Jens Keukeleire had a difficult debut with his new team Lotto Soudal. The thirty years ‘ rider struggled with illness in the spring and fell out of the Tour in the kasseirit. He hopes that in his second year with the Belgian team again to show what he can offer.
Keukeleire made after years of Australian stay, last season the move to Lotto Soudal. He was next to Tiesj Benoot’s leader in the Flemish spring, but disease to england to his plans, and he missed a lot of matches, so it was Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders to him in the past. He made until his comeback in the Paris-Roubaix. However, won the West-Flanders for the second year in a row, the Baloise Belgium Tour by the end of may and he prepared himself afterwards with a lot of ambition for the Tour de France. He got involved in the crash in the stage to Roubaix, which also Richie Porte, the Tour took, and he had the day after it’s return home with a knee injury.
The winner of a Vueltarit in 2016 started with a lot of enthusiasm to the new season. “Yes, I’m really hungry for 2019,” he admits, “I want this rotjaar as quickly as possible behind me, and in 2019’d like to be spared from bad luck and illness. This spring I want to not have to re-seat experience, but with course, to show that I progression I have made.”
Tiesj Benoot won over the past year, the Strade Bianche. State now higher in the pecking order? “For me, that changes not much,” he says, “I always knew Tiesj big races could win. He is also a stronger rider than I am, but I definitely also my place next to him in the team. You better have multiple strengths and I can certainly play my role in that voorjaarswedstrijden and perhaps also a few times in the train of Caleb Ewan (his former team mate also at Orica, red), although I have no fixed pawn his.”
Just like last season start Keukeleire the new year on South American soil, with the Round of San Juan in Argentina at the end of January. “That was a good experience and I also want to now repeat. Is new is that I then hoogtestage trek to the Sierra Nevada in February, together with Tiesj Benoot (that such a stage also in the past year inlaste after Argentina, red) and Jelle Wallays. In the past I’ve always responded to high altitude training which I finished in may, now we are going to also try it in the winter. Then the opening weekend on the program with the Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Kuurne I cannot ride my bike, the GP Samyn. Then the Strade Bianche and Tirenno-Adriatico. Then we have the program look once more.”
Brent Nut: “It is now too early to make choices”
Brent Nut won silver at the latest world CHAMPIONSHIPS time trial for the promises in Innsbruck. The twenty-year-old man from East-flanders competes currently at the promises of Lotto Soudal, and in July 2019 the transition to the pros. Currently he resides with the pros on stage in Mallorca.
Of Nut was tweedejaarsbelofte when he, somewhat surprisingly, a silver medal at the world CHAMPIONSHIPS time trial at the U23 obtained in september of this year. In principle, he may so for another two years with the promises of driving, but all teams pulled on his sleeve, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise and the Waaslander eventually decided in the familiar nest to remain and the transition of the promises to the pros in July 2019 with Lotto Soudal. “This is for me the best solution,” he says, “now I can have a nice spring drive in the promises, and then from the summer a lot to learn with the pros. Hopefully I can then about two years himself a nice campaign, finishing with the pros.”
Of Nut there is now also a training camp with the pros. “Whoa, this is quite a lot more professional than in the promises,” he told in Mallorca. “We train really heavy, and I amuse me. The atmosphere is good and I find it fun to be here. Together with Gerben (Thijssen, who was also in July the transition, red), I train with the group every day, the least certain and hours of trains. We are still young, we should not be burning. In addition, the season started with the promises to a late, three in march, so we don’t have to train with the guys who all wanted to be good in January for the Tour Down Under.”
Van Moer was the last season sixth in Paris-Roubaix and second in the Circulation. The rider told me after the world cup that he also dreams of the classics, and not only that, time trials. “I especially want to have as many as possible a taste of everything,” he explains. “My silver medal at the world CHAMPIONSHIPS was very nice, but I still don’t know what I am worth on the course as the time trial goes. I’m going to of course continue to hone on that time trial, I would still learn a lot, also of team-mate Victor Campenaerts, Kevin De Weert, of my own trainer. Look at the first half of last season when I had very hard work on that time trial, it was constantly searching for the right position, the right wattage, and I won no races, but I had time to accept places of honor. Only from July all fell pieces of the puzzle slowly falling into each other and the world CHAMPIONSHIPS, I took that silver, but also for me, that was a surprise. It is now too early to make choices. I would like a nice spring drive, in those classics, and then at the world CHAMPIONSHIPS in the promises certainly also aim at the time trial. In a few years we will see or what kind of rider I am.”