This week (17/02 – 19/02) the first Track World Cup of 2017 is scheduled in Cali. Four Lotto Soudal Ladies are in Colombia. The Belgians Annelies Dom, Lotte Kopecky and Kaat Van der Meulen are participating in the team pursuit together with Gilke Croket. They will have to compete against the French team with Elise Delzenne. The team pursuit starts on Saturday with the qualifications and on Sunday there is the battle for the medals. Belgium also selected Kaat Van der Meulen for the scratch which is scheduled on Saturday. On Friday, Lotte Kopecky participates in the omnium and on Sunday, in the points race. Normally, Elise Delzenne will also ride the points race.

Last year, Elise Delzenne had a lot of bad luck during the first part of the season. In March, she crashed during training previous to the Track World Championships and while riding the points race, she crashed again. Tests showed that she had suffered a fracture of the pelvis and she had broken several ribs. She was out of action for more than a month and a half. By the national championship at the end of June she was back in shape but two punctures in the finale of the road race, kept her from winning the title. Not being selected for the Olympics was another disappointment.

However, there were also a lot of beautiful moments last season. Elise Delzenne finished on the podium of the Morbihan Classic, the GP de Plumelec-Morbihan and Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik. She ended up as sixth in the overall classification of the Auensteiner Radsporttage and third in the BeNe Ladies Tour. The highlight was winning the Trophée D’Or in her homeland end of August, where she also won the opening time trial. Now there is a new season with new opportunities, on the road as well as on the track. Starting with the World Cup in Cali.

Elise Delzenne: “With the French national team we want to keep on improving our chrono in the team pursuit. At the World Cup in Glasgow early November, we took bronze with a decent time: 4’26”. At the moment the atmosphere and the dynamic in our team is good. We want to qualify for the World Championships in Hong Kong in April. It would be great to end in the top three of a World Cup again, whether now in Cali or later this month in LA.”

“The points race is my favorite discipline on the track. I don’t want to make the same mistakes as in the past, particularly concerning my position during the race. I must have more confidence during the race. I have no fear, even not after my nasty crash of last year. When I do the same exercise as when I fell, it reminds me of that crash but then I try to focus on something else as quickly as possible.”

“I can’t choose between the track and the road. During winter, it is very convenient because then I can train on the track in Roubaix or in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. The track is complementary to the road. Racing on the track improves one’s speed and power. I am satisfied that Lotto Soudal gives me the opportunity to combine both and that I have a say in my programme. It is nice that besides Lotte, three other track riders have joined the team: Annelies Dom, Trine Schmidt and Kaat Van der Meulen. I will already run into three of them in Cali.”