The Cyclo-cross World Cup should cut the number of Belgian rounds

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The first real edition of the revamped cyclocross world cup is over. The baptism of fire according to the most famous criterion of regularity can be called seventy percent. Which means there is still room for improvement. It is clear to everyone that 16 ideas is a very good thing. In addition, it is also better to reduce the number of Belgian trials.

After the Flanders classic has left its mark on the Flemish Spring on the road over the past decade, the company also entered cyclo-Cross in 2018. Initially as the owner of the Superprestige, he became – since last season – with the UCI – in charge of organizing and developing the World Cup .

After an emergency release (caused by Covid-19) last winter, the first real version of that new World Cup took place this season. Sixteen rounds, spread across six countries, ended mainly on Sunday. The latter with the aim of increasing recognition and standardization. There is no debate about it, Flanders Classics has already largely succeeded in this. The World Cup takes place on Sunday and can be viewed in the Netherlands at Eurosport (player). In Flanders, this is still something to look out for. Sometimes you have to set the volume to One, other times to Telenet and Proximus. Always with the same authoritative votes.

The downside: that all the other crosses that aren’t part of the World Cup have to give way, it just doesn’t feel good. For those who can organize Saturday’s matches alongside Sunday’s World Cup nearby, the damage is limited. But this, for example, Gavere, one of the oldest classics in cyclo-Cross, has to go to February, a bridge too far.

The World Cup ended on Sunday in Hogerheide – Photo: Kur Vos

However, the biggest criticism concerns the number of engines. ‘Sixteen is too much.’ Sven Ness grumbled last year that it would erase the rest of the calendar, and it turns out Ness was right there. In the classics of Flanders they realized the problem. CEO Thomas van den Spiegel has already indicated that this number will be reduced to fourteen next winter. The least is not possible at the moment, because that is what the contract with the UCI provides. Perhaps because that also limits the income of the classics of Flanders.

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Fewer matches means lower fees. While Flanders Classics has invested heavily this winter alone to successfully complete this edition. Just thinking about saving the match in Sonhoven, which contestant Golazzo suddenly no longer wanted to organize because it wasn’t profitable. In addition, a number of movements were completed without an audience. There, other fees will also be paid to Flanders Classics in consultation.

Fourteen, next winter. It can provide at least one additional weekend, so that teams that want to get temporary training can. That is, if the Belgian Federation does not immediately fill that weekend with other competitions. Moreover, according to our sources, the classics of Flanders are working hard on their international character. Moto will be added in London and we will also return to Spain. The name Benidorm has appeared several times in recent weeks. With the United States, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, we’ll next talk about eight countries.

One of the most beautiful looks this year, in Flamanville, France – Photo: Cor Vos

We come to another difficult point. Six out of sixteen – Next winter, five out of fourteen? – Competitions that take place in Belgium, i.e. and many remain if you know the name world Cup want to use. Will this impress the Olympic Committee? Maybe the goal should be three. This leaves room for further internationalization of the calendar. Also striking: with Koksijde, Zonhoven and Antwerp (now canceled), the World Cup has three sand crosses. It is better to focus on more international courses, which guarantee more tension and where non-Belgians and Dutch also find something to their liking.

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Flanders Classics gives itself a number of years to strive for the perfect calendar. Owner Wouter Vandenhaute and associates deserve this recognition. And if only because they have proven on the road with their spring repair that they can deliver quality. This, too, was not without struggle. The fact that Vandenhaute and Van den Spiegel are willing to listen to the opinions of different stakeholders is in their best interest. Let’s hope that each side wants to put their shoulders under the future cross. Then that will be fine. With or without Van Aert and Van der Poel.

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