Vandenbroucke evaluates Belgian team, dismisses Boonen’s chances
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vandenbroucke evaluates Belgian team, dismisses Boonen’s chances

by Conal Andrews at 2:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 

Former top Belgian rider Frank Vandenbroucke has said that the tough nature of the world championship circuit in Mendrisio, Switzerland, means that only Philippe Gilbert – and possibly Maxime Monfort - has a chance in tomorrow’s Elite road race.

“On Sunday there will be a slaughter,” he said in his blog in the Het Nieuwsblad paper. “It is best that we Belgians do not to expect too much. I don’t want to comment too much on [selector] Carlo Bomans’ teams, but I might have takent Jurgen Van den Broeck because he and Philippe Gilbert are the only ones who on a good day will keep up with competitors on the kind of circuit. Bomans’ problem is simply that we have a few mountain riders and Mendrisio is a route for mountain riders. "

Vandenbroucke has well-documented problems on and off the bike and, as a result, hasn’t consistently performed at the top level in several years. However his skills as an analyst have been earning him praise. He correctly predicted the first three riders in the Under 23 time trial, and so people are paying attention to his pronouncements about tomorrow’s event.

If he’s correct, the 2005 world road race champion is going to be out of his depth. “Tom Boonen will not be there [in contention] on this parcours. It is too tough for him. He himself knows that well, but as our leading rider he has to be there. Had he been an Italian, Ballerini had never taken him, though. Otherwise he would have brought Pettachi with the team."

Those lining out for Belgium will be Gilbert, Boonen, Monfort, Francis De Greef, Bert De Waele, Kevin De Weert, Nick Nuyens, Greg Van Avermaet and Maarten Wijnants.

Double Tour of Flanders winner Stijn Devolder was very critical of his non selection when the first eight of the nine-man team were named. However Vandenbroucke pointed out that he didn’t do anything after that to show he deserved the final place.

“He has previously proven that he can escape and race alone [to win]. But he has been too relaxed about the chance of being selected. Had he just gone full throttle and got into a good break in the Vuelta, he would have secured his ticket to Mendrisio. Was it that he didn’t, or that he couldn’t?”

He concluded by saying that Gilbert needed to engage in a bit of psychological play in order to intimidate his opponents before tomorrow’s start.

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