Alana Castrique is the Belgian U23 time trial champion!


Alana Castrique claimed the victory at the Belgian U23 Time Trial Championships in Sint-Lievens-Houtem on Wednesday 1 May. The Lotto Soudal rider, who turns 20 on 8 May, covered the course of 23.4 kilometres in 34’36”. Britt Knaven got second at sixteen seconds, while Nathalie Bex was third at forty seconds.

Alana Castrique: “I hadn’t expected this victory because I got ill three times the past months. I thought I only had a small chance of winning, but still my trainer and I worked hard in the run-up to this Championship. In the first lap I immediately had a good feeling and I could keep up my rhythm. When I crossed the finish line the first time and heard that I was second at two seconds, I doubted for a moment, because my biggest opponent Nathalie Bex still had to set a time. But there was a climb on the course of one kilometre and an 8% gradient. In the second lap I passed by the rider who had started two minutes ahead of me on that climb. And that was the perfect moment, because it gave me a boost to go full on that climb and that way I made the difference. At the finish I heard the enthusiastic reactions of the spectators and realized that I had won. I didn’t have any idea of the intermediate times, so it came as a surprise.”

“I had one of my best days ever and I divided my strength well. The beginning of the course was false flat and that was pretty tough, especially in the second lap. I knew that I shouldn’t go full gas in the first lap and save some power for the second lap to make sure I wouldn’t lose speed on the climb. And that worked out well. It feels good to be rewarded after the setbacks I had this spring due to illness. Last year I was second at the Belgian Championship, more than forty seconds behind Nathalie Bex. She is one year older and has more experience, so that was no disappointment. That I am forty seconds faster now proves that I have made progress. I love time trialling and ride at least once a week on my TT bike.”

“I am looking forward to the rest of the season. I would love to go to the European Championships and Worlds, but first there’s the Belgian Championships at the end of June, including the elite time trial. In the road race last year I was the fourth U23 rider in the ranking and I just missed out on a podium spot that way. I had been in a long breakaway and felt strong. This year I want to approach the race differently and I am aiming for a podium or even the U23 title. The next weeks I’ll focus on my exams first. I’m studying physiotherapy and the exams start at the end of May. I have seven exams. I am doing less subjects this year to have more time to train and race. I have noticed that this is indeed better for my development as a rider.”

Photo: Photo News (2018)