Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) says he is "deeply disappointed" to miss out on the Belgian team for the World Championships road race in Yorkshire later this month.
The 27-year-old says he believes he deserves a spot on the team following and overall win at the Deutschland Tour and top-10 finishes in the Brussels Cycling Classic, the GP de Fourmies and the WorldTour races RideLondon-Surrrey Classic and GP Québec, where he finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The Belgian squad initially confirmed five names for the eight-man team last week, including team leaders Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), along with Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) and Oliver Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale).
Team manager Rik Verbrugghe then announced a further three riders this week, with Deceuninck-Quick-Step's Yves Lampaert and Tim Declerq making the cut along with Tim Wellens of Lotto-Soudal.
That meant there was no place for Stuyven along with Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) in the team that will take on the 284.5km road race from Leeds to Harrogate.
"I don't understand," Stuyven told Belga. “Apart from Greg and Phil, our leaders, which other riders in the selection can show better results than me? I think my spring certainly played a role in the coach's decision and that is a shame, because I assumed that the form and the results in this period were also taken into account. I am a very strong rider, I have shown good condition and I wanted to go to that World Championships, but apparently winning that overall in Germany is not enough."
Stuyven had a difficult Classics season in the spring, with his best result a 14th place at the Dwars door Vlaanderen. After riding the Tour de France, his form improved but it appears it wasn't enough to warrant inclusion in the squad. He'll resume racing this week at the GP de Wallonie as defending champion.
"I had worked towards this, I wanted to be there," Stuyven added. "Of course I know that many Belgians could go to the World Championships, certainly on that course and that not everyone could ride, but that I am not there is a great pity. I deserved a place in that selection. I am deeply disappointed, much more than at my non-selection for the 2014 World Championships in Ponferrada. I was just a professional then, it felt different, it will take a while before I have processed this. ”
Likewise, 25-year-old Tiesj Benoot was left disappointed about missing out on selection, having had a decent year that included his best ever WorldTour stage result, fourth overall at the Tour de Suisse.
“I am disappointed, but I felt that I would not be there," Benoot said. "When I saw which names were still eligible for the last two places, I knew it would be difficult. Whether that decision not to take me is justified or not, I will not comment on that, everyone has their own opinion and I respect that of the national coach. There were many candidates, certainly on that course.
“I did my best, win a stage in the Tour of Denmark, finished second in Plouay and also raced strongly last week in the Tour of Britain. I indicated to Rik that I felt good and that I would respect his orders during the race. In the end I will not be selected and then you have to accept that as a rider. "
The elite men's road race takes place on Sunday September 29.
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