What's Cool In Road Cycling

Kurt Van de Wouwer reviews the season of the U23 team

Since two weeks the off-season has started for the U23-riders. The Lotto Belisol team has won 31 times in 2014. Sports director Kurt Van de Wouwer looks back at some highlights. Four riders will become pro next year, Louis Vervaeke already made that step in July.

Top Competition
Kurt Van de Wouwer, sports director: “We can only be satisfied with the results of this season, we have won 31 times. The victory in the Top Competition with the team and individually with Kenneth Van Rooy are the highlights of the season. Our team won the competition for the third time in a row. But it was the first overall win with a single rider.”

Four GC wins in stage races
“The team won four stage races. Louis Vervaeke was the best in the Tour de l’Isard and the Tour des Pays de Savoie, both with stages in the high mountains. Dan McLay won the Tour of East-Flanders and the ‘Zeeuws’-Flemish cycling weekend. Dan McLay had the most victories, which is not that strange because he is a sprinter. He won the points jersey in the Tour de Romandie, two GC’s, and four stages in stage races with amongst them a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir.”

Belgian championship title
“With Jef Van Meirhaeghe we won the Belgian championship title on the road. Ruben Pols became second in the time trial which was a disappointment for him. He became champion of East-Flanders, won a test time trial, and the time trial in the ‘Zeeuws’-Flemish cycling weekend. Together with Frederik Frison he was selected for the World Championship time trial. Frison suffered illness due to a virus but still got selected for the world championships. In August he rode some test time trials and won in Neerpelt and Angreau. At the World Championship time trial he became ninth.”

Regularity of Benoot
“Tiesj Benoot had lots of regularity in his performances, but had to be content with many top ten spots. He conquered the points jersey in the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux and became second in the overall standings. In the Tour de l’Isard he finished third in the GC. In the Tour of Flanders for U23 he was third and fifth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In the World Championships road race he was fourth. During his traineeship, Tiesj showed himself to be ready for the step to the pro peloton. Notwithstanding his youthfulness he played his part in the final of Paris-Tours. That is promising.”

Five riders become pro
“Louis Vervaeke became a pro in July, it was his third year in the U23 category, but he handled the change well. In the Clásica San Sebastián he could support Jelle Vanendert and Tony Gallopin for a long time. Louis is a pure climber and has a lot of potential. At the end of August he won the final stage of the Tour de l’Avenir. In total there are five riders from our youth team who will be pro next year. Besides Benoot and Vervaeke, who will ride for our pro team, there is also Amaury Capiot, Dan McLay and Jef Van Meirhaeghe. This amount of riders is extremely high. The average is two riders per season. This is rather exceptional and we’re very proud of it. The development of riders and offering them opportunities is one of the main goals of the Belgian National Lottery to support the cycling sport in the width, and this via the Lotto brand.”

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