Jasper Stuyven has spoken out about his thoughts on how the press has dealt with himself and the rest of the Belgian team's tactics at the recent World Championships.
In a pre-race press conference for Paris-Roubaix, it was inevitable that Stuyven would be asked about his opinion on what happened at the race and the fallout from that.
Since the race finished - with Stuyven finishing fourth in his hometown of Leuven and the next best-placed Belgian being pre-race favourite Wout van Aert in 11th place - Van Aert has had a back and forth with team-mate Remco Evenepoel who sacrificed his chances for the two leaders.
Stuyven said: "I’ve seen a lot of articles how we should have race before the race happened and how the guys were meant to race for Wout and how it should have gone and I think that’s exactly how we wanted to race.
“We did that, and now all of a sudden we’re so stupid and like idiots so if you don’t win. It’s really hard to give credit and I think that’s exactly what’s happening."
Evenepoel spoke out against the team tactics when they failed to bring the win home after he did so much work on the front of the peloton. Evenepoel also said he believed he had the ability to take victory in the 268.3km road race, which was eventually won by Julian Alaphilippe (France).
Van Aert however has since said Evenepoel knew what he signed up to and agreed to the tactics in the pre-race team meeting.
“Like I’ve said before, if we don’t win you guys [the media] are going to make out as if we failed," continued Stuyven.
"I’m still proud of how we raced and left everything out there and we were all going for the goal, Belgium in general was going for that but if you don’t win it’s enough to put you down and that’s actually, for me, quite annoying to see they had to go that way."
Stuyven is now focussing on Paris-Roubaix as he comes into the race alongside Mads Pedersen as a two-pronged attack for victory with a strong Trek-Segafredo line-up to support them.
Paris-Roubaix takes place on Sunday, October 3 with the women's edition happening for the first time the day before the men's to make a weekend of brutal cobbled riding.
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