WorldTeam Meet the Lotto Soudal youngsters: Xandres Vervloesem
As the new cycling season gets underway, Lotto Soudal is happy to welcome several newcomers to the team. Amongst them are five guys who swap the Lotto Soudal U23 team for the WorldTeam. One of them is 20-year-old Xandres Vervloesem, for whom 2021 will be the first season as a professional cyclist.
Xandres Vervloesem: “To turn pro at the age of twenty is something I didn’t expect at all. In my first year as an U23 rider, I had very little race days due to health problems. The following year, I was given the opportunity and the confidence to further develop myself within the Lotto Soudal U23 team of Kurt Van de Wouwer. My first season as an U23 rider was not what I hoped for, so I thought that I would need several years to grow. But the summer of 2020 suddenly changed a lot.”
In September 2020, Vervloesem took home the general classification of the Ronde de l’Isard, a prestigious U23 stage race for young climbers.
“Last year, partly because of the COVID-19 situation, I had the time to slowly build the shape, to train well, but above all to just enjoy riding my bike. This was for me the perfect way to make progress. In the run-up to the summer, I didn’t really know what level of fitness I was at. The legs felt – partly thanks to a training camp abroad – pretty good, but it was still a shot in the dark. It didn’t really work out during the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc, but it did go really well during the Ronde de l’Isard.“, explains Vervloesem.
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Vervloesem sees a lot of benefits to turning pro in a familiar environment and already looks forward to the coming years within the Lotto Soudal WorldTeam.
Xandres Vervloesem: “The choice for the Lotto Soudal WorldTeam was a deliberate decision. After one year at a non-Belgian team, I realized that I attach a lot of importance to being home and around people I know. The fact that within Lotto Soudal, I am surrounded by a lot of Belgian riders and staff gives me some peace of mind. At a young age, you are still doubting about yourself that little bit more and it is important for me to stay in the comfort zone. There’s also a family atmosphere within Lotto Soudal, which makes it easier to integrate into the team.”
“Despite the overall win at the Ronde de l’Isard, I don’t consider myself as a pure climber. I am more the type of rider who likes to maintain a hard but steady pace. At the U23 category, I was up there amongst the best climbers, but I don’t have that extra acceleration just yet. That is why I don’t want to limit myself to only being a climber and in the coming years, I want to progress in the various aspects of cycling. Besides, I aim to serve the team as good as possible. At the moment, I don’t have any personal ambitions yet”, concludes Vervloesem.
Photo credit: Photo News