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Belgium names cyclo-cross world championship team

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A triumphant Klaas Vantornout celebrates his Belgian 'cross title

A triumphant Klaas Vantornout celebrates his Belgian 'cross title (Image credit:
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World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)

World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) (Image credit:
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Sven Nys on the podium

Sven Nys on the podium (Image credit:
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The all Belgian podium in the men's race

The all Belgian podium in the men's race (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Sanne Cant (Belgium) was happy with bronze

Sanne Cant (Belgium) was happy with bronze (Image credit: AFP)

The Belgian Cycling Federation announced today the riders who will contest the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. Twenty riders plus nine reserves will make up Belgium's squad for 'cross Worlds, taking place for the first time on U.S. soil in Louisville, Kentucky, February 2-3.

The perennial cyclo-cross powerhouse won six medals at last year's 'cross Worlds on home turf in Koksijde, including a remarkable sweep of the first seven places in the elite men's event. All six medalists return to compete in 2013, although 2012 junior men's silver medalist Wout Van Aert will this year represent Belgium in the U23 men's ranks.

Six of the seven elite men's riders who dominated affairs in Koksijde return in 2013, including the podium of Niels Albert, Rob Peeters and Kevin Pauwels. Also returning from last year's squad include newly crowned national champion Klaas Vantornout, Sven Nys and Bart Aernouts. Tom Meeusen, recently questioned concerning his connection to Dr. Chris Mertens in an alleged blood doping scheme, finished fourth in 2012 but was not selected this year. Instead, former world champion Bart Wellens gets the nod to complete Belgium's seven-rider elite men's squad.

"For me, this was the easiest world championship squad in years," Belgium's coach Rude De Bie told "The absence of Meeusen is particularly hard, but there is simply nothing to be done."

Sanne Cant and Ellen Van Loy will contest the elite women's world championship. Cant, the bronze medalist from the 2012 'cross Worlds, successfully defended her Belgian national title on Sunday, with Van Loy taking the silver medal.

Belgium's six-rider U23 men's roster will be led by 2012 Worlds silver medalist and current World Cup leader Wietse Bosmans plus new Belgian U23 champion Laurens Sweeck.

Five riders will contest the junior men's championship, led by newly crowned national champion Yannick Peeters plus Quinten Hermans, currently ranked fourth overall in the junior men's World Cup. .

Belgium's roster for 2013 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships

Elite men:
Niels Albert
Bart Aernouts
Sven Nys
Kevin Pauwels
Rob Peeters
Klaas Vantornout
Bart Wellens
Reserves: Jim Aernouts, Jan Denuwelaere, Dieter Vanthourenhout

Elite women:
Sanne Cant
Ellen Van Loy

U23 men:
Wietse Bosmans
Jens Adams
Laurens Sweeck
Wout Van Aert
Michael Vanthourenhout
Gianni Vermeersch
Reserves: Toon Aerts, Tim Merlier, Daan Soete

Junior men:
Ben Boets
Nicolas Cleppe
Kobe Goossens
Quinten Hermans
Yannick Peeters
Reserves: Thijs Aerts, Jonas Degroote, Thomas Joseph

Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.