Jan Bakelants; a star of the cycling world. A Tour de France stage winner and a rider who has spent two days in the coveted yellow jersey, Jan hit rock bottom in 2017 after crashing at Il Lombardia, the Belgian broke four vertebrae. Suddenly, his life was in danger, let alone his professional cycling career.
Jan looks back on the last two years with a sense of profound pain and grief. Now he is ready to excel once again with a team that suits his outlook: “They ride as a team, they fight for each other and everyone is happy for the guy that finishes the job. Team Sunweb looks like a bunch of good friends and you can see that in how well they do in team time trials. They excel in this discipline because team camaraderie is at their heart.
And while the 32-year-old is aware he will be one of the older members of what is one of the youngest WorldTour teams on average, he doesn’t plan to be the “grandad nagging in the corner,” but instead hopes to impart some of his knowledge, experience, and mistakes to the younger riders.
Jan, who describes himself as an all-rounder, hopes to find some form once again time-trialling as well as targeting the hilly Classics such as Amstel Gold and Liege Bastogne Liege.
Away from cycling he has two big passions – his quest to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough bread, and to become a beekeeper, which he is currently training towards.
He is an epicurean, a lover of fine wine and food, and loves hiking with his wife and two children.