The Lotto Soudal Ladies welcome Lone Meertens in 2020
The 21-year-old quit triathlon and started cycling two years ago.
Chantal Hoffmann ended her cycling career last Tuesday. The Tour of Guangxi (1.WWT) was her last race. The Luxembourgish rider, who turns 32 the day after tomorrow, wore the Lotto Soudal shirt six seasons. On 6 October she was part of the squad that won the Belgian Team Time Trial Championships in Borlo. Afterwards, she got a surprise party. We have some questions for Chantal now that she’s retired from cycling.
When and why did you decide to retire from cycling?
Chantal Hoffmann: “I had decided to retire, before the beginning of the season. I always wanted to stop at a moment that I still loved cycling and not once it had become a burden. Last year I was already doubting if I should continue racing, but I wasn’t ready yet to take the decision to stop. Now I was. I combined cycling with a part-time job and it became quite hard to get recovery in between. And the financial part played a role too.”
Chantal Hoffmann: “That’s a good question. I’m not really sure yet. The past weeks were quite busy and now I’m just enjoying my holiday and clearing my head. I will continue to work as a physio and I will definitely remain active in cycling, because I love this sport too much. But there are no concrete plans yet.”
What are your three best memories as a rider?
Chantal Hoffmann: “Definitely the Giro of 2014 when our team won three stages with Emma Pooley. The Giro of 2015 is another great memory, because we had really good fun again and we also achieved good results. And then there’s the Trophée d’Or of 2016 where Elise Delzenne won the GC. And I would like to add a fourth one: that’s my participation in the Olympics of 2016 in Rio.
The gathering after the Belgian Championships was a real surprise.
How do you look back on your career in general?
Chantal Hoffmann: “I would say I’m satisfied. I never expected to get so far. I don’t have any regrets. You cannot plan everything and things happen for a reason or you come out stronger. I had six amazing years with Lotto Soudal and there are so many unforgettable memories. It’s like a second family for me. I’m so grateful for these years. I’ve met so many amazing people who have become friends. I’m happy to have been so lucky to be part of this team.”
How was the surprise party?
Chantal Hoffmann: “The gathering after the Belgian Team Time Trial championships was a big surprise. I was actually sick and I didn’t want to race that day. But Liesbet De Vocht told me I needed to start anyway. It became a great day that I’ll always remember. I hadn’t expected it at all. I’m so grateful to Liesbet for organizing this! Some of my best friends had come to Borlo, which made me emotional. And our victory made it even sweeter!”
How was the last race in China?
Chantal Hoffmann: “The last race in China was a lot of fun and we had a great time. There was the UCI gala afterwards and later on we continued to party. It was wonderful. Both goodbyes were emotional. Belgium because I was so surprised to see all those people and China because it really was the last race. It was by the end of September, the beginning of October that I realized my career was almost done. Having my dad at the Lotto Belgium Tour was also emotional, because he was by far my biggest fan. I had people I loved around me in China too, including my boyfriend who waited for me at the finish. I really couldn’t have asked for more. Now I am just very grateful for all those years in the peloton.”
Photo: Photo News