One day after the news that Jonathan Page had missed a doping control at the cyclo-cross World Cup race in Koksijde, the American lined up at the start of the Superprestige race in Diegem, near Brussels. Before the start of the race Page repeated the explanation his wife Cori had sent into the world, that it was nothing more than a stupid mistake, again going through that day and talking about the frame-breaking crash that forced him to abandon that race.
"I hope it's going to be okay but I don't have a lot of faith in it. I just want this nightmare to be over," Page said. "Because of this I'm surely missing out on the day that matters most, the world championships, since it's impossible that I would be selected and to me that is a massive blow."
When asked what will happen if he receives a suspension, the former silver medalist at the 2007 world championships said he would retire. "Then it's all over."
After the race in Diegem Cyclingnews caught up with Page again and asked him how he had felt during the hectic evening race near Brussels. "It felt good to be out there as every race can be my last one nowadays. I could get rid of a lot of anger. I saved something for tomorrow because Middelkerke has a course that suits me quite well; I will be better tomorrow," Page said. He finished as runner-up during the past two years.
During the evening race in Diegem, the 32-year-old crashed during the third lap when the rider in front of him hit an imprudent spectator. Page continued the race, though, showing his technical skills by completing the sand pit on his bike twice and eventually finished 28th. "I fell down pretty hard and I was glad to notice that I didn't crack any ribs."
Top riders shine light on missed control
The missed control from Page didn't go unnoticed and the local media were all covering the story. Cyclingnews asked two of the top cyclo-cross riders about the case and they gave an honest answer. UCI-leader Sven Nys felt very sorry for Page but said he had to be punished. "On the road it happens more easily and I was repeatedly told that one cannot just ride homeward after abandoning a race. Allowing this – although it is very sad for Page – would encourage others to benefit from this example," Nys said.
The fact that the American doesn't have the huge entourage like most Belgians that can warn him about a control wasn't an excuse for Nys. "Honestly, I'm not in favour of leaving this missed control as it is, even though I realize this is a disaster for Page." Current world champion Lars Boom didn't share Nys' opinion and looked at things in a different way.
"As a rider you're always worried that you're making a mistake," Boom said to Cyclingnews. "In The Netherlands there has a been a similar case where a young rider crashed, headed homeward and thus didn't know about a control; I think he wasn't punished for that. It's the same thing with the whereabouts. You always have to worry that you will be at the place where you have written you would be."