Earlier we already announced the composition of the Lotto Soudal Ladies team for 2018. One of the six newcomers is the Dutch rider Demi de Jong (22). The younger sister of Thalita rode for Parkhotel Valkenburg in 2017 after being part of Boels – Dolmans for three years. The past season Demi won the youth classification of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour and she finished third in 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg, a race that was won by home rider Marianne Vos. In Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik she got tenth and in Dwars door de Westhoek she was eleventh. At Thüringen Ladies Tour Demi conquered two times a tenth place in a stage, at the Ladies Tour of Norway she did that once.

Demi de Jong: “Liesbet De Vocht contacted me to join Lotto Soudal and she made me enthusiastic. I have chosen for a Belgian team, but because I only live at about five kilometres from the border I don’t consider going to Belgium as going abroad. Lotto Soudal has a nice race programme and I hope to animate the finales in the spring together with Lotte Kopecky. I already know Lotte from when we were juniors, the past years we were opponents and now we can support each other.”

“I love hilly races with cobbles and I don’t mind rain. Ghent-Wevelgem is one of my favourite races. In 2012 I won bronze in the time trial at the World Championships for juniors, without any specific training. To set results in time trials as an elite you do need to train for it and that is something I want to work on in the future. When you want to set results in stage races it’s important to ride a decent time trial. But first I want to have a good winter and build up a good basic condition. In January I will probably ride some cyclo-crosses or beach races to be completely in shape for the spring, because in the spring races I want to set good performances.”

Photo: Krist Vanmelle