Niels Albert celebrates his win

Niels Albert celebrates his win. © Bart Hazen

While the season may be over, there’s always room for more cyclocross-related news, and this week is no exception. With our normal Rumors and Rumblings writer heavily enmeshed in law school studies, we’ll try our best to pick up the slack and share a few choice tidbits from across the pond.

Lars van der Haar Ages Up
While Van der Haar might be only 20 years old, the racer is far from inexperienced. With wins all season in the U23 category and a win in the Elite field at CrossVegas, he has all the makings of the next great cyclocross superstar. Racing for Rabo-Giant, Van der Haar and his team asked the UCI permission to transition into the Elite field a year early. He got the authorization, and writes on his team site that it’s “a great, new challenge.” He added, “I have just sat in suspense [wondering whether] the UCI would agree, but I could not think of any reason why they would not do.”

Nys Back on the Bike
It may not be big news, but Sven Nys has told the world that his off-season, short as it was, is officially over. “Two training sessions today,” the Belgian cyclocross champion told his Twitter followers. “Yesterday already started with 100 km. We’re gone.”

Bart Wellens Tests Clean
Amidst so many doping scandals, it’s nice to hear some reassuring, positive news for the bike community. Bart Wellens’ hair sample tested negative for drugs. After rumors surfaced about doping as a result of the sudden blood poisoning and life-threatening heart problems that put the rider in the hospital back in January, a test was ordered in early February.

Wellens told the Concentra Newspaper: “This is proof that I had nothing to do and that I had always been honest. I was really confident that they would find nothing to me. Let the parquet now but as soon as possible take action and fully purify my name. Then this is completely closed chapter for me. ”

Niels Albert Becomes Honorary Koksidje Citizen, Three Belgian Towns Vie for Worlds 2016
World champion Niels Albert was honored in Koksidje when he was presented with an honorary citizenship. Makes sense, since after Worlds, he has his own dune there!

And while the US may have staked a claim to Worlds next year, you can bet the Belgians want it back. Already, there are three candidates who have submitted an official request to the Belgian cycling federation for the 2016 championships. The cities include Zolder, Malle and Tree. These candidates for the World Championship had until March 1 to present their dossier to the Belgian cycling federation UCI.