Belgian coach Carlo Bomans selects five debutants for the World Championships road race but leaves veteran Jürgen Roelandts at home

Jürgen Roelandts says the Belgian selectors are gambling on a sprint finish at the World Championship road race in Richmond, Virginia, on September 27 as he missed out on selection for the squad.

The Lotto-Soudal rider was overlooked by national coach Carlo Bomans after illness derailed his build-up to the race. A fifth-place finish at the GP Plouay looked to put the 30-year-old back in contention, but Bomans was not convinced.

“Of course I’m disappointed that I’m not selected,” Roelandts said. “When I look at the team, I think it’s mainly built around Tom Boonen, with three riders of his team in support.

“The coach seems to gamble on a sprint, but also then I could have been a very good lead-out. But he sees it differently and I have to live with that. In the past I proved I am good in that kind of races, when you take a look at my results.”

Boonen looks likely to lead the team, having recently also questioned the judgement of the national coaches who seemed to prefer multiple leaders to one protected rider.

Bomans has overlooked Roelandts, a three-time participant in the World Championships road race, in favour of five debutants in teammate Tiesj Benoot, Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) and Etixx-Quick Step trio Iljo Keisse, Stijn Vandenbergh and Nikolas Maes.

“I’m sure that Belgian team could have been confidant for the World Championships, just like in the past,” said Lotto-Soudal manager Marc Sergeant. “Jürgen has World Championships experience and has always been loyal in his efforts for the team. I think it’s a strange situation.”

Alongside the five debutants, Bomans named Boonen, Philippe Gilbert, Greg Van Avermaet, Sep Vanmarcke in the nine-man squad.