Baloise - Trek Lions lead the way currently when it comes to cyclocross and are directly in the crossfire of criticism from David Lappartient and the UCI. They want riders to race all World Cups whilst the Belgian team seek to focus on their own ambitions and not be pressured. The back and forth continues.
"In the past, everyone could participate in every race. But now the calendar is so full that you always have to disappoint some organizations. This time that's a Superprestige, but in the coming weeks, the riders will likely skip another World Cup," Sven Nys told In de Leiderstrui. "I really don't expect the regulations to be changed in the middle of this season. It seems to me that riders should be allowed to continue to choose where they do and don't race. We all want the sport to improve, and we agree on that. As far as I'm concerned, this should be discussed behind closed doors, with all involved parties. In the past, cyclocross races were scheduled so that everyone could participate in every race. Nowadays, the situation is such that every year there are a lot of disappointed organizers."
"If necessary, I won't start at the World Cup" - Thibau Nys unbothered by UCI president's threats
Lars van der Haar, currently second in the World Cup, will skip several races soon. Thibau Nys is also skipping rounds as he's not focusing on the cup, but his absence from Dendermonde gave way for Lappartient to target the youngster himself. A rather unusual and irregular statement, which was backed by no-one. The UCI has opened discussion on the matter, with different opinions and ideas being passed around. None are likely to come in this season however.
Nevertheless, Lappartient's statements that riders who do not race all World Cups may not be allowed into World Championships would be extremely detrimental to the discipline - as both top male and female riders skip plenty - and are not possible to implement. A smaller version of that is possible however.
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"If you make the World Cup mandatory, it's the same as making the WorldTour mandatory on the road. There, you also see that riders don't race Liège-Bastogne-Liège but they do race Paris-Roubaix," Lucinda Brand continues. "In cyclocross, it's also true that not all top races are part of the World Cup. Take for example the Koppenbergcross and the race in Ruddervoorde. Making choices is part of the sport. They can shove something down our throats, but that's not going to work."
Among suggestions, it has also been reportedly suggested that the World Cup could begin a month earlier and then feature a period in November without any of it's races to allow riders to rest and/or train for goals ahead. Expanding the prize pool in World Cup races is also an option, whilst adding "support" events to foreign crosses may give riders more of a reason to make the trip. Aside from Lappartient's main statement, solutions to this problem (according to the UCI who own the World Cup) are being discussed.
Sven Nys commented on Lucinda Brand who had her first double-cross weekend of the season. "Condition-wise, I thought she was very good [in Merksplas], but she made too many technical errors in the woods, causing her to lose too much ground. She had a seven-second lead on Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado going into that section, but was seven seconds behind when she came out of the woods. That means too many mistakes were made, especially if that happens again in the next round, then you are just being delayed by too many mistakes. She lost her confidence was a bit, but I am very proud of her physical form. She has come a long way and she's already the major challenger."