Preview Flèche Wallonne
Mario Aerts, sports director at Lotto Soudal, talks about a race he won himself in 2002.
Dutchman Brian van Goethem will reinforce Lotto Soudal for the next two seasons. The 27-years-old cyclist comes from the procontinental team Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij and is ready to make the step towards the WordTour formation in 2019. The past seasons he was in the spotlights several times and animated the spring Classics by, amongst other, being part of a 200-kilometre-long breakaway in Ghent-Wevelgem. With his experience and capacities, Van Goethem will definitely be an asset to Lotto Soudal.
Brian van Goethem: “Being part of a WorldTour team is the highest achievable goal for every rider. So, I am definitely looking forward to next season. After having raced at a procontinental level for four years, I am ready to make the step towards the WorldTour. Certainly, if I can achieve this with one of the longest existing teams in professional cycling.
At a certain moment you must make a choice as a cyclist and that moment emerged this season. When Lotto Soudal noticed my performances, I didn’t have to think twice to take the step and move to this team.”
“I do not win a lot of races but by choosing for the attack in many races, I was able to assert myself over the past few years. This year, Ghent-Wevelgem was the biggest example. I joined the early breakaway and we were able to take a nice lead. You never know when a breakaway will end but you always try to stay as long as possible in the front and try to survive. The final of Ghent-Wevelgem was difficult with a lot of echelons and a large group who joined us, but I felt I had some force left. I tried to make the jump with two kilometres to go, knowing that I would have no chance in the sprint. Yet, I was not able to stay ahead. In hindsight it was a beautiful adventure and I am very proud of this performance.”
“With Lotto Soudal, I will be the one to chase the leaders rather than join the breakaway myself. I will certainly be able to exploit my capabilities as a racer, with the difference that it will be in service of the team. I cannot follow the big names in the final, so I will enjoy working for the team. Besides my role in the Classic races, the team can also count on me during the other races of the season. In the Tour of Belgium, for example, I got third in the time trial. But the focus is mainly on the spring. I just live above the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, relatively close to the Flemish Ardennes. I can easily go there to train, to prepare myself and to gather course knowledge.”
“I hope my experience in the peloton will be a surplus for the team. After having participated in Classic races for a few years, you know the crucial spots on a certain course and you know where you must be in the front to be able to play a role in the finale. Positioning is essential in the Classic races and I can certainly help the leaders with that. In that way, I hope and think to be an added value for the team. It will certainly be a entire new experience and the WorldTour level is obviously a higher level than I am used to, but I’m really looking forward to support the team and to make progress in a new professional environment.”