Remco Evenepoel, Wout Van Aert and Jasper Philipsen will lead the Belgian men’s team for the 2023 UCI Road World Championships in Glasgow, with Lotte Kopecky leading the women’s team as she targets world titles on the road and the track.
Evenepoel will defend the rainbow jersey he won in Australia last September and will also target the men’s time trial alongside Van Aert.
Professional riders Thibau Nys and Alec Segaert will lead the men’s team in the Under 23 events, with Sanne Cant also part of the women’s team built around Kopecky.
Also in the men’s team, in support roles, are Tiesj Benoot, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Jasper Stuyven, Yves Lampaert, Frederik Frison and Victor Campenaerts.
“Having three leaders gives us the option to race both offensively and defensively in Glasgow,” men’s national coach Sven Vanthourenhout told Sporza when announcing his nine riders.
“Remco is difficult to control, while Wout’s role will depend very much on his rivals. And if it becomes a sprint, Jasper – who can suffer for an entire race – can get his chance. I will be disappointed if we can’t defend the world champion’s jersey. But above all we should not be disappointed with our way of racing.”
Vanthourenhout was no doubt referring to Philipsen comments from the first week of the Tour de France when he said he wouldn’t race against Alpecin-Deceuninck teammate but national team rivals Mathieu van der Poel, who will lead the Netherlands team.
“That wasn’t an appropriate statement,” Vanthourenhout said, confirming that the current Tour de France green jersey wearer has apologised to his Belgian teammates.
“I think he will think differently after the Tour.”
Vanthourenhout warned about complacency on the testing city centre Glasgow circuit and internal rivalry if the race ends in a sprint finish.
“Fairness will be decisive as the sprint approaches. Wout and Jasper will not sprint together,” he said.
“Preference will be given to those who still feel the best after a tough race.”
The Belgian women’s team made no secret of their plans to help Kopecky target the world title after her superb spring campaign and Tour of Flanders win.
“Plan A is clear: we aim for success with Lotte. However, you never know what can happen in a race, so we also have a plan B or C. What that we will see then,” the Belgian women’s national coach Ludwig Willems said.