Development Lennert Van Eetvelt: “The Giro d’Italia U23 was a great experience.”

Van Eetvelt finishes second at Giro d'Italia U23, William Jr Lecerf fourth overall.
Race 18 June 2022

Lennert Van Eetvelt has secured his second place on the overall standings of the Giro d’Italia U23. In the closing stage, the 20-year-old Belgian still tried to reach out his hand to the overall victory by attacking with teammate William Jr Lecerf but the peloton did not let go the Lotto Soudal duo. Van Eetvelt eventually finished 15th on the steep uphill finish in Pinerolo, at twenty seconds from stage winner Grégoire. The Lotto Soudal Development rider secured his 2nd spot overall with the Brit Leo Hayter taking the overall victory. William Jr Lecerf ended the Giro d’Italia U23 in fourth place.

“We still tried to do something in the final stage by putting the pressure on the descent”, says Lennert Van Eetvelt. “At first, the plan seemed to work because soon I got a nice advantage together with teammate William Jr Lecerf, but it’s just logical that the peloton chased really hard and we got caught again. But if you don’t try, you don’t win right? On the steep finish, it was just a case of holding on and securing that second spot.”

Van Eetvelt looks back on a successful week of racing, with two riders of the Lotto Soudal Development Team in the top five of the general classification.

“Most of all I am proud but just a little disappointed as well because we gave Hayter such a big advantage. This was one of my main goals this season and beforehand I would have signed for this second place. With William Jr Lecerf in fourth place overall, it’s a really great achievement that we place two Lotto Soudal riders in the top five. We showed that we are part of the world’s best U23 teams. Because without fantastic team work, yesterday’s victory would not have been possible.”

Before turning pro at Lotto Soudal next year, a busy second part of the season awaits.

“After winning the Course de la Paix and this 2nd place in the Giro it’s already been a nice season. The goal is to get everything out of my final season as an U23 rider and making the step to the pros as small as possible. That way of working is clearly paying off and we’ll see what next year brings. First it’s time for some rest before building up towards a busy but beautiful summer with the Belgian team time trial nationals, the European road championship, Giro Valle d’Aosta, Tour d’Alsace and Tour de l’Avenir”, concludes Lennert Van Eetvelt.

Also Kurt Van de Wouwer, manager of the Lotto Soudal Development team is proud of how the squad is performing.

“With Lennert Van Eetvelt we targeted a nice overall result but a second and fourth spot is a beautiful achievement, which makes me very proud. The guys fought until the very end to achieve the highest possible result. It is nice to see that we are part of the world’s strongest U23 teams. And then I’m not only talking about Van Eetvelt or Lecerf, the whole team did a great job. Not only at the Giro but during our entire Italian campaign. After some two weeks without races we start again at the U23 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Belgian team time trial championships. There are lots of beautiful races to come, where we want to keep on showing nice things”, concludes a satisfied Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Image: Giro d'Italia U23.

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