Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions) finished seventh on Sunday in Troyes, France at his third cyclocross World Cup competition, won by Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal). It was the first time in the opening four rounds of the World Cup series that a Baloise Trek rider did not stand on the top step of the podium, though Lars van der Haar and teammate Joris Nieuwenhuis went 2-3.
While Van der Haar dropped out of the World Cup lead by one point, overtaken by Iserbyt, it was Nys who used the occasion to react to recent harsh remarks directed his way by UCI Chairman David Lappartient.
“I just don’t have that World Cup classification in mind. The result is that you choose match by match,” the 21-year-old told viewers of VTM News after the race and reported by Sporza.
It was a week ago Ny burst into the crosshairs of controversy when he opted to ride the Superprestige in Niel, Belgium on Saturday rather than the World Cup in Dendermonde, Netherlands on Sunday. Lappartient was not happy, saying to media that he thought every rider “has to play the game” and should commit to the World Cup series.
“The World Cup is not a competition in which you can pick and choose as you please,” he told DirectVelo last week.
“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”.
At the time, Nys was third in the World Cup standings, having won the opening round in Waterloo.
“I just think I should be able to plan my own program. Everyone has the right to that,” said Nys. “I’m not concerned with that [UCI comments] at all. They only break their own windows. If necessary, I won’t start at the World Cup.”
Nys did confirm he would travel to Dublin next weekend to compete at the fifth round of the World Cup. However, his teammate Van der Haar will not be present in Ireland.
“In the past you wouldn’t think about skipping a World Cup race. Then people said it was a shame. But now? I sometimes have to. Otherwise I would destroy myself,” Lars van der Haar told NOS earlier this season.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cyclocross World Cup calendar had nine races. Now, the season includes 14, with competitions in the US several countries in Europe outside of the Belgium sweet spot for the sport. Riders now mix in rest periods or reduced travel, to handle the extended build-up to the World Championship, which also includes the Superprestige, X2) Trofee and Exact Cross series of events. The World Cup and Superprestige series of events are both under the umbrella of the Flanders Classics.
“I will also start in Dublin next week. So it is certainly not about the travel or the type of organization,” Nys added about sticking to his personal programme for the season.
Black Friday is quickly approaching and Cyclingnews is keeping track of all the deals, from equipment, clothing, accessories and technology. Check out the Black Friday deals which are curated and updated throughout each day in the UK, USA and around the world.