Gerben Thijssen makes pro debut for Lotto Soudal at GP Cerami
On Thursday 25 July, Gerben Thijssen will make his pro debut for Lotto Soudal at the GP Cerami. The 21-year-old Belgian was already part of the Lotto Soudal U23 team and will now join the WorldTour outfit.
Thijssen already obtained some major results, both as a road and as a track cyclist. He became the Belgian U23 champion last year and already won the GP Sint-Niklaas and the Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo. The Belgian took stage wins at ‘A Travers les Hauts de France’ and the Tour d’Eure-et-Loire. At only 19 years of age, the promising sprinter conquered the gold medal in the pro elimination race at the European track championships. This month, Thijssen took silver in the team pursuit at the U23 European championships in Ghent.
Gerben Thijssen: “Of course, I eagerly look forward to my first race as a pro. After the bad luck at the beginning of the season, it is important for me to make the transition now. Initially, I would already turn pro in January, but eventually I am happy with the decision to take the step only now. That way, I was able to learn some more at the U23 category and also to win some races as well, which is always good for the morale. Now, I get the chance to prove myself during two and a half years. Lotto Soudal was an obvious choice. The team always supported me really well and as a first year U23, I could already join the training camp. There never was any doubt and I think it is for me the right choice to make.”
“I will start without many expectations on Thursday; gaining experience, as much as possible, prevails. I think that I will have to prove myself in those kind of races and I hope to succeed. I prepared myself for the upcoming races with a training camp in Spain. After a period of track racing, the focus was primarily on endurance training, an essential aspect of road cycling, of course.”
“I have been a pure sprinter in the youth categories and I also hope to develop into that kind of rider in the pro ranks. To become teammates with Caleb Ewan is something I really look forward to. As an U23 rider, I always got my own chances as a sprinter and I haven’t been teammates with another really fast guy, something I regret. Now, with the pros, that will be different and I think I can learn a great deal from a rider like Ewan. The RideLondon Classic will normally be our first race together, it will for example be interesting to see how he makes his way through the peloton.”
“In any case, the focus will mainly be on the road, but I use track cycling to improve as a road cyclist and to sharpen my speed. For a sprinter, it is important to stay quick and riding on the track is my way to do so. To grow, step by step, is the goal and my ultimate dream is to become a top sprinter. Together with the necessary guidance, we will do everything to make that dream come true.”