What's Cool In Road Cycling

Women’s team invests in young talented riders

The training camp of the Lotto Soudal Ladies in Calpe, the final preparation for the new season, is almost coming to an end. On Saturday 28th February the team will ride the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Invest in young talented riders
Dany Schoonbaert, manager Lotto Soudal Ladies: “We have a young team this season. It’s very rewarding to invest in young talented riders and see how they develop. We did that in the past with among other Grace Verbeke, who won the Tour of Flanders in 2010 as rider in our team, and Jolien D’hoore. Ashleigh Moolman also learnt a lot in our team and the last two seasons that she rode with us she finished two times in the top five of La Flèche Wallonne. Within one and a half month we’ll be able to set more concrete goals, but this will certainly be a transition year.”

Time to develop
“There are six new names compared to last year and Jesse Vandenbulcke has come over from the youth team. She turned nineteen in January. In the youth categories she proved to be fast and a good time trialist. Anouk Rijff, junior road champion 2014 in the Netherlands, was born in the same year as Jesse. For her it will be the first season in the elite peloton as well. For Molly Meyvisch it’s the second year in the elite category, she turned nineteen in October last year. This winter she set a step forward on the track and could finish around place five. This shows she has become stronger. You have to be patient with those girls. They have to ride together with women who are much stronger. These riders have to gradually become more powerful, that takes a few years.”

Italian reinforcement
“Also the two Italian newcomers, Elena Cecchini and Susanna Zorzi, are still young. It’s their 23rd birthday in the first half of this year. We will make sure that they can fully make use of their capacities. Elena is a sprinter and a rider for the classics. Susanna can ride really hard. She loves Belgian races and will start her season in the Omloop. Ghent-Wevelgem will be another important race for her.”

New role for Jessie Daams
“Jessie Daams rode for foreign teams the last four seasons and had to work for the leaders in those teams. Now she will be a leader. She turns twenty-five this year and can set a big step in her career. Jessie is a climber, so she’s a rider for races like La Flèche Wallonne, the Flemish classics and certain stage races. Carlee Taylor has come back to the team. She’s the same type of rider as Jessie. They can support each other, if they are in front together it will be a strong duo.”

Amy Cure: track and road
“The road season still has to really start, while the track season is almost over. Amy Cure performed well at the Australian Championships, where she won two titles. Now it are the World Championships in Paris. After that she has a rest period until the end of March, then she’ll start her road season. Last year Amy finished third in Dwars door Vlaanderen and second in the Trophy Maarten Wynants. In those kind of races she can have a go again this year.”

Decroix as road captain
“For most of the girls this is the first or second season in the team. Marion Rousse is part of our team for the third year in a row. Lieselot Decroix raced two seasons for our team in the beginning of her career and is back since last year. She’s our road captain. With her experience she can teach the young riders a lot. She can also support Jacquelina Alvarez, who is a mountain biker, to find her way in the peloton. Chantal Hoffmann is also an important member of the team, she really works hard.”

Make progress
“Isabelle Beckers, who first did athletics and triathlon, joined a cycling team when she was thirty years old. This will be her third season. Last year she gained experience in our team. Sarah Rijkes and Anisha Vekemans turn twenty-four this year and can definitely still make progress. Anisha rode a strong Giro Rosa last year, doing lots of work for Emma Pooley. We have a lot of potential in our team.”

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