Cyclocross Magazine got a chance to sit down with the elite men’s team from Belgium to get their thoughts on Louisville, Worlds in the US, travel and timezones, and their thoughts on the course thus far. Our first interviewee was Klaas Vantornout, the current reigning Belgian National Champion. He’s had one of his best seasons to date, taking the win at Superprestige Gieten ahead of Sven Nys and consistently animating the races and accumulating a host of top-five finishes on his way to his first Belgian title. A crash the weekend after his National Championship win took him out of the race with an injured leg, but he’s come back strong since then, and when we spoke to him, he told us his leg feels good as new while riding. “I feel it on the massage,” he said, “but not on the bike.”
“I’ve seen the bed, the bike and the track,” the Belgian champ admitted when we asked if he’s had a chance to be a tourist since arriving in the US.
On winning the Belgian National Championships, he told us it was like “a dream come true” to win one of the three most important titles in the world (after Worlds and the World Cup). “It’s the first time I got the Belgian jersey not in the young category. It’s the first I’ve done in my life … but the weeks after that, it was very busy.”
New to the attention, Vantornout seemed shy about the press that’s besieged him. “It makes training and rest difficult,” he admitted.
The Belgians all told us the same thing: bringing to the US the gear and support they are used for Worlds was difficult. “It’s another dimension,” Vantornout explained. He has only three bikes and seven sets of wheels. Recently, Vantornout has been riding a prototype Ridley X-Night, which will be debuted this week in Louisville. “It’s very good, very light,” he explains. “I have two other new ones, in the Belgian colors.”
“I think with the mud, it’s for the strong people. And the Belgian people are in the front, so it’s not good for the American people, I think,” he said about the course.
Full interview here:
Stay tuned for more interviews with the Belgian team!