Current Belgian National champion Niels Albert has said that he will skip competing in the 2012 World Championships at Koksidje if he wins the Belgian title for a second time.
“For me, it is most important that I wear the Belgian jersey,” said the former World Champion. Indeed, Albert has gone on record saying that he would risk a fine by wearing the Belgian jersey even if he had won Worlds at St. Wendel. “But then I started to do the math, and I realized that to wear the national jersey as much as I wanted, I would go bankrupt,” he said.
“Of course, I am a World Champion, so it was a big risk for me to race in St. Wendel and accidentally win, but luckily this year the course was not for me and Stybar was unstoppable. But next year? I won the World Cup at Koksidje – that course is my baby. I’d have to get five punctures to lose on that course. If I have the Belgian jersey, I just can’t take the chance of being World Champion again. Sure, you get lots of money for winning, but I get fined in three races and that money’s gone. So for me it’s not so much worth it,” he said.
“Besides,” he added, flexing his arms in the black, red and yellow jersey, “the horizontal stripes of the Belgian jersey make me look more muscular.”
He paused once more, “and do you know how hard it is to wash mud out of that Worlds jersey? What were they thinking making it white?”