Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at 8:21 AM
The World Cup is the most important regularity classification in cyclo-cross, but the top riders sometimes choose to pass for a World Cup weekend. UCI CEO Peter Van den Abeele sees it with dismay. “If the World Cup is seen as a toy, then we have a problem,” Sporza quotes.
The many cancellations for the World Cup are a thorn in Van den Abeele’s side. For example, Lars van der Haar previously indicated that he will not contest the entire World Cup cycle, Thibau Nys will pass for the round in Dendermonde next Sunday and top female cyclo-cross riders such as Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse will also not complete the entire World Cup.
“Lars van der Haar said after his victory in Maasmechelen that he is dropping the World Cup rankings. Thibau Nys prefers the Superprestige in Niel over the World Cup in Dendermonde. I respect riders who say they choose to take a rest. But penalizing the World Cup for a different ranking? If the World Cup is seen as a toy, then we have a problem,” said Van den Abeele.
“That is not good for anyone, not even for cyclo-cross as a discipline. However, nowhere can they win as much prize money as in the Cyclo-Cross World Cup. Then something goes wrong, right?” the former cyclo-cross rider wonders. Yet Van den Abeele does not only point the accusing finger at the cyclo-cross riders. “We will also look in the mirror ourselves,” he is self-critical.
“Should performances in the World Cup be rewarded with more points? Should we bundle the World Cup cross races in a shorter period so that all the top riders can be there, for example from December to the last weekend before the World Cup? These are all matters that I urgently want to discuss with Flanders Classics (responsible for the organization of the World Cup, ed.) and other major players from the cyclo-cross world.”
Van den Abeele does not want to wait too long with this. “We will make those decisions with the highest priority so that they can be approved at the World Cup (early February in Tábor, ed.). This way they will come into effect next season.”