There's nothing the Belgians quite enjoy as much as heaping pressure on their young riders.
Remco Evenepoel was the latest to be given the 'new Merckx' tag line, and 18-year-old Cian Uijtdebroeks is maybe the first recipient of the moniker 'the new Remco'.
He's already won a number of junior stage races, the junior edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and finished second in the recent European Championships junior time trial.
Things were therefore set up for him to potentially delight a home crowd in Bruges at the Worlds junior time trial, but days before the event Uijtdebroeks was injured during an attempted burglary at his home.
It was night-time, the warm late summer weather making it stuffy in his room so he opened the window. As he was going to sleep, he heard a noise.
"I opened my window to look and there was a burglar on the roof," Uijtdebroeks told Belgian TV channel RTBF. "Obviously I closed the window and I didn't tell the gentleman to come in, so I started running to go and set the [burglar] alarm but I made a bad move.
"The next day I went to train and I felt that it was wrong and that I was in pain. I went to see the doctor and we saw that there was a small muscle tear. I had to rest for a few days."
Fortunately, Uijtdebroeks was still able to make the start line, only two hours from his home, but not in top condition.
As well as the physical ailments, Uijtdebroeks mentally suffered during his effort, telling the media afterwards he was worried about putting too much power through his injured leg in case he exacerbated the tear.
"Yeah for sure [it affected me] a little bit because the preparation wasn't perfect so it had a little impact," Uijtdebroeks added after finishing sixth, 41 seconds behind Danish winner Gustav Wang. "And also you're thinking about it, but in the end also the parcours wasn't perfect for me, I gave everything I had and it just wasn't enough to win."
Maybe of all the riders to have come through the mixed zone so far this World Championships, Uijtdebroeks was the most in demand. It's not surprising, really, the next Remco tied in with a home invasion?! You don't get a much better story than that in cycling.
"I don't think too much about it but for sure it puts some pressure on a rider because they think you can win everywhere," Uijtdebroeks said of the pressure that's already being exerted on him during his teenage years.
"They think you are Remco, can win a World Championships and everything, but if you look at the parcours [at the 2018 Worlds in Innsbruck] it was climbing, if you put a TT on a big climb then it's different, so in the end you can't see those two things together. For me, I want to become the best rider I can be and I don't look too much to other riders."
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