With the World Championships in cyclocross, the cross season is approaching its absolute peak. Michelle Yates and Paul Higgers look forward to their title fight in the United States. “It looks like it’s going to be a great World Cup.”
Who is the leader of the Belgians?
A week before the cyclocross world championships, speculation could start. Who is the big favourite? Will there be a Belgian block? Which Belgian has the best chance of winning the world title?
“If I had to pick one Belgian with some extra characteristics to win the title, it would have to be Elie Esserbet,” said Michel Wittes.
Higgers agrees: “Iserbet is the captain par excellence. Throughout the whole season he has been very in control. I have the impression he has the legs he had at the start of the season.”
Wuyts: “I’m convinced Iserbyt will need the Flamanville form, which was higher than yesterday, in the US. Because in the World Cup you usually have to cross faster than usual.”
How about the big challenger Bidcock?
At the turn of the year, Tom Bidcock made an impression. After that, the Briton went on a stint in training with the Ineos-Grenadiers and seemed to be looking for that super level beforehand.
“Iserbet has already led 33 crosses this season, Bidcock 12. And that usually plays a role in the World Cup,” Witts knows from his experience.
“Will it again depend on the shape of the day, if I had removed an arsenal of crosses like the Iserbyt?”
“If Eserbet had known beforehand that Van der Poel would not be present, he might have left some crumbs for others during the season. Eserbeet would have gone to the World Cup better,” adds Heijers.
“Anyway, Pidcock showed yesterday at Hoogerheide that a solo setup isn’t his preferred tactic. Suddenly he had a 19sec lead, but he wasn’t able to manage that,” continues Herygers. “It looks like it’s going to be a great World Cup.”
What tactics should the Belgians use?
In the World Cup, Belgium has the strongest men’s legion on paper. How can our citizens take advantage of that during the cross?
“Should national coach Vanthornhout let the other Belgians make the game and keep Eserbet on hand?” asks Michel Wittes.
“We have the perfect guy to make the game difficult: Toon Aires,” says Herrigers. “But will Aertes do it to someone from another team?”
During the season, Aerts rides in the Baloise Trek Lions, Iserbyt for Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. “In the World Cup you push all the Belgians into one team, but in their hearts they are not in one team,” Hiergers knows from his experience.
“Although I think Aerts would make racing difficult without having to talk about it. That’s the nature of the beast. Aerts always drives.”
How different would the World Cup be without Van Art and Van der Poel?
In the absence of Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, we will soon have a different world champion than anyone from “Big Two” for the first time in 8 years.
Michel Wittes knows: “In the era before Van Art and Van der Paul, I went to the World Cup with many contenders.” “That will be the case now.”
“The luck factor will come into play next Sunday. Dealing with pressure will be another important feature.”
Watch and listen to the full World Cup preview of Michelle Yates and Paul Higgers
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