Jan Bakelants: World Championships course is on the limits of dangerous

Jan Bakelants, UCI Road World Championships, team time trial mixed relay
Jan Bakelants and Senne Leysen compete in the team time trial mixed relay for Belgium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Jan Bakelants has described the Yorkshire course at the UCI Road World Championships as dangerous after racing a wet lap around Harrogate during the inaugural team time trial mixed relay on Sunday.

Bakelants was not selected by Belgium for the men’s road race, but the experienced rider, who came back from a career-threatening injury after a crash at the Tour of Lombardy in 2017, told Cyclingnews that the 14km finishing loop in Yorkshire had several precarious sections.

"It’s not a lap for time trialling, and, to be honest, I don’t think it’s a lap for a road race either," he said after Belgium placed ninth in the mixed team relay.

"I think that it’s pretty dangerous. It’s really technical. That’s obviously very good for [the Netherlands' road race favourite] Mathieu van der Poel because he’s going to love it, I’m pretty sure, but it’s on the limit when it’s wet, and it’s probably going to be on the limit because we’re in England.

"The two times that you cross the bridge, it’s very dangerous. It’s off-camber and that’s Van der Poel's speciality," Bakelandts said.

Despite his words of caution, Bakelants still had praise for the mixed team time trial. The event was controversially replaced the trade team time trial this year in a move that drew criticism from several team managers.

Bakelants stated that while there were elements of the event he liked, he would still have preferred to see the trade event kept at the World Championships, with the new mixed event added as an accompaniment.

"It was wet and so then you feel that it’s going to be slippery, but, in the end, it was pretty fun. I really liked it. It is good that it has something to do with the women’s teams. It’s new but it’s a shame that they cancelled the team TT for it. I think they should have the trade team time trial back because there was a lot in it for the constructors and the teams that really play on innovation. That’s lost now but this format has some quite nice elements.

"I’d open the discussion again about having the trade team time trial or this event, or both. I get the impression that there hadn't really been a discussion before they cancelled the trade event, but I like this new format and I think that we’ll see a lot more riders interested in taking part in it."

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.