At the national time trial championships in Belgium, Luca Vierstraete and Febe Jooris added two wins, and more importantly, two beautiful national jerseys to Team AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step’s impressive total. The nationals took place in Waregem where AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step juniors Luca, Elle Heremans, Nanoi Van Wettere and Lore De Schepper raced one lap of 11.5 kilometres.
“The lap was flat,” said sports director Christian Kos. “It wasn’t super technical but there were a few turns. The day started with some rain, but when the time trials started it was dry. There was one flyover and that was all the elevation. In the afternoon, the wind picked up making it harder.”
The juniors were first off the ramp and, with a time of 16 minutes and 25 seconds, Luca Vierstraete, who is only 16 years young, came out on top.
“It was a good course, but there were some tricky turns,” Luca said. “I did those turns well thanks to the instructions of Christian, so that felt good. He was a big help. There was a bit of wind and that suited me. Me and my trainer prepared well for the championship, but I crashed in Borsele last week, so I didn’t have a good week. After the recon yesterday I became more confident. I am happy with this win.”
Later that day, the championship for the U23 riders started on the same course. Febe Jooris, Marthe Goossens and Jade Linthoudt did two laps with a total of 23 kilometres. Febe, only 18 years old, beat the competition to take her first U23 title. Marthe joined her on the podium in second place.
“This is very cool to do for the fifth time in a row,” said Febe. “The preparations went very well. I was able to test myself in Borsele last week and that was reassuring. The course wasn’t that challenging so the differences weren’t big, but big enough. I was happy that everyone had the same conditions to ride and that there was some sun again. This was one of the important goals and I ticked it off and that feels good. It is my fifth time trial title in a row and that is very nice.”
Marthe joined her teammate on the podium for an unexpected silver medal. Jade finished in sixth place in Waregem.
“For me it was a nice lap with some corners, but especially longer stretches to make a lot of speed. This bike is a machine and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to ride such a fancy bike so fast,” said Marthe proudly. “Luckily there was sun and it was nice to see it. My preparation was not ideal because I just came out of the rest period. This weekend I rode Elsy Jacobs so I didn’t expect to finish second at all. That was a nice surprise.”