WorldTeam Meet the Lotto Soudal youngsters: Sébastien Grignard
As the new cycling season gets underway, Lotto Soudal welcomes some new faces at the WorldTeam. Amongst them is Sébastien Grignard, one of the five guys who stepped up from the Lotto Soudal U23 team and turned pro at the WorldTeam. Time to meet the 21-year-old Belgian from Mons.
“After several years with the Lotto Soudal U23 team, I was of course over the moon that I could turn pro at the WorldTeam”, begins Sébastien Grignard. “I think that the already familiar environment facilitates the integration within the team. It is also nice to be surrounded by so many other young riders. It just makes the transition from U23 rider to pro that little bit easier. I know the other neo-pros quite well and I already raced together with guys like Florian Vermeersch or Brent Van Moer.”
At the January training camp in Spain, Grignard was immediately able to learn a lot from the more experienced riders within the team.
“Just like so many others, my interest in cycling was triggered by the Tour de France”, says Grignard. “After so many hours watching it on television, I also wanted to give it a try and it seemed to suit me quite well. And suddenly, you are training alongside riders like Gilbert, Degenkolb, Wellens and De Gendt during your first month as a pro. To be honest, those first moments did feel quite bizarre because with such palmares, they leave a big impression. But in the end, they are your teammates and I got used to it quite fast, although I will always show massive respect for their achievements.”
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With a time trial victory in the Memorial Igor Decraene last year, Sébastien underlined his qualities as a rouleur.
Sébastien Grignard: “I really love time trialing and I also have a weak spot for the Flemish races. I hope to have a little taste of everything, but I think I am more of a ‘rouleur’. For me, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are the most beautiful races on the calendar. It would be fantastic to discover those races in the upcoming years. My main strengths lie in the work against the clock and I am also not shy of a long day in the breakaway. At the moment, explosiveness is something I still need to work on. For me, it’s difficult to get a good result if we’re heading with a small group towards the finish. The high mountains are not really my cup of tea.”
“This season will be all about adapting to the pro level and about discovering what racing in the pro peloton exactly entails. I expect a big difference compared to the U23 category, but I really look forward to it. For now, I am not setting any specific goals just yet”, concludes Sébastien Grignard.
Photo credit: Facepeeters.