Van Hecke has earned the WorldTour’s golden ticket
We wrote in praise of the breakaway after the Amstel Gold Race, and La Flèche Wallonne owes much to the bravery of men prepared to ride from the front.
Unsurprisingly for anyone who has followed the extraordinary season of Preben Van Hecke (Topsport-Vlaanderen) this year, the Belgian was prominent among the escapees in both races, continuing a business as usual philosophy begun in Oman.
Much is written – rightly – about the dependence on sponsors of a sport unable to charge spectators, so it is more than a little surprising that none of cycling’s WorldTour teams has spotted the value of a moving billboard like Van Hecke in recent years, a rider able to command hour-upon-hour of television time with his courageous escapes.
Van Hecke was last a member of a top tier team with Davitamon-Lotto in 2007, and since 2008 has plied his trade with Topsport-Vlaanderen in the Pro Continental tier. He has been animator in chief this season at the Tour of Oman, the Tour of Flanders, the Amstel Gold Race, and now La Flèche Wallonne. If the 31-year-old does not gain a return to the WorldTour as a reward for his efforts, it will be an injustice.
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