The federation president also did not like the statements of UCI striker David Lapartent. He believed that threatening to stop the World Cup for those who dare to cancel World Cup rounds: meaningless. “During the last Mountain Bike World Championships, contrary to all federation regulations, a privileged starting position was made available to Tom Pidcock and Mathieu van der Poel 48 hours before the start. This logic escapes me.”
Tom Van Dam also believes that the direct attack on Thibaut Ness was unfair. “We are talking about a talent who is barely 21 years old, in full development. Surely someone like this deserves the freedom of his choice for the program?
Van Dam also points out that World Cup and European Championship selections are the responsibility and individual responsibility of the national federations. “To take it to the extreme: if we decide to send five road cyclists to the Cycling World Cup, that is our right. If the UCI denies us that, as far as I am concerned, it can also bear all our costs to the organisers.
He stressed that he has no ill will toward the World Cup. “We fully support a more compact version that contributes to the global development of cyclo-cross.”
But here comes the problem. “I have the impression that the UCI and the World Cup in its current form are diminishing this world. This cannot be the intention. A serious assessment is required, regardless of any commercial interest. We have to ask ourselves the question: Where do we want to go? Something One thing is certain: Belgium will not abandon cyclocross, which depends on a healthy economic balance, at any cost for the sake of a prestigious project.
Van Dam appears calm and collected, but there’s also a tinge of disappointment in his voice. Not least because the UCI seems to ignore federations as directly involved parties. “We have already formulated our opinion towards the UCI several times. A few years ago, national director José Smits personally presented them to the cyclocross committee. But until now I have never heard of Lappartient. Yes, I find that very disappointing. Because we have already proven that we can make the model cyclo-cross is applicable.
Van Dam is looking beyond the World Cup circuit. “It should definitely continue to exist. Races in Italy, Ireland, Spain and the United States: I think it’s great. For me, we can get it down to eight or nine with one or two Belgian crosses at most. But it doesn’t stop with the whole circus flying to “All over the world. Other individual organizers should also be given their chances. Youth work is needed. And space for additional investments. This is the only way to develop our sport.”
Finally, the question is whether the cross country championships in 2023 really need that range of rankings. Van Dam: “I’m not going to say yes or no to that. But I think it’s worth discussing, based on what the public and especially the riders and the organizers want. People turn on their TVs, watch the preliminary interviews, enjoy the match and that’s it. Everything else is no “They care.”
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