Fien Masure, part of the AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step development team since January 2021 has extended her contract and will continue to compete in the colours of the team in 2024. Fien’s journey has been one of setbacks and recovery, with the team supporting her back to both fitness and success as a team player.
Of her signing, Fien said, “I am tremendously relieved to have the opportunity to ride for this team for another year. My transition from junior to U23 two years ago didn’t go as planned. Those were two years with few highlights and many setbacks. In my first race, I had a serious crash and broke my jaw in multiple places. It was months before I could ride without pain, and by then, the season was almost over. Despite the setbacks, I managed to finish my season on a positive note.
The last races went well, and I surprised myself a few times. I was eagerly looking forward to the 2023 season, but unfortunately, it turned out to be just as challenging as my first year. Since my second race of the season, I haven’t been able to ride without pain. Some races were more painful than others. After numerous visits to physiotherapists, osteopaths, and bike fitters, they discovered in September that I have a vascular condition. These two difficult seasons led to doubts and insecurities within myself. However, despite the setbacks, the team has a lot of confidence in me and wanted to keep me on board for the next season. So, I am very grateful for this opportunity.
Over the past year, I have received a lot of support and help from the team, which has been immensely valuable to me. While every day has its ups and downs, I have experienced some great moments within the team, and the atmosphere is positive. This year has not been easy for me personally due to frequent issues during races, and for months, we couldn’t find the cause, which was mentally challenging. The extensive support from the coach, doctor, physiotherapist, caregivers, team management, mechanics, and others within the team has truly made a difference, and I am incredibly grateful to them for this season. Additionally, I highly appreciate the team’s consideration for balancing cycling and studying, which is crucial for me.
My primary goal is to return to pain-free racing and fully enjoy it. I have a vascular surgery scheduled soon, and while the exact outcome is uncertain, there is a high chance that a significant procedure will be necessary, followed by an extended rehabilitation period. Despite this challenge, I remain optimistic and confident. Simultaneously, I am aiming to improve tactically since I personally believe there is still room for growth in that aspect. Finally, my goal is to become physically stronger and push my own boundaries.
Despite the setbacks, I am proud to have strengthened my determination. This year has been tough, but I have always given my best, both for myself and the team. I have often been part of breakaways, despite the challenges I faced, and sometimes I had to let go, even though I still felt physically fine. These are the ups and downs of the sport, and I have frequently assisted the team where I could. Consequently, I consider myself a true team player.
It is challenging for me to pinpoint specific races or challenges that I am eagerly looking forward to, as my experiences over the past years have taught me not to plan too far ahead, given how quickly circumstances can change. Nevertheless, I am excited about the opportunity to participate in larger races. Next year is planned to combine certain races where both U23 and elite riders will compete together, and I find that to be an exciting challenge.