WE know that for non-Belgian or Dutch readers it's not always easy to follow your favourite sport in its European heartland. In fact, that's why Cyclocrossrider.com was born (out of the ' Captain Cross' page on Facebook that had been writing about and sharing links and information on pro racing since 2011) – to represent this fantastic sport in the English language.
The livestreams of racing available online are improving, but there was a time when we were peering at a small, sometimes stuttering TV feeds, praying that the connection would hold out or would not suddenly end before the 'laatste ronde' as was so often the case!
The excitement went up a notch every time that 'studio' based commentator Michel Wuyts handed over to the Sporza trackside reporter
More often than not the racing was broadcast by Sporza and the excitement, for us, went up a notch every time that 'studio' based commentator Michel Wuyts handed over to the Sporza trackside reporter (it still does).
"RENAAT!" Wuyts would announce periodically so that the, often cold, reporter could interject with some wise observation from in amongst the crowd, down on the course. Quite possibly reporter Renaat was talking about tyre pressures or an incident in the 'materiaal post' - at that point our understanding of Dutch was minimal, but it sounded exciting all the same!
That reporter is Renaat Schotte – a veteran of almost 20 years of Belgian cyclocross broadcasting and the man who can also be seen reporting from the back of a motorbike during the Flemish Classics.
At CrossVegas, Schotte chatted with BTB TV's Colt McElwaine and here we hear his viewpoint on many topics from the internationalisation of cyclocross, to equal prize money for women and the prospect of American World Cups in the future. Schotte describes how the sport in Belgium has grown over the past two decades and talks about his career and the "privileged position" he now finds himself in.