Vlad Van Mechelen is one of the contenders during the junior road race at the World Championships in Wollongong. However, he does not want to call himself the leader of the Belgian team, he said in conversation with sporza know.
“The boys push me forward a bit”, Van Mechelen was referring to his teammates at the World Cup: Duarte Marivoet, Maxence Place, Sente Sentjens and Jens Verbrugghe. “I think I stood out a little bit, if you look at the results of this season. But I certainly don’t want them to hide their own ambition. I want them to keep in mind that they can also get a nice result at a World Cup themselves and that they have to seize that opportunity.”
The 18-year-old rider has confidence in the Belgian selection. “We can start with ambition. We have shown this season that we are among the better as a country. I think there are about five countries that can bring really good riders to the start. The World Cup is of course always unpredictable, especially with the juniors. There can be impetuous racing and there can be guests who suddenly have a great day. You have to watch out until you are in the match itself. It is difficult to predict anything in advance.”
Sprinting with a thinned out group
Van Mechelen cannot tell too much about the course of the race either. “The race is made by the riders themselves, you can’t predict how the race will be. The course can indeed ensure that a decimated group goes to the sprint. Hopefully I’ll be there by then. That wouldn’t be a bad scenario for me.”
Who fears Van Mechelen, if it indeed comes to a sprint? “At the end of a tough game, anyone can be fast. But Romet Pajur (from Estonia, ed.) is an interesting one to keep an eye on, for example, because he may not be there. He is one of the heavier sprinters. We hope he won’t come to the finish line when it turns into a sprint of a thinned out group. Because that’s a bad customer.”