Chantal Hoffmann retires from cycling
"I am very grateful for all those years."
Lone Meertens will be part of the Lotto Soudal Ladies team next season. The 21-year-old Belgian is a former triathlete who has switched to cycling. The past two years, Lone rode for the Keukens Redant club team. This season Lone, a student civil engineering, claimed among other two places on the top fifteen at the Czech stage race Gracia Orlová where she finished 20th on GC. Learn something more about this newcomer.
Lone Meertens: “There are several reasons why I decided to quit triathlon and to start cycling. During races I often had stomach aches and it was hard to combine triathlon with my studies. I didn’t reach the level I wanted anymore. My brother was cycling already and in 2017 I took part in a race to see how it would go. It was 40°C that day. In a triathlon I would have had problems with my stomach, but that wasn’t the case. Despite the heat, it went rather smoothly and I had fun. That’s how I started cycling.”
“I did sprint triathlons. That’s 750 metres of swimming, 20 kilometres of cycling and 5 kilometres of running. Cycling is in group and drafting is allowed. It’s the least decisive part of the sprint triathlon. And that was actually a pity. It’s not easy though to make the switch from triathlon. The distance for example is a huge difference compared to the sprint triathlon. I need to work on my stamina and power. I’ll do that in the off-season with Lieselot Decroix, who’s my trainer since this year. I also need to learn to drink and eat sufficiently in a race.”
“Another aspect that I need to work on is my knowledge of the courses. I love tough races. With the Belgian national team I already rode in the Czech Republic and there I discovered that I love riding uphill. I haven’t been able to ride the Ardennes Classics yet with my current team and that are races that I am looking forward to be riding in the future. I will definitely need to further develop myself as a rider and then my specialties will become clearer.”
Cycling is the least decisive part in sprint triathlon. I need to work on my stamina this winter.
Lone Meertens: “Lotto Soudal rides a really nice programme and that’s important to me. I am very happy with this transfer. I needed the past year to get experience, but now I am ready to set the step to a UCI team. I already know some of the riders, like Julie Van De Velde and Jesse Vandenbulcke. And the team is very professional. I will be satisfied at the end of next season if I have set another step forward and if I feel that I have been able to contribute something to the team.”
“I’m now in the final Bachelor year of my civil engineering studies. There are two Master years to come. I’ve taken up less study points because I want to grab the opportunity Lotto Soudal gives me with both hands. Now I have more time to train and rest. When I did triathlon I noticed that you won’t benefit from training if you don’t take enough rest. During the week I’m living in Leuven so that I can easily go cycling or go to the fitness in between classes.”
Photos: Marc de Landtsheer and Lieven Van der Donckt (photo homepage)