The Lotto Soudal Ladies will welcome Alana Castrique (18) in 2018, a Belgian first-year U23 rider. Alana, whose brother Jonas rides for the U23 team of Lotto Soudal, is a talented time trialist. Past season she won silver at the Belgian Time Trial Championship for juniors. At the European Championships Alana set the fifteenth time. She was selected for the World Championships, where she got 23rd in the time trial.

Alana Castrique: “Next year I will set a very important step by becoming a first-year U23 rider, I will have to compete in elite races. I consider Lotto Soudal as the perfect team to guide me at this point in my career. I am sure I will learn a lot in this team. It’s a big change, from riding junior races to elite races. It will also be a challenge to combine my studies physiotherapy with cycling.”

“I rode some elite races this season, among other the BeNe Ladies Tour, and I noticed that I am ready to set this step. Although I realise it won’t be easy. The first year will be a matter of watching and learning. I will mostly ride kermesses the first year, and a few bigger races which are yet to be determined. Winning a race is very ambitious, but I do hope to be standing on the podium next year.”

“The World Championships in Bergen were a wonderful experience. I was a bit disappointed in my time trial though. I had hoped for a place on top fifteen. Time trialling is my favourite discipline, already since I was a debutant. You have to fight on your own against all elements and I love that. Right from the beginning I set good performances, so I knew this was my specialty.”

“A year ago I crashed at Ghent-Wevelgem. Until then I was a good sprinter, but now I am afraid to mingle in the sprints. In the future I would like to focus again on sprinting. I also have an aggressive mind-set. I am fully committed to road cycling. Last year I became Belgian champion points race, but if I ride on the track this winter it will only be to prepare for next season.”