Belgian Cyclocrossers Wowed by American Dollars in Cyclocross

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Bart Wellens and Bart Aernouts discuss the night's hot, humid racing. © Cyclocross Magazine

Belgians Bart Wellens and Bart Aernouts might just be discussing the American dollars in cyclocross © Cyclocross Magazine

Seeing another headline about American cyclocross and dollars in the Belgian newspaper, and one is likely to assume it’s another controversial piece about the finances and the likelihood of the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships happening in Louisville, Kentucky. But this one is not.

The newspaper article instead focused on the amazing number of dollars at American cyclocross races. What? Compared to a country where the top cyclocrossers can earn close to seven figures, it wasn’t the total prize purse of American races that caught the paper’s attention, but rather all the American fans handing out dollar bills.

The dollar hand-ups were quite a curiosity to both the Belgian racers and their teams. “Some American supporters want show their sympathy for the veldrijders in very special manner,” says the Nieuwsblad article.

Danny De Bie, the director of the Telenet-Fidea team, told Niewsblad that he saw ten fans giving dollars to racers at CrossVegas, and some at the USGP in Sun Prairie as well. “I have no idea why they do that,” said De Bie, perhaps not realizing most of the field did not receive salary or equipment and coveted every dollar. He did recognize American fans’ passion however. “The American cyclocross fans are very enthusiastic.”

Skuut Dollar Grab! © Dan Oehlberg

Great dollar grab form, but clearly not in it to win it. © Dan Oehlberg

As to his star riders, Rob Peeters and Bart Wellens, the winner of Day 2 of the USGP’s Planet Bike Cup? De Bie revealed, “Bart and Rob grabbed no money….you are too busy if you are racing for victory.”

Perhaps their story would be different if the $100 bill-laden Slyfox was in attendance.



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Trebon ( @ryantrebon ) passed my $1 up on Saturday on the way to victory...because - in his own words -" @therealpsimet I would have taken it if it was a $20!!!"

Yes - there is a bit of "OMG - they make no money" and then there's a bit of "tipping" for the show. We love these guys and gals and we see them almost as often as we see our own families. We bump into them in the parking lot and try to find ways to help out where we can.

For a couple of hours I get to see some of the best athletes in this sport slog around the course. I get to be inches away from them and cheer/heckle for them. Then I get to see their faces light up as they reach for a dollar, or $5 or $20 (Yeah, Hartley!), or watch them crack a smile when a good heckle lands and is heard.

As an industry business owner, team owner, sponsor, multi-event promoter, "racer" (OK I ride with a number on), and enthusiast for this sport I make no apologies. In fact I feel sorry for those that don't get to race in front of people like us.

"Hey got something right 'heeeeeerrrrrreeee'!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Only in Vegas Rob and Bart, Only in Vegas...

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