Winner of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race this year, the experienced Belgian talked of life in lockdown and the team’s first gathering since January.

I’ve had a quiet time at home in the past months since the season came to a halt and I really appreciated all those moments spent with the family. Of course, it wasn’t the same without racing, without being with my teammates, but getting to spend so much time at home at a time when I would have normally travelled from one race to another was special, especially in these hard and strange months. The weather was luckily good in Belgium, so we could just spend time outside, playing on the trampoline and doing all kinds of relaxing stuff.

Other than that, I took part in the Digital Swiss 5 – which was so hard and different from what we’re used to – and tried to stay in shape by taking my Specialized out for a spin on a daily basis. I met Remco for a ride in the Ardennes and later also Tim and Stijn, with the latter going on my longest ride since this enforced break, 180 kilometers. I also got to watch “Vikings”. I know, I know, I’m a bit late to the party, but I’m glad that I could finally tick it off my list.

Seeing my teammates this week for our short training camp gave me confidence that things are on the right track. Ok, we’re still more than a month from the restart of the season, but being back together and catching up after the lockdown and everything that has happened was refreshing and I think it gave us all a new incentive for when the racing will begin again. The calendar is very crowded, as you all know, so mental and physical freshness will be key from August onwards, but we have confidence in our collective strength and are prepared to give our best so we can return to winning ways.

 

Photo credit: ©Wout Beel

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