Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hanging on to what you've got

All Belgian podium
So after the Belgian domination of the Elite race today, 7 riders finishing 1st through 7th, and after hearing UCI chief Pat McQuaid try to justify it I took a closer look. Basically what McQuaid said was it's not that Belgium is one up on everyone in cyclocross but that their great riders don't move on to other disciplines of cycling.

We saw this in the Juniors, U-23 and Women's races with Belgium only taking 3 of 9 medals, completely being out-classed by the Dutch who took 3 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze. France took home the one remaining medal.

A quick glance through the archives tells the story. The Belgians have never really shined in the junior category but those that have, have gone on to be some of the worlds best. In contrast, those non-Belgian juniors that have shined have gone on to be some of the top road cyclists in the pro peloton. Talent at the world level is just that raw talent. Belgium has done a great job of hanging onto that cyclocross talent and have created a world beating class of riders. How different would it be if these guys had stayed in cross and raced today?

Those that have moved on...

  • Peter Sagan (SVK) - Racing road for Liquigas-Cannondale
    • 2008 Junior Silver
  • Danny Summerhill (USA) - Racing road for Slipstream, part-time CX
    • 2007 Junior Silver behind Joeri Adams (see below)
  • Roman Kreuziger (CZE) - Racing road for Astana
    • 2004 Junior Silver behind Niels Albert (see below)
  • Lars Boom (NED) - Racing Road for Rabobank, part-time CX
    • 2003 Junior Gold
    • 2006 U-23 Silver
    • 2007 U-23 Gold
    • 2008 Elite Gold
  • Walker Ferguson (USA) - Raced MTB for Gary Fisher-Subaru (retired 2007)
    • 2000 Junior Silver behind Bart Aernouts (see below)
  • Matt Kelly (USA) - Raced MTB but eventually left cycling returning briefly in 2008-09
    • 1999 Junior Gold (ahead of Sven Vanthourenhout)

Those that are moving on...

  • Zdenek Stybar (CZE) - Racing Road & CX for Omega Pharma-Quick Step
    • 2002 Junior Bronze
    • 2003 Junior Bronze
    • 2005 U-23 Gold
    • 2006 U-23 Gold
    • 2008 Elite Silver
    • 2009 Elite Silver
    • 2010 Elite Gold
    • 2011 Elite Gold

Those that have stayed...

  • Joeri Adams (BEL) - Racing for Telnet-Fidea
    • 2008 Junior Gold
  • Tom Meeusen (BEL) - Racing Telnet-Fidea
    • 2006 Junior Bronze
    • 2010 U-23 Silver
  • Christoph Pfingsten (GER) - Racing for Cycling Team De Rijke
    • 2005 Junior Bronze
    • 2009 U-23 Silver
  • Niels Albert (BEL) - Racing for BKCP-Powerplus
    • 2004 Junior Gold
    • 2006 U-23 Bronze
    • 2007 U-23 Silver
    • 2008 U-23 Gold
    • 2009 Elite Gold
    • 2012 Elite Gold
  • Kevin Pauwels (BEL) - Racing for Sunweb-Revor
    • 2002 Junior Gold
    • 2004 U-23 Gold
    • 2011 Elite Bronze
    • 2012 Elite Bronze
  • Radomir Simunek (CZE) - Racing for BKCP-Powerplus
    • 2001 Junior Silver
    • 2005 U-23 Silver
  • Bart Aernouts (BEL) - Racing for Rabobank 
    • 2000 Junior Gold
  • Sven Vanthourenhout (BEL) - Racing for Landboukredit
    • 1999 Junior Silver
    • 2001 U-23 Gold

They say to win it like a Belgian you have to do so with no one else in the picture. Niels Albert won it like a true Belgian.


Shim said...

Maybe they should proclaim that they are Pirates and cry when someone beats them at their made up events.

Shim said...

Of corse I'm joking.

bryan said...

Yes, of corse you are.

Mark Studnicki said...

The whole cross scene over there is huge business. Huge crowds paying money to watch, huge start-money paid out. Very lucrative for those guys to stick at it and not get learned away with ProTour road contracts. For guys like boom and stybar, they have good futures ahead of them on the road, but they probably could have raked in way more cash staying with cross.

MJZ said...

does anyone one the actual flemish/dutch/belgium word for "no one else in the photo"????

MJZ said...

thanks in advance