Busy racing schedules put pressure on CXers

By Brecht Decaluwé

After last week's row between American cyclo-crosser Jonathan Page and his team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen, the two have buried the hatchet. Together with Page's agent Paul De Geyter, a new deal was agreed and that will keep Page in the Sunweb-Projob team until the end of the season. In the official statement, Mettepenningen claimed Page apologised for his behaviour. But when Cyclingnewscontacted the rider to hear it from himself, Page explained that both parties had agreed not to comment on what had happened. "I'm happy that the team and I have come to an agreement, so I can move forward with my career," Page said. The rider will be able to ride his own programme, which was the cause of the problems.

Not only Page disliked the fact that all the team's riders had to show up in every race Mettepenningen wanted them to be. The team's other big name, Sven Vanthourenhout, complained about the same issue, right after Page launched his attack on Mettepenningen. "After the cross in Hasselt, Mettepenningen told me that I was paid to deliver," Vanthourenhout said in Sportwereld. "My performances are suffering under the busy programme the team wants us to ride. Due to the surgery I underwent in July it's too hard for me to ride two races in one weekend. From now on, I'm riding my own programme. I can't have my career destroyed by these ridiculous demands."

In Europe, the professional cyclo-crossers only start in races for which they have negotiated a contract. Clearly, Mettepenningen wanted his riders to start in other races as well, mainly to please his sponsors, who understandably want their name in the picture as much as possible. On Saturday, three Sunweb riders will take part in the World Cup race in Koksijde: Sven Vanthourenhout and Jan Verstraeten were selected for Belgium while Jonathan Page represents the USA. Cyclingnewswill provide full coverage from Koksijde for both the men's and women's races.

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