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The Belgian Worlds Team Preview by Cycling4Fans
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 10/8/2002
The Belgian Worlds Team Preview by Cycling4Fans

The Belgian team for the World Championships in its own land doesn't look like the team from previous years.  This year it is more difficult to make out the difference between the "Chiefs" and the "Indians."  Many different teams are represented -- hopefully they will be able to work together as one team.

First, here are the ten riders who are sure of a place on the final team -- in alphabetical order, since at the time of writing it is still not clear who the team's "real" leader will be.

Tom Boonen (USPS)
Ludovic Capelle (AG2R)
Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre)
Nico Eeckhout (Lotto)
Kevin Hulsmans (Mapei)
Johan Museeuw (Domo)
Jo Planckaert (Cofidis)
Tom Steels (Mapei)
Peter Van Petegem (Lotto)
Marc Wauters (Rabobank)

Most probably also on the team:
Serge Baguet (Lotto)- Included in final selection

And then one of these seven:
Wilfried Cretskens (Domo)
Glenn D'Hollander (Lotto)
Nico Mattan (Cofidis)
Chris Peers (Cofidis)
Erwin Thijs (Palmans)
Jurgen Van Goolen (Domo)- Included in final selection
Michel Van Haecke (Landbouwkrediet)

Now a little more over each of them, although most of the riders are already pretty well known!  They have all shown what they are capable of.

Tom Boonen
At the beginning of the season, no one would have expected that Boonen would be on the Worlds team.  But in Paris-Roubaix this year everyone could admire his class, and he was referred to as "the new Johan Museeuw."  He rode exceptionally well all spring, and his form is still outstanding.  In the Circuit Franco-Belge he showed that he is ready for the Worlds.  He can go with an early escape group, or would also have a good chance to win if a small group finishes -- he is also a good sprinter.  Hopefully he won't be bogged down mentally by his upcoming team change.

Ludovic Capelle
Ludovic Capelle is one of the team's sprinters, and last year was Belgium's sprint champion.  2002 was actually not his best year -- he carried too much weight at the beginning of the year, and came in for a lot of criticism.  But now he is fit in time for the Worlds, and deserves his place on the team.  There aren't that many good sprinters in Belgium.  He might be good for a surprise on the flat Zolder course.  He still doesn't have a team for next year.

Ludo Dierckxsens
Who doesn't know Ludo?  If you have seen him in a race once, then you can't forget him.  His riding style is very popular:  he attacks often and always gives everything he has.  He doesn't win a lot of races, but does a lot of work for the team.  He will probably either attack early in the race or do a lot work for his captain.

Nico Eeckhout
Belgian national trainer says he wants riders who can ride a race like the Worlds to the bitter end -- a rider like Nico Eckhout.  Actually, 2001 was his best year, when he won a lot of races. This year wasn't so good, but Nico is a fighter.  He made a good impression in Paris-Brussels.  He probably won't start as captain, but will work for Museeuw and Van Petegem, but if it comes down to it, he could probably win in a sprint.

Kevin Hulsmans
One of the young riders on the team.  He didn't excpect to be picked for this team, as he had earlier announced that the Circuit Franco-Belge would be his last race of the season.  His stage win there (with a little help from Tom Boonen) changed that.  Kevin had a lot of injury problems this year (right knee).  But now he is the "old" Kevin again (even though he is very young!) and maybe he can have a good race in Zolder.  He has an extra motivation:  he is getting married soon and could give himself an extra-special wedding present.  By the way, Johan Museeuw was very happy that Kevin was included on the team and said that he is always good for a surprise -- is that a tip for us?

Johan Museeuw
What is there to say about the Lion of Flanders?  He will, of course, be captain and will be able to motivate the Belgian team.  Johan can win in an escape or in a sprint, as he showed this year in Hamburg.  He also has a special motivation:  October 13 is his 37th birthday.  And the last time that the Worlds road race was held on his birthday was in Lugano.  And we all know who became world champion there!

Jo Planckaert
Jo is one of those riders who usually manages to finish well but doesn't actually win many races. It is no problem for him to work for the team.  He won't be the captain, but will possibly go in an escape group.  He has been sick the last week, so hopefully he will be feeling better on Sunday.

Tom Steels
He is without doubt Belgium's strongest sprinter, and yet it was long not clear that he would start in Zolder.  He had some ups but more downs this year.  He won the Belgian championship in Malegem, but couldn't hold on to his good form.  He was sick for a long time, and frankly just had a rotten season.  It is clear that he has not won back the trust in him -- he is not starting in Paris-Tours.  But it is to be hoped that he has his legs back on Oct. 13.  If he can't ride for himself, he will have to work for the team.

Peter van Petegem
Peter van Petegem will be one of the team captains.  The "black man from Brakel" is a typical Classics rider.  Normally he is an outstanding spring rider but this year he is also very good into September.  For example, he was 6th in Paris-Brussels and was one of the strongest men in the field, next to Jo Planckaert.  Peter is also a very clever rider.  In Flanders, one says that he can "read" a race.  He will be one of the most important men in the race, along with Johan Museeuw.

Marc Wauters
Another man in good form and with an extra motivation -- the race runs practically through his front yard!  But actually, Marc doesn't need an extra motivation.  He gives his all and is a real team rider.  He doesn't win a lot, but does it up right when he does win, like winning Paris-Tours 3 years ago.  Marc is also riding the time trial on Thursday and is in good form for that, too.  He became Belgian time trial national champion on Sept. 8 and in the Rheinland-Pfalz tour he finished 3rd in one stage.  He is a man to be counted on.

Those are the happy ones who are already sure of a starting position.  Normally we could also expect him on the team:

Serge Baguet
Another man in form!  In the Lucca Tour he was 4th in a group sprint, even finishing ahead of Cipollini!  Jose De Cauwer had to nominate him on the basis of that achievement.  He was also very good in the one-day races in Italy in September, for example, finishing 9th in the Coppa Sabatini.  Normally one could expect him to be on the team.  His career shows what funny turns life can take:  from pro cyclist in 1994, to roofer in 1997, back to pro cycling in 2000 and hopefully starting in the world championships in 2002! (Note: Included in final selection)

Then one of these seven will also make the team:

Wilfried Cretskens
Wilfried is not very well known, but is a very good helper, and Johan Museeuw would like to have him on the team.  He showed his good form most recently in the last stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge.;id=3&lan=nl

Glenn D'Hollander
A very good team rider!  Glenn has no problem to ride forward in the wind for many kilometers.  If he is included, he will ride one hundred percent for the team.  He is also in good form and rode a good Circuit Franco-Belge.,id=3&lan=nl

Nico Mattan
It is surprising that Nico Mattan doesn't have a sure place on the team, but perhaps the national trainer thinks he has enough leaders and wants more helpers.  Nico himself says that if he is included, he will ride for the team.  2002 was not his best year -- lots of good finishes, but no wins.

Chris Peers
Chris had a terrible season.  After a bad crash in the spring it took him forever to get back into shape.  He is very honest and says that he has not earned a place on the team.

Erwin Thijs
A good helper, and he comes from the region where the race is being held, which would be an extra motivation for him.  He could be a good helper for the team.  He was 8th in the Hessen Tour this year. e.htm

Jurgen Van Goolen
A very good and ambitious young pro, he had a good first season.  He attacked several times during the Vuelta, and was the best man during the Belgian championship.  But that probably isn't enough to bring him onto the Worlds team -- he'll have his chances in the coming years. (Note: Included in final selection),id=66&lan=nl

Michel Vanhaecke
A good rider in good form.  He was 10th in Paris-Brussels and was often seen in the front in Circuit Franco-Belge.  But, again, that is probably not enough to let him start in Zolder.

For the time trial, Belgium offers Marc Wouters and:

Bert Roesems
Bert had a very strong season.  He won the prologue of the Belgian Tour and was first in Sweden, too.  He was second in the Belgian time trial championships, behind Wauters.  It remains to be seen what he can do in the Worlds.

So, that is the Belgian team for the "home" World Championships!  It looks like a very good team. Hopefully they can all agree to work together (so many different teams!) and then work together well, because disagreement within the team will only hurt them all.  Museeuw and Van Petegems should be the captains and others have the possibility to be "jokers," like Boonen or Hulsmans.  At any rate, it should be an exciting race!

U-23 Road Race
Kevin De Weert
Philippe Gilbert
Nick Nuyens
Gert Steegmans
Johan Vansummeren

U-23 Time Trial
Kevin De Weert
Sebastian Rosseler

Juniors Road Race:
(5 of the following)
Bert de Backer
Evert Verbist
Nick Ingels
Gianni Meersman
Ingmar De Poorterre
Jurgen Roelannndts

Juniors Time Trial:
Mario Ickx
Jurgen Roelandts

Women's Elite Road Race:
(6 of the following)
Veronique Belleter
Corine Hierckens
Cindy Peiterss
Evy Van Damme
Heidi Van de Vijver
Vanja Vonckx
Ine Wannijn

Women's Time Trial:
Cindy Pieters
Evy Van Damme

Women's Juniors' Road Race
(4 of the following)
Ludivine Henrion
Sara Peeters
Grace Verbeke
Charlot Verhaeghe
Aurdrey Werner

Women's Juniors' Time Trial:
Sara Peeters
Grace Verbeke

Written by Christine of; translated by Susan Westemeyer

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