By Brecht Decaluwé
Two years ago one of the hottest properties in Belgian cyclo-cross was Tom Vannoppen. Then he won the intermediate sprint classification of the Superprestige but this season he has suffered with lack of form that has only become worse.
Vannoppen has been reportedly admitted to a hospital to get professional psychological help; so, despite rumours to the contrary, he did not start in Saturday's GP Stad Hasselt. According to Cyclo-cross.info, team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen (Sunweb) commented, "After a turbulent night Tom has been taken into hospital with a 'major' depression. I can't say much more right now, only that it is now certain that he'll receive professional assistance.
"We're not going to give up on Tom," continued Mettepenningen, who still has faith in Vannoppen. "I just hope his fans give him some credit during the upcoming weeks; he can use that for sure."
His future coach at Sunweb, former cyclist Hans De Clercq, said that Vannoppen will be staying in hospital for at least ten days. Asked whether Vannoppen will return at the highest level again De Clercq responded, "he'll be back for sure, but not this season."