Belgium has confirmed its finalised rosters for the upcoming UCI World Championships in Yorkshire. The squad will have two clear leaders in Harrogate, with Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) , while 19-year-old Remco Evenepoel a real contender for the elite men's time trial and perhaps an outsider for the elite men's road race on September 29.
All three have shown signs of top form in recent weeks, with Gilbert taking two stage wins at the Vuelta a España, Van Avermaet winning the GP Montréal and Evenepoel winning the European time trial title and Clásica San Sebastián last month.
The leading trio will receive support from Milan-San Remo runner-up Oliver Naesen, Paris-Roubaix podium finisher Yves Lampaert, and Tour and Vuelta stage winner Dylan Teuns. Tim Wellens, fourth at Montreál, and QuickStep workhorse Tim Declercq round out the lineup.
There are no real surprises in the eight-rider team, though Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) could feel snubbed after his strong run of form through August and September. He's on the reserve list, along with Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma), Laurens De Vreese (Astana) and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First).
Van Avermaet is perhaps best-suited to the course, with the possibility of a reduced bunch sprint in Harrogate.
The 34-year-old didn't have the best opening half to 2019, winning a stage at the Vuelta a Valenciana and the Tour de Yorkshire but missing out at the Tour de France. However, he showed that he'll be ready to go in Yorkshire, with third at the GP Québec and the win in Montréal.
Gilbert will be one of the main contenders to take the rainbow jersey, with the Lotto Soudal-bound 37-year-old keen to repeat his 2012 World success.
Evenepoel will be taking on the senior Worlds for the first time, skipping the under-23 category altogether after taking both the road race and time trial junior titles in Innsbruck last year. He'll be paired with Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) in the men's time trial.
The women's road race lineup will consist of Lotto Soudal duo Julie Van De Velde and Kelly Van Den Steen as well as Valerie Demey (CCC-Liv) and Sofie de Vuyst (Parkhotel Valkenburg). De Vuyst, who won Brabantse Pijl back in April, is expected to lead, and will also race the time trial.
In the under-23 category, UAE Team Emirates sprinter Jasper Philipsen and Tour de l'Avenir third place finisher Ilan Van Wilder are among the notable names.
Belgium national team for the UCI World Championships (September 21-29)
Elite men: Tim Declercq, Remco Evenepoel, Philippe Gilbert, Yves Lampaert, Oliver Naesen, Dylan Teuns, Greg Van Avermaet, Tim Wellens
Elite women: Valerie Demey, Sofie De Vuyst, Kelly Van Den Steen, Julie Van De Velde
U-23 men: Stan Dewulf, Jasper Philipsen, Jens Reynders, Brent Van Moer, Stan Van Tricht, Ilan Van Wilder
Junior men: Ramses Debruyne, Milan Paulus, Alex Vandenbulcke, Jago Willems
Junior women: Julie De Wilde, Jade Lenaers, Dina Scavone, Gloria Van Mechelen.
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