UCI President David Lappartient has mooted the idea of preventing cyclocross riders who skip UCI World Cup races from participating in the World Championships.
The idea has been raised in response to U23 world champion Thibau Nys‘ decision not to ride Sunday’s third round of the season in Dendermonde, despite taking part in the Superprestige race in Niel on Saturday.
Nys finished 27th in Saturday’s race after not finishing the European Championships last weekend. He said later that he may put the World Cup “out of my mind” to focus on being fresher for other competitions.
The decision to miss Dendermonde provoked Lappartient to question Nys in an interview with DirectVelo.
“He has a bad result at the European Championships in Pontchâteau. He says he’s tired but why ride on Saturday in Niel?” Lappartient asked. “When you’re tired, you don’t ride. That’s why I understand there are rest periods in a season.
“I don’t want to stigmatise him because Thibau Nys is a rider that cyclocross needs. But he’s not the only one who skips the World Cup. If it doesn’t work then there’s definitely things to improve.”
Lappartient then went on to raise the idea that riders could be banned from competing in the season-ending UCI World Championships – this year in Tabor in early February – if they skip UCI World Cup races.
“If a rider prefers to ride a national event during World Cup rounds, you won’t ride the following World Cup rounds and therefore you won’t ride the World Championships,” Lappartient said. “The World Cup is not a competition in which you can pick and choose as you please. Every rider has to play the game.”
The Frenchman’s words echo UCI sports director Peter Van den Abeele, who told Sporza earlier in the week that, ” Lars van der Haar saidn after his victory in Maasmechelen that he is dropping the World Cup rankings. Thibau Nys prefers the Superprestige in Niel over the World Cup in Dendermonde.
“I respect riders who say they choose to take a rest. But penalizing the World Cup for a different ranking? If the World Cup is seen as a toy, then we have a problem.”
He went on to note that the World Cup offers more prize money than other competitions including the Superprestige and X2O Trofee, while also raising ideas including offering more UCI points for World Cup races or condensing the series into a shorter time period.
The latter idea could see the sport’s major stars Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, and Tom Pidcock race more rounds, with the trio…