch said British athletes caught doping will not face criminal charges, according to a report today on ITV News. Recent doping scandals have led to calls for criminal charges as in France, Italy and Australia.
"We looked into this very carefully and conducted an extensive review into the issue around criminalisation, and we actually genuinely believe that the system we have here in the UK is one of the most robust systems in the world," Crouch said, according to ITV News.
"We feel that the idea of criminalisation would change the burden of proof, would make it actually harder to investigate these incidents and that actually you could end up with a lesser punishment if you went through the criminal procedures," Crouch said.
"So we genuinely think that the system we have in place is the right one."
Although the UK will not seek criminal charges for drug cheats, Crouch did say she wants to give the UK Anti-Doping Agency more powers to protect clean athletes, with special attention given to current policies around Therapeutic Use Exemptions that allow athletes to use banned substances to treat medical conditions with a doctor's approval.
"We are trying to make sure that the UK Anti-Doping Agency is the most robust, the most efficient and effective agency in the world," Crouch said. "We want to make sure, through a review by WADA which we're calling for today, that we have the confidence in that system going forward."
2018 and 2019 hosts named for UEC Cyclo-cross European Championships
The 2017 Cyclo-cross European Championships are still just over a week away but the European Cycling Union (UEC) has already confirmed the hosts for the 2018 and 2019 competitions.
Rosmalen in the Netherlands will hold the 2018 European Championships, while the 2019 competition will head to Silvelle in the north of Italy. The Netherlands and Italy have both held the Euros before, with the Dutch town of Huijbergen the most recent host from either country in 2015. Huijbergen also held it in 2006, the first time that the competition went to the Netherlands.
The 2019 European Championships will be only the second visit to Italy after its first in 2011 when Lucca was the host. Since its inception, the European Championships have had junior men, under 23 men and women and elite women races. The elite men’s race was only introduced at the 2015 edition with Lars van der Haar taking the first title.
As well as the cyclo-cross championships, the UEC also announced that Lousã in Portugal would hold the next two editions of the MTB Downhill European Championships.
Aevolo signs US junior TT champ Boots
The Aevolo development team added another rider to the 2018 roster, announcing the signing of US time trial champion and team pursuit champion Kendrick Boots, who joins recent signings Denzel Stephenson, Nick McKey and Alex Hoehn on the US Continental team.
Boots, 17, represented with the junior national team at the US at international one-day and stage races in Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic in 2017 and Belgium in 2016. Boots will turn 18 in July of next year.
“I would most like to develop as a valuable team member on the road,” said Boots, who was born and raised in Highland Ranch, Colorado. “I know that I’ll be the youngster of the team and really hope I can mix it up with the big guns. As 2018 will be my final year as a junior, I hope to get another opportunity to represent Team USA at the world championships and improve upon my results from this year.
“I love being part of a team of great guys. I have ridden with and looked up to many of the Aevolo guys since my first races – like Gage (Hecht), Zeke (Mostov), Michael (Hernandez), and Denzel (Stephenson). It will be awesome to race with them in Aevolo green. I am also looking forward to learning a lot more from [team director Mike] Creed, and I’m pretty confident he won’t hold back from letting me know what he wants me to do.”