Benoot solos to victory in Silkeborg!
Jasper De Buyst made it a one-two for Lotto Soudal.
There was new talent. Like young, fresh and hopeful riders are very often part of the development team of Kurt Van de Wouwer and, by extension, the entire Belgian U23 pool. That talent is skillfully further molded and the riders with just that little extra immediately make the step to the WorldTour, preferably to Lotto Soudal. During the 2016 cycling season, as a first year U23, everybody was talking about Bjorg, within and later also outside the peloton. Words like ‘pocket climber’, ‘rough diamond’, ‘puncher’, ‘Grand Tour hope’ were used. And if Lotto Soudal tried to convince Bjorg Lambrecht to turn pro and live his dream…
Early 2018, the small and frail Bjorg turned pro. Down Under, the start of his pro career was postponed for a little while, but without delay, he rode every stage – in the harsh heat - an hour ahead of the peloton, not dejected but bold. A few months later, he surprised Albasini and Boasson Hagen – on their favourite course - by taking his first professional victory in the Tour des Fjords. The question that remained was when Bjorg would take the step to the top. Less than four months ago, we received the answer in his Walloon Classics. And the confirmation that it would not be his last step.
With playful determination, he integrated into the world of professional cycling. With teammates and staff, who appreciated his work ethic and humility, with opponents, who discovered his talent, with the media, who appreciated his nuanced but clear story. He got along the same way with a topper as André Greipel as with super domestique Sander Armée, he shared the room with older riders like Lars Bak and riders of his generation, like Harm Vanhoucke… He talked with Egan Bernal and Steff Cras, opponents back then, but they became WorldTour riders at the same time.
Every year, the world of sports is unfortunately shocked by having to say goodbye to – in an unexpected and unreal way - men and women, boys and girls, on their way to chase their dreams. More abrupt is not possible. Again and again, there is the immeasurable and lasting loss of their child, partner, brother and sister. Again and again, the sympathy is overwhelming and heartfelt. And every time, a little later, life around them goes on, except for the mother and father, brother and sister, partner and children.
All riders and staff of Lotto Soudal would sincerely like to thank everybody for their expressions of sympathy in the usually hard (top-level sports) world. But in the first place, our thoughts go out to the parents, family and friends of Bjorg, who have to endure the greatest burden, a life without Bjorg.