Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Cycling News
Cycling News
Stephen Farrand

Cyclocross riders and teams hit back at Lappartient’s World Cup criticism

Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) finished second at Dendermonde World Cup.

Leading cyclocross riders and team managers have hit back at criticism by UCI President David Lappartient of riders who opt to miss races in the World Cup calendar, suggesting the UCI sparked the problems by extending the series to 14 races and including races across Europe.  

Lappartient tried to defend the World Cup series after Thibau Nys opted to ride the Superprestige in Niel rather than Sunday’s World Cup race in Dendermonde. Other riders have already said they will not travel to Ireland for the Dublin World Cup on November 26 or to Italy for the Val di Sole World Cup on December 10. 

"The World Cup is not a competition in which you can pick and choose as you please. Every rider has to play the game," Lappartient told DirectVelo, with a veiled threat. 

"If a rider prefers to ride a national event during a World Cup, they perhaps won't ride the following World Cup rounds and therefore won't ride the World Championships." 

It is unclear how such a rule would affect Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Tom Pidcock, Fem van Empel or Puck Pieterse. All have opted for limited cyclocross calendars this winter and will miss some of the World Cup races. 

The major race cyclocross season runs between mid-October to Mid-February and includes the 14 World Cup races, the eight-race Superprestige series, the eight-race X2O Badkamers Trofee, the seven-race Exact Cross series and other events. 

Riders and teams pick their own race programmes, often signing start fee deals with the different organisers and occasionally taking a break during the season for a block of training.  

However, reforms to the World Cup carried out with series organisers Flanders Classics have seen an increase in the number of World Cup races across Europe and the prize money but a decrease in start fees. Flanders Classics also organise the Superprestige series.

Cyclocross remains Belgium-centric and the teams struggle to cover the costs needed to travel to the USA for the early-season race in Waterloo, to Dublin, Italy and elsewhere.  

A number of riders and team managers did not like the tone of Lappartient’s rebuke. 

“I think riders should have the right to make their own choices. Especially when it comes to young riders because my own son is also mentioned here,” Sven Nys of Baloise Trek Lions said after his son celebrated his 21st birthday at home, rather than racing at the Dendermonde World Cup race. 

“There are many other riders who make choices and occasionally skip a World Cup. I think that should be possible, but that is a discussion that we have to have at a certain point in order to optimise the sport.”

Lars van der Haar is leading the World Cup ranking but has already said he will miss the World Cup races in Dublin and Italy and Lappartient’s criticism will not change his mind.  

“If I start doing everything, if I continue to do everything, I think I will ultimately destroy myself completely,” he told WielerFlits

“I'm also dropping four Superprestige races to ride four World Cups. It is not that we are deliberately dropping the World Cup, the World Cup is still a very important classification."

“I don't think we should use the word of power yet, we should have an open discussion between the UCI, the riders and the teams,” he said of Lappartient’s veiled threat.  

Former rider and now team manager at the cyclo-cross team of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, Bart Wellens, was more outspoken, highlighting an inconsistency in Lappartient’s suggestion to stop riders racing subsequent events and even the World Championships if they miss a round of the World Cup for a smaller event.  

“I think they are panicking at the UCI. Would Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock suddenly no longer be allowed to compete in the World Championship? And not Fem van Empel either? That doesn't make sense,” he suggested. 

“We've been saying it for so long; the structure of the World Cup is not well put together. It's way too busy now. We knew that from day one. 

“The World Cup must remain something special but they messed that up themselves due to the oversupply. You used to be proud that you could ride in the World Cup. I don't think anyone has that at the moment.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.