Haunted by a bad luck, Zico Waeytens failed to achieve results matching his real potential in the spring campaign last year, but nonetheless stepped up to the WorldTour level by signing contract with Giant-Alpecin. The 23-year old Belgian returns to the Flemish one-day races at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, ready to prove himself as highly promising classics specialist and ambitiously targeting the top 10 in the event.
Waeytens admitted that a transition between his former Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise team and Giant-Alpecin brought many changes, especially in regards to pre-season preparations. He reported, though, that everything went smoothly and more professional approach to training has already affected his condition in a positive way.
„My preparation has been a little bit different to previous years under the guidance of the performance team, but it has felt good. I really enjoyed the training camps, we have a lot of fun there in Cambrils, and it’s all nice guys in the team. But we have worked very hard as well to start the season in good shape,” the 23-year old Belgian told Giant-Alpecin official website.
„Everything has been working well for me – I speak with the coaches and my trainer on the team a lot about my program and training plan and everything is very controlled. We have worked together to aim to be in good shape at the races that suit me the best, and to use my strengths where we can.”
Entering the WorldTour ranks not only gave him an access to better equipment and training methods, but immediatelly earned him bigger respect of fellow riders and press. Even though the chance comes along with more pressire lying on his shoulders, young classics specialist seems to handle such responsibility well.
„I get more and more respect from the press and other riders. But there’s also a little bit more pressure on the shoulders because we have winners in the team and I want do a good job so that they can win “more easily”.”
Waeytens confirmed his ability to race hard on the cobbles in cold and rainly last year's edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, finishing the race in 15th place. Returning to the Belgian season's opening event, the 23-year old Giant rider hopes to improve on that result and believes in his chances to make it into the top 10. At least.
„Last year I was 15th, and now the people in Belgium expect me to be very close in this race. Now it’s up to me to do as well as possible. I hope to ride a strong final with the team, and I would like to be in the top 10, but I hope that together we can get a place on the podium!”
Young Belgian revealed a mentality of a true champion, confessing that only big events allow him to reach a high motivation and thus perform better, especially in front of the home crowd.
„I live for the big races, always feeling stronger and more motivated. The parcours are special, but also the fans here make it super special,” Giant-Alpecin rider said of the Flemish classics.
|23.04: EPZ Omloop van Borsele - General cl...|
|23.04: EPZ Omloop van Borsele - 3. stage|
|23.04: Tour of Mersin - Team classificatio...|
|23.04: Tour of Mersin - Mountains classifi...|
|23.04: Tour of Mersin - Point classificati...|
|23.04: Tour of Mersin - General classifica...|
|23.04: Tour of Mersin - 4. stage|
|23.04: 10° Tr. Città di S. Vendemiano - 57...|
|23.04: Asmara Circuit|
|23.04: Rutland - Melton Cicle Classic|
|25.04: GP della Liberazione PINK|
|25.04: Gran Premio della Liberazione|
|26.04: VTS Tømrer-Snedker TT Cup afd 1.|
|26.04 - 28.04: Tour of Zhoushan Island (Sheng...|
|28.04: Rosh Haayin XCO|
|28.04: General classification tilmelding Ø...|
|28.04: GP Himmerland Rundt|
|22.04 - 29.04: Tour du Sénégal|
|29.04: Øresunds Cup 1. afdeling|
|29.04: Beograd - Banjaluka I|
34 years | today
|David VAN EERD|
27 years | today
36 years | today
30 years | today
|Seok Jin JOO|
28 years | today