Cycling: The cyclo-cross elite is looking forward to new rules from next year. The world cycling association UCI has planned this.
Unlike before, the top 50 in the world rankings will be eligible to start in the World Cup races from next year. From this it follows that Philipp Walsleben, Lars van der Haar and Co. will have to reckon with much greater Belgian competition in the future, also at the World Cups.
However, national coach Rudy De Bie warned the Belgian magazine Het Belang van Limburg that “that not all Belgians who are in the top 50 should also start in the World Cup. Some are still under 23 and should therefore start in their category.”
That being said, the rule change is said to be a good thing in terms of internationalizing the discipline. In order to collect enough points, it is now advantageous for the drivers to also collect points outside of Belgium - especially since more points are awarded there in some races. Only the prize money and the prestige could be a hindering factor for the well-known drivers who will collect their points one way or the other.
The Dutch national coach Johan Lammerts sees the development Het Nieuwsblad more critical: “It's like a death sentence for the sport of cyclocross. Only more Belgians will now take part in the World Cup. More riders from other countries such as Germany or Italy should take part in the World Cups. But that doesn’t offer them any prospects.”