Boonen, Gilbert head Belgian team for world championships

Belgium announced its nine-rider team for the upcoming UCI Road World Championships, naming Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) as its protected riders.

Boonen and Gilbert have both shown themselves to be on form in the past weeks: the Belgian champion showed his colors on the top step of the podium at Paris-Brussels, while Gilbert won two stages in the Vuelta a Espana.

Selector Carlo Bomans explained the choices to, stating the team's ambition: "Like every year, we are going to win," Bomans said.

Boonen picked Stijn Vandenbergh as his helper, while Gilbert opted to nominate Kevin De Weert, a teammate of Boonen, according to Sporza.

Also named to the squad are Vacansoleil-DCM's Björn Leukemans, Gianni Meersman and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Garmin-Sharp's Johan Vansummeren, who was picked as a worker rather than including someone like Jelle Vanendert, who came second in the Amstel Gold Race which finished on the same climb which will be employed at the Limburg world championships.

"Johan is a worker in the pure sense of the word, perhaps the only one in the Belgian squad," Bomans said.

Vanendert was named as a reserve rider, along with Jan Bakelants, Dries Devenyns, Ben Hermans and Nick Nuyens, but was quite unhappy with the snub.

"I had my sights on the World Championships, and I have done everything I could. This is a serious blow," Vanendert said to Sporza.

Belgium for the UCI road world championships

Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin - Sharp
Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team

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