After talking with Bart Wellens about his goals for the season, CXM contributor Christine Vardaros was able to chat with the Belgian rider to see how his prospects are shaping up after the Superprestige opener in Ruddervoorde.
Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) continues on his path to become the fourth big name in cyclocross this season with his fifth place in the opening round of the Superprestige Series held in Ruddervoorde, Belgium. The course was completely opposite of what was found last weekend in the GVA Trofee’s opening round in Namen. While Namen was an incredibly hard race with heavy, undulating mud, Ruddervoorde was like a road race of sorts. The result further confirmed Wellens’ fitness level.
“Today the feeling was good, the legs were good, my shape is good. In the start I was lucky. There was a big crash in the turn and I was just the last one to make it through. I was 15th , 16th place. But I had good legs so I came back to the front. When I got there, I heard that Styby and Aernouts had 30-35 seconds, so we were riding for third place. I tried to bridge the gap, but if you have no support from the others…I did 2-3 times full “a bloc” with Nys on my wheel. When we came on the road, I asked him to work with me to try and close the gap but he always said, “No, no, it’s not possible.” It’s a pity but…”
When asked if he thought something more than a tired Nys was to blame, Wellens thought about it and responded, “I don’t know. You also saw today that Nys rode the whole race together with Sven Vanthourenhout [Nys’ good friend and training partner]. He either waited for him or they made a gap for each other. It’s strange.” In reflection of Wellens’ competitive spirit, he added, “If you are good, try to ride full gas and we will see on the finish, but if you already know four laps before the end that you plan to rest for the finish, yeah. It’s just one hour, one hour is not so long. If we want to beat Styby, who is so strong, then we have to work together. Nys needs to work. Usually I don’t need to ride but I want to ride. If you try, you can win. If you don’t, you only can lose.”