Unless Kevin Pauwels wrests the World Cup title from Niels Albert, thus opening up an additional slot, there were six spots up for grabs on the Belgian Worlds team, along with Albert’s automatic inclusion as the reigning World Champion. With far more than six of the world’s top cyclocrossers residing in Belgium, there may have been some tough choices for Belgian national coach Rudy De Bie to make. Regardless, the list has been announced, and though there are no surprises, we now know who will be making the overseas trip to Louisville, Kentucky at the end of the month.
One way to choose? Take the top seven finishers in the Belgian championships. Though it’s unlikely that the one race was De Bie’s sole criteria, it nonetheless worked out that each of the top seven finishers then found themselves on the team: new national champion Klaas Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels, Bart Wellens, Rob Peeters, Bart Aernouts, and, of course, Albert and the Kaanibaal van Baal, Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony).
“I’m not taking any workers,” De Bie said in the press conference announcing the names, via De Standaard. “Everyone will ride for himself, that is the nature of cyclocross.”
“The danger comes from all sides. I think of names like Lars Van der Haar (Rabobank Giant, Netherlands), Radomír Šimunek (BKCP-Powerplus, Czech Republic), Francis Mourey (Francs, FDJ) or Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Racing, Switzerland).”
Notably absent is Telenet Fidea’s Tom Meesuen, ranked sixth among the Belgians in the UCI, whose doctor has come under suspicion for doping athletes. Meeusen has been adamant that he is innocent of any wrong doing, and reportedly is only involved as a witness, but the association with the doctor has been enough to keep him off the team and the reserves, as well as out of the World Cups Rome and Hoogerheide.
Notable as well is the choice to only bring two women – Sanne Cant and Ellen van Loy – rather than the allotted five. Most likely the expense of the overseas trip has something to do with this decision.
Belgian National Team selections for 2013 World cyclocross championships, Louisville, USA, February 2nd-3rd
Niels Albert, Bart Aernouts, Sven Nys, Kevin Pauwels, Rob Peeters, Klaas Vantornout, Bart Wellens
Jim Aernouts, Jan Denuwelaere, Dieter Vanthourenhout
Sanne Cant, Ellen Van Looy
Wietse Bosmans, Jens Adams, Laurens Sweeck, Wout Van Aert, Michael Vanthourenhout, Gianni Vermeersch
Toon Aerts, Tim Merlier, Daan Soete
Ben Boets, Nicolas Cleppe, Kobe Goossens, Quinten Hermans, Yannick Peeters
Thijs Aerts, Jonas Degroote, Thomas Joseph
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