Q: Favourite race and why? (@Cycling_mad1 on Twitter)
A: My favourite race is Tour of Flanders, for multiple reasons. The most important reason is that I grew up with the race. I lived nearby the parcours and went there on the road with my bike as a little child. We also watched the race every year, either on television or along the parcours, since I was like six years old. I think it’s really the race that a lot of the Flemish guys who start cycling want to do and do well in.
Q: Would you skip some of the Flanders classics if that would improve your performance and chances in stage races/Grand Tours? (@JoostSchreurs on Twitter)
A: This is a good question! I think I would if I really felt that I could make a step forward in stage races by doing that. For sure it is also a decision you make with the support of the team and it’s not one you make on your own. It’s not the right moment just now for me but maybe one day: never say never.
Q: Who was your favourite rider when you were young? (@johanpaarvaag on Instagram)
A: This is a difficult one for me to answer, I was a fan of every professional rider and I didn’t have one idol in particular! If I have to choose someone then I would say Tom Boonen. He was the young kid on the block when I started watching cycling and racing my bike, and when I was eight years old in 2002 he finished third in Paris-Roubaix. I think that’s one of my long lasting memories I have from my younger cycling years. He grew into a big rider from the moment I started watching races and it was special for me to be able to do some races with him in the earlier part of my career, like the Worlds with him and the Belgian national team.
Q: What do you like about the Classics races? (@kitooo_ryo_901 on Instagram)
A: I really like the atmosphere, the adrenaline you have going into the climb and fighting for your position. Then when the race gets tough guys are dropping around you. It’s just like a big battle with a lot of chaos, where you need to try and find a structure in it and try to read the outcome of the race. The thing I really love the most is the “heroic” part where it’s a race of 260 kilometres, a really long and hard day in the saddle and it’s the style of racing that I like.
Q: How do you become a great rider? Any advice? (@milanverschaeve123 on Instagram)
A: This is a difficult one but I think for every rider it’s important to believe in yourself and work hard. It’s a bit of a cliché but I also think it’s the truth. The biggest advice I would give is to take pleasure in what you do. When you’re young it’s still a long way to the top and if you’re not enjoying it then it’s difficult to keep working consistently. I would say work hard, believe in yourself and on top of all just enjoy riding – that’s the most important thing.