Both Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock are set to skip the 2024 Cyclocross World Championships. For Roger De Vlaeminck this discredits the whole race and he believes Mathieu van der Poel may be given the win already.
“The winner is known, right,” De Vlaeminck tells Het Nieuwsblad. “One hundred percent certain, because what is left of the competition is second-rate. Sorry to say it like that, but the rest is clearly less, everyone knows that. Eli Iserbyt, Michael Vanthourenhout and Thibau Nys then ride for second place. Does it still make sense to watch? I'll still be sitting in front of my TV, especially because Van der Poel is my favorite rider, but that won't be of any use to people, right? ”
Whilst obviously, the choice is ultimately down to the riders, De Vlaeminck simply doesn't understand why they would skip the World Championships. "It is Pidcock's right to focus on mountain biking, but the Games are not until August," he says. "The fact that Van Aert does not start is even more incomprehensible because he has a better chance of winning. But yes, that is also in the head, isn't it.”
“In my opinion, that makes little difference compared to the classics. Van der Poel became world champion in the field last year and what did he do afterwards? He won Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix. In my opinion, Van Aert must do more in the run-up to his big goals,” he concludes. "Ride more crosses and make more kilometres. He shouldn't believe me, but if he has to play the role again in the final of the Tour of Flanders, I will be right again."