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by Mark Zalewski
December 13, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: British Cycling funding cut by £4 million; Stig Broeckx continues to make small improvements; Team Smartstop riders finally to get 2015 wages; Niels Albert worries two-man race not exciting enough for spectators; Viacheslav Ekimov nominated for president of Russian Cycling Federation; GreenEdge teams will be ORICA-Scott in 2017; Unitedhealthcare names rosters for 2017; Avanti IsoWhey and SwissWellness merge to create IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness team; Canadian development team Silber reloads with young talent; BMC announces kit, tire sponsorship changes; Field, Payton win cyclocross British Cycling National Trophy; Rider recruited by Wiggins via Instagram; ‘Off the Beaten’ Path adventure cycling film.
Niels Albert, former world champ and now coach of the current champ Wout van Aert and the Crelan-Vastgoedservice team, said he is concerned that spectators will become bored with cyclocross due to the current situation of van Aert and rival Mathieu van der Poel routinely riding away from the entire field every week.
Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) and Wout van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) are on another level.
“The gap is huge,” said Albert. “I look at the other side of the course to Wout and Mathieu and the other riders are still yet to pass.”
“In recent weeks we have seen just little duels and that is a shame for the spectators. Wout and Mathieu are both waiting impatiently for bad weather, since the racing is now also once again in need of [a spectacle].”
Albert attributes some of the lack of competition to both the retirements of top riders, like himself and Sven Nys, as well as the draw of more money on the road side of the sport, which lured riders like Lars Boom and Zdenek Stybar. Stybar did come back and race a few events in 2014, winning the World Championship. As well, Lars Boom recently began racing in order to start at the World Championship.
“I read that [Boom] is racing not for fun but wants to [compete], but I think he does not realize how hard it is to go against these two,” said Albert. “I see him still capable of a top ten at a world cup, but at the level of Wout and Mathieu? That will not work.”
Click through to read more at Het Nieuwsblad.