WorldTeam Meet the Lotto Soudal youngsters: Harry Sweeny
As the new cycling season gets underway, Lotto Soudal is happy to welcome several newcomers to the team. Amongst them are five guys who step up from the Lotto Soudal U23 team to turn pro at the WorldTeam. One of them is Harry Sweeny. Time to introduce the 22-year-old rider from Queensland, Australia.
“Leaving Australia behind to pursue your cycling dream sure is tough”, begins Harry Sweeny. “It is definitely something that European pros never have to experience, leaving behind your entire family, friends, girlfriend,… Sometimes, it is quite difficult and it is something you never get used to. However, it is always in the back of your mind that you are in Europe for a clear purpose.”
The upcoming season, Sweeny will live and train in the south of France. “I have got a nice apartment set up for myself in Nice and the area really is incredible. Of all the places I’ve been to in Europe, Nice probably feels closest to Australia. With the beach nearby and the mountains within reach, it just feels perfect. The sun is almost always there, so the training conditions are ideal. Everything’s looking nice for the season ahead.”
Sweeny is no stranger to Lotto Soudal, as he was already part of the U23 team last year. The Australian impressed by winning Il Piccolo Lombardia, the U23 version of the Tour of Lombardy.
“The transition into the WorldTeam has actually been quite smooth”, says Harry Sweeny. “I already knew a lot of the staff members and the equipment is also the same, which makes it easier to integrate with the team. I already know several guys like Caleb Ewan, with whom I’ve done some training in Australia. It almost feels like I haven’t really switched teams and to be amongst several guys from the Lotto Soudal U23 team is also really nice.”
“Winning Il Piccolo Lombardia was definitely an absolute highlight from last season. At the pros, races like these are maybe a little too hard for me, but I really like the one-day races where it’s full gas all day long. I hope to turn into a versatile rider in the future. Of course, I hope to become an essential part of Caleb’s lead-out, but I’d also like to explore my own qualities as a rider. I think I might do well at the Classics; I think that races like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix will really suit me. But I hope to discover some other races as well, just to know where my ceiling is.”
Having started as a triathlete, Sweeny will now be riding his first race kilometres as a professional cyclist in the UAE Tour, the first WorldTour race on the calendar.
“My road to the pros has actually been quite funny”, explains Harry Sweeny. “I started off as a triathlete and my first road season was in 2015, where I went straight from triathlon to join the cycling program at my local institute of sports. Since then, it’s really been a case of adding on to my performances each year and building myself into the rider I am now today. I feel like I am ready to be a pro now.”