27 February, 2024

An Opening Weekend full of emotions for Lotto-Dstny

With all due respect, up to this point in the year the races have been a bit like warm-ups, the dealing of cards, the aperitif. However, Belgians have been aware for ages that the real season starts now.

The years go by but the romance remains. There’s nothing compared to the feeling of being part of this spectacle. Nothing, nothing is the same as arriving in Ghent, Kortrijk, Liege or Antwerp and finding adults, children, families and dozens of caravans parked for days. If any mortal can’t help but feel his heart fluttered when caught up in this affair, can we even imagine what it means for someone born in one of these dark brick houses?

 

Let’s think of Lotto-Dstny, the oldest pro team in the peloton, absolutely Belgian. It’s all very emotional; many of these roads are their training grounds, the way home, only they know what it feels like.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad has the immense honor of opening the season. Every year, all eyes are on ‘t Kuipe, the velodrome in Ghent. Everyone makes his bets.

Omloop didn’t disappoint: it was over 130 km of pure racing, non-stop. In fact, this Saturday’s was the fastest OHN of all time: 44 km/h, on windy and muddy roads, pure Flanders.

 

The Lotto squad didn’t disappoint either; the blue and red colors painted the front group from start to finish. Arnaud De Lie showed off his legs and kept up with the best throughout the race. Along with Jasper De Buyst, he joined the breakaway very early on, until they reached the Wolvenberg, which caused another significant selection. Arnaud managed to overcome it along with only five other riders. Attacks followed one after another, relentless. Meanwhile, part of the group they had left behind managed to catch up.

With less than 10 kilometers to go, Tratnik and Politt finally launched a successful attack. But Lotto did a wonderful job and managed to bring Arnaud back to the small group that would sprint for victory. In the end, a tenth-place finish that felt like too little for him.

“It was a super hard race and I did my best, but it was difficult with three guys of Visma. I came to win, not for a top 10 result, but I gave my all. I felt really good today, so I’m happy about the feeling. […] it’s a good sign towards Samyn on Tuesday and Paris-Nice”.

Four other riders finished among the top 40 after being very active throughout the entire race, demonstrating that they have a lot left to give this year.

 

In Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, we could also watch a great performance from Lotto; De Buyst stayed at the front for a good part of the day and then remained in a second group less than 3 minutes behind the race leaders; he never gave up.

They couldn’t finish off either of the two days, but they turned over some cards, and it’s clear that this team has some good ones.

Orca Aero

And just as an artist is nothing without a good supporting cast, the team has raced and will race the rest of the spring with Orca Aero. They adore it. Both on flat terrain and climbs the bike is fast, responsive and powerful. A winner.

Meanwhile, the Lotto-Dstny women also kicked off their Classics season this weekend. Thalita de Jong entered Ninove with a small group that included names like Vollering or Niewiadoma. It’s the beginning of a very exciting season for them and for those who come next: Joshua Giddings won Brussels-Opwijk with the Devo Team.

 

We can say that spring starts here. Racing came home in Flanders.