French ‘cross star Thibau Nys of Baloise Trek Lions, triggered UCI backlash and threats from President David Lappartient for skipping the Dendermonde UCI World Cup on Sunday. The 21-year-old, who raced the Superprestige on Saturday, decided to skip the WC, saying he was exhausted and needed a break. He had a rough day at the office in Niel, Belgium, finishing 27th.
Lappartient said that pro CX riders needed to prioritize the World Cups and that skipping some of them is not an option.
“The World Cup is not a competition in which you can pick and choose as you please. Every rider has to play the game,” Lappartient said in an interview with DirectVelo. “If a rider prefers to ride a national event during a World Cup, then they perhaps won’t ride the following World Cup rounds and therefore won’t ride the world championships.”
The current leader of the UCI CX World Cup, Lars van der Haar, for example, said he will skip the Dublin stop, as well as the snowy Val di Sole World Cup in Italy.
“If I start doing everything, if I continue to do everything, I think I will ultimately destroy myself completely,” he said in an interview with WielerFlits. “I’m also dropping four Superprestige races to do four World Cups. It’s not that we are deliberately dropping the World Cup, the World Cup is still a very important classification. I don’t think we should use the word ‘power’ yet, we should have an open discussion between the UCI, the riders and the teams.”
Many Canadian and American ‘cross riders will sometimes begin their WC season later in the winter, due to traveling and living costs, or to be able to race in their national championships. In Europe, the majority of the national championships will be in mid-January. In North America, they tend to be late November or early December.
Riders like Tom Pidcock, Mathieu van der Poel, and Wout van Aert will also begin their seasons later in the year given their long race schedule on the road. Former pro turned team manager of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty ‘cross team, Bart Wellens, pointed out the notion that the UCI would never ban the superstars of the sport.
“I think they are panicking at the UCI. For example, would Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock suddenly no longer be allowed to compete in the World Championship? And not Fem van Empel either? That doesn’t make sense,” he said to