Belgium announces team for Tabor Worlds
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Belgium announces team for Tabor Worlds

by Ben Atkins at 2:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, World Championships

The seven-man Belgian team for the World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic at the end of the month has been announced by head coach Rudy De Bie, and – as usual – it is not without controversy.

Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) qualifies automatically, as defending champion but should definitely have made the selection anyway as he has led the UCI rankings since the beginning of the season.

The next four names on the list – Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet), Klaas Vantournout (Sunweb-Revor), Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) – make up four of the UCI’s top eight. The only riders to have been able to compete with this list of five all winter have been Czech champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea), Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux) and Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank).

It is the last two names on the selection list that have caused some comment.

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) missed the first half of the season through Illness and the nature of the disease – cytomegalovirus – has meant that he has not been at anything like the level of previous years. His performance in Sunday’s World Cup race in Roubaix, where he was actually leading the race in the mid section before fading slightly to finish fifth, indicates that the 2003 and 2004 champion is returning to top form at just the right time.

The inclusion that has caused most discussion in the Belgian media is that of 38-year-old Erwin Vervecken, despite him being twelfth in the UCI rankings and sixth best Belgian. According to Het Nieuwsblad, the big choice for De Bie to make was between Vervecken and Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor), and it again seems to be Sunday’s race – where the three-time World champion finished fourth (although he won the same race last year) – that has been the decider.

Vanthourenhout, along with cousin Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus) and Rob Peeters (Lanbouwkrediet), may well get his chance though as the three have been named as reserves.

Cant and Vanderbeken lead women’s charge

Newly crowned Belgian champion Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus) will look to improve on her sixth place from last year. Still aged just 19, Cant could be the rider to start to elevate Belgian women’s cyclocross to somewhere near the level of the men’s. She will be supported by previous national champion Joyce Vanderbeken.


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