Boom Superprestige organizers have confirmed that the race will take place amid the latest COVID-19 restrictions in Belgium. After some confusion over his starting deal, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) will be on the line with Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) – both making their debuts in the season.
With the increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Belgium imposed new restrictions last week, leading Antwerp World Cup organizers Golazo to cancel Sunday’s event. However, the organizers of the Superprestige will proceed to their race in Boom, less than 20 km from Antwerp.
Ineos Grenadiers confirmed Pidcock’s cyclo-cross schedule on Monday, scoring Boom’s Superprestige this Saturday as his first race of the season – much to the surprise of race organizers, according to Belga.
Pidcock coach Kurt Bogaerts revealed the schedule on Friday, saying the Briton “will start at Boom in basic conditions, without any preparation for cyclocross”. He could also have raced without a starting money contract with the race organization, which used a large part of his running budget for Belgian champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Koen Monu, organizer of the Superprestige round at Boom, said the Olympic mountain bike champion’s announcement was “very strange”.
“I recently heard on TV that Tom will be returning to Boom, but as of yet I haven’t received a departure contract or a proposal from him,” said Monu.
“I haven’t heard anything from his manager yet. The budget has been calculated, including the arrival of Wout van Aert, but not also the departure of Tom. We do not yet know how we are going to arrange this.”
Pidcock is also set to start the World Cups in Val di Sole, Rucphen, Namur and Dendermonde in December and two Superprestige rounds in Zolder and Diegem as he prepares for the World Championships in Fayetteville. His last races before the Worlds will be Baal on January 1 and the Hulst World Cup the next day, followed by back-to-back races in Hamme and the Hoogerheide World Cup the weekend before the Worlds.
Van Aert and Pidcock begin their cyclo-cross campaigns in Boom, now followed by the World Cup in Val di Sole in Italy. Pidcock will wait until December 18 to face world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) at the World Cup in Rucphen.
The trio of contenders were not due to face each other before the Dendermonde World Cup on December 26, as Van Aert will be out in mid-December for a Jumbo-Visma road training camp.