Albert and Vantornout speak out on prize money tensions

By Brecht Decaluwé in Mouscron

Discussions over prize money in the European cyclo-cross peloton continue to cause commotion after the race in Mouscron on Saturday.

Niels Albert – who battled near the front of the race – was annoyed with the racing style from some of his colleagues. "I think it's a shame that those guys are riding here. Our holiday time is in March and not in October. If you're paid to race then you've got to show yourself and if you can't do that then you should stay away from a race," Albert said to Cyclingnews.

"If you're only racing at 50% then your price should only be 50% of its normal rate." These statements from Albert will only add to the commotion about the start money that has lived up this season. Riders from the subtop like Ben Berden claimed that the big guns killed the sport by claiming huge start money fees.

Hans Van Kasteren – from Fidea – then gave away estimates of those prices to the press, which is not done in cyclo-cross; it turned out that riders like Sven Nys and Lars Boom asked about 8,000 euro to start in a independent race like the Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne on Saturday. Last week the organizers of the Gazet van Antwerpen trophy decided not to offer a contract to Klaas Vantornout as they felt he wasn't motivated enough to offer a return for his money.

Vantornout had called off his participation in a GvA-round due to sickness a couple of times last year, nevertheless being able to claim good results one day later in other important races.

"I can understand their suspicion but it was pure coincidence. Some people should understand that if I ride for the victory today [on Saturday in Mouscron] then I'm paying the price for that tomorrow in Ruddervoorde. I'm not Sven Nys who can ride here at 90% and recover in time for the race on the following day," Vantornout said.

Sunweb-rider's Vantornout took a good start but dropped back and finished on a – for him – poor thirteenth position. "I hope that I can prove to the organizers from the GvA-trophy that they were wrong not to offer me a good contract," he concluded.

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