U23 Worlds/Bart Wellens/Elite Men Prediction

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I don’t know if you got a chance to watch the U23 Worlds this morning, but if you didn’t you missed a very good bicycle race. I’m still not big on the course. There aren’t that many places in the world where we race 1/4 of a race in sand. The single line in the sand makes the start much too important. But that is cross.

I’ve been looking for the video of the last lap, but haven’t located it yet. The last lap was crazy exciting. 2 Dutch riders and 1 Belgian. From watching on the computer, the Belgium guy, Wietse Bosmans couldn’t have done anything more to lose the race. He didn’t lead into the sand section he was gapping the two Dutch riders on. And then within a stone throw of the finish, when the defending U23 Champion, Lars Van Der Haar, dabbed, Bosmans made the pass when Lars was dismounted and then didn’t attack. He looked back a couple times and sort of waited for Lars to catch back on. He then just let the Dutchman pass him 50 meters before the final corner, less than 200 meters from the finish. He got smoked in the sprint. It was 45 seconds that Wieste is going to remember for a very long time. I feel bad for him.

I wonder how thrilled Bart Wellens is going to be watching the cross worlds tomorrow. He had his house raided looking for drugs last week, but the authorities only took his computer. He’s been under investigation since before his near death experience before the Belgium Nationals a couple weeks ago. He says he’s not stressed about it. The original cause of the liver, heart, kidney failure was “clearly due to a bacterial viral infection” according to his personal doctor, Peter T. Seyen, said after the scare. Now the answer is that he had a tooth ache. I love it when the explanations just keep coming and changing. I’m lucky I didn’t spend a week in intensive care for my tooth the last month. You know those Belgians and their teeth. Sounds pretty plausible to me. If it doesn’t to you, then go with the viral infection explanation.

Tomorrow’s race is going to be great. I assume that Marianne Vos is going to win the women’s race easily. She has made that last few races look like child’s play. The Elite men are a different story. Like I stated above, the start is going to be crucial. I think that it is going to between the 4 guys that have won nearly every race this year. Dah. I am having a hard time choosing between Stybar and Albert. I would like to see Nys win, but he doesn’t have such a good record at the end of January. And Kevin Pauwels just isn’t World Champion material yet. He’ll have a good race, but he doesn’t ride with passion in my opinion. So, I’m going to go with Albert, then Stybar, Nys, then Rob Peters. I think Albert is the best in the sand when he has power. Stybar is going to be motivated, but it is in Belgium. Okay, we’ll see tomorrow. Don’t miss it. Cyclingfans.com is the link. Women at 4 am CST and Men at 8 am CST.

Lars Van Der Haar winning over Wietse Bosmans in U23 Worlds.

My pick for tomorrow, Niels Albert, doing his thing in the sand.

Bart bounced back from this crash but not so fast from a bad tooth. He does have 31% liver function now though.

9 thoughts on “U23 Worlds/Bart Wellens/Elite Men Prediction

  1. Jim

    Van der Haar sure has got a lot of fight in im.
    I thought we were watching an Omaha Beach re-enactment. I guess having sand later makes for a more deserving selection.

  2. Doug P

    Thanks for the links..I had tried Sporza earlier with no luck. That was some great action in the Koksijde sand dunes! I have my alarm set for 6AM tomorrow Left Coast time for the Elite Men.

  3. JimW

    Yeah that Van der Haar just doesn’t quit.
    It took me a while to catch on but the announcers kept mentioning the jack russel. It fits. He’s small for cross, rides ferociously and never seems to run out of energy.
    When Bosmans didn’t drill it after Van der Haar’s bobble I knew he was runner up. Those two have been working him over all season from what I’ve seen. Great racing.
    It was cool to watch all the lead up and equipment check outs between races. Dutch or not it’s really awesome to see Pipistrellos getting explained on TV.
    Spellcheck wants to change Pipistrello to postmistress. People use that word?

    I would love to see Pauwels dig deep and find it tomorrow. I’m not sure with Albert back and not in a tri colore so he’s motivated. Nys can’t be ruled out I think he held back last week. Stybar is Stybar.

    Like to see:
    I think it will be:

    It has to be a Belgian winner and it would cap the old man’s career. He could hang it up after Louisville then.

    Vos, Vos, Vos.
    She’s unstoppable.
    Little Katie tenth if it’s a bad day fifth if it’s good.

    Super excited for tomorrow.

  4. CM

    I think back off Wellens until everything comes out. Athletes actually do get sick, sometimes badly sick, and we can’t know until the facts emerge. There is a particular risk of myocarditis – where the muscle of your heart gets infected – in athletes who exercise intensely in the cold. Sound like a CX racer? Ya. So I won’t be surprised if he was doped up, but we shouldn’t point the finger just based on that. There are plenty of other possibilities and the thought that someone who gets really sick and is fighting for their life then immediately faces doping allegations, I don’t like it if that is our policy. We need to take a step back and wait to see what happens.

    PS. I’m no doping apologist. Valverde and Basso kind of sicken me the way they’re welcomed back. It’s obvious Lance was geared up. All those things, I know. I’m not naive – I’ve also raced against known dopers (including one who was caught). But yeah, really not keen on attacking those who are sick just because they are sick. I’ve been airlifted from a race with a funny heart rhythm. I wasn’t geared up.

  5. tilford97 Post author

    CM-I sort of agree somewhat with what you’re saying, but if the shoe fits, it’s yours. I’m sorry, but the timeline of the event was just too screwy. Too screwy considering all the factors. An athlete doesn’t tweet how well his ride went the day before a national championship and then nearly die within 12 hours.

    And then completely not associated with that, he is already being investigated by the Belgium authorities for doping from a prior event.

    Okay, we are involved in a sport riddled with this problem. This is the 2nd time recently that riders are in intensive care with their organs shutting down. It isn’t a normal virus or tooth issue.

    I’m not sure Belgium cyclo-x can absorb the fall out of a doping scandal. Belgium doesn’t have that many guys that are superstars. How many total started the Belgium Nationals, I think it was 16 in the Elite race. There would have been 17 if Wellens started.

    There is a ton of money in Belgium cyclo-x and I’m sure that there is a lot of damage control going on here and they don’t want this to go south on them. I think that is one of the reasons that the paper, Het Nieuwsblad, wrote this –

    “Bart Wellens’ heart and other problems were caused by tooth root abscesses, according to a Belgian newspaper. Doping or a viral infection, which had also been mentioned as probably causes, are therefore eliminated, the newspaper said.

    I have no idea what will come of the whole thing and I doubt we’ll ever know what really happened.

  6. DavidA

    Im also certain that if “vitamins” are involved they will not find anything at his home. They know that the cops raid your house, so everything will have been done at a doctors or trainers house and no cell phone/text trail etc. Once again if this is the case.

  7. CM

    Hey Steve,

    Thanks for replying. It actually can happen that an athlete gets very sick in 12-24 hours if they have bacterial or viral myocarditis or septicemia or a similarly severe illness. When I was airlifted in the afternoon, I had done a crit in the morning where I finished in a small group with some national team members. If you are unlucky, heart problems can develop rapidly if you exercise hard in the cold with an infection, whether viral or bacterial. It can also be hard to work out where the infection came from originally. My old man has had septicemia develop overnight – gone from doing his regular commute on the bike very quickly to needing serious medical attention in 12-24 hours.

    These things are not common, but more common than you think. This article summarizes a rash of deaths in Swedish orienteers from similar cases:


    The orienteers changed their training and racing when sick and no further deaths were reported. I’ve never seen this filter through to cyclists – we all race with colds, flus and worse.

    I’m not saying Wellens didn’t dope. I’m saying we just don’t know. I don’t see why there needs to be a rush to judge. I’m just going to see how this plays out. The best thing about this is it is actually a good opportunity to point out the potentially serious complications of doing hard exercise when you have any kind of infection. You can choose to do it or not, but if you get chest pains afterwards, see your doctor!


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