25 February, 2024

Lennert Van Eetvelt wins and gets the overall victory at the UAE Tour.

Like birds flying in formation, choreographed like the most beautiful ballet, like commanded by the strictest of generals, the beauty of echelons hypnotizes, it fascinates as we contemplate them from the air.
Down to Earth, the road seems unreal, surrounded by sand and barren rock it is magnificent, built by men arrogantly defying nature. But the riders do not necessarily appreciate the beauty of their own choreography.

It is the third stage. The wind in the first part, absolutely flat, is hardly bearable, hecticity and tension make the first 140 kilometers to Jebel Jais feel eternal.

 

A Belgian awaits his turn, Lennert Van Eetvelt has not stopped visualizing the last –the only– climb of the stage and manages to stay ahead the whole race and get to the last part with the best. Lennert trusts his legs, he knows he’s fast sprinting uphill. And that’s how he does it, he fights till the very end for an amazing third place and gets on the podium in the third stage in the UAE.

 

His third place in a tour with such a lineup is quite good news for the team, but for the very young Belgian it doesn’t feel enough. He regrets having waited too long in Jebel Jais. It will not happen again.

February 25, final stage, only a few seconds separate him from Ben O’Connor, but the terrible wind, omnipresent in this tour, makes things difficult again and leaves our rider in a second group. Everything seems lost, it seems like there’s nothing else to do today.

But if there’s something we learnt is that Lennert Van Eetvelt does fight, that he’s really confident for his age, that he holds on till the very end with the best and knows how to finish.

Last climb, 11 kilometers through wide-ranging hairpins, 9% average. A small group of less than ten men is in the lead. The GC leader is among them, Van Eekvelt is there too.

He knows it is his moment, this is his terrain, he’s chosen the new Orca keeping in mind he will need the best climber to date. A few riders attack, once, twice; the best young rider reacts. He has the legs, he has the confidence. He learnt. He doesn’t wait. 2 km to the finish line:

“This morning everyone was telling me to give everything, try and go for GC. I was like let’s stay realistic, […] But I just went for all or nothing. On Wednesday at Jebel Jais I was disappointed that I waited too much so today I went early enough. Winning GC, even if it’s I’m so happy. This winter I knew I had made big improvements. Now I hope this is the beginning of something big”.

While many were looking at the cobbles, tradition and the whims of the weather, a Belgian was making greatness in a different part of the world.

Orca y Orca Aero

Lennert Van Eetvelt has chosen the Orca Aero for most of the UAE Tour and the new Orca to finish off this last stage on a slightly longer and steeper climb. The new Orca Orca isn’t just light. It is 6.7kg of climbing technology designed to change how you reach the top. Ask Lennert, please ask him.

Now it is time to leave the desert, the bare rock, and the endless plains. Lotto-Dstny comes back home, where part of the team is playing already where they used to play when they were kids.

 

As our hero says, we hope this is the beginning of something big. Of something very big, Lennert, of something very big.