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“For the first time, Jürgen [Roelandts] and I went on a holiday together. My girlfriend is the sister of Jürgen so we already spent some time together during the year, but a holiday trip is a first timer."











15.11.2015 @ 06:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a long season travelling from hotel to hotel, racing in different countries and meanwhile winning forty times, the riders and staff members of Lotto Soudal needed a holiday. After a busy season, rest was welcome. Both riders and crew members had some days off and went to sunnier places. The Lotto Soudal website posted holiday stories of Bart De Clercq, Marcel Sieberg, Frederik Willems and Jens Debusschere.


The holiday destination of…
Jens Debusschere: Surfing in Portugal

“For the first time, Jürgen [Roelandts] and I went on a holiday together. My girlfriend is the sister of Jürgen so we already spent some time together during the year, but a holiday trip is a first timer. Given that we already went to Portugal on training camps, we already knew the area a bit. Surprisingly, the first two days of our stay it rained; there even were floods in the region. Luckily, it cleared up after two days and then the temperatures were between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. We stayed in the most extreme point of Europe, southwest Portugal. A beautiful region where it is nice weather most of the time, except the first days of our holiday.


“We know the Algarve from cycling. The previous years, we came here to train during the winter period and also the Volta ao Algarve is held in this region. Because of that, we took our bike with us. Not to do some serious training rides, but from a logistic point of view it’s good that the bikes stay here if we want to come over for a training camp, since we stay at the same location every time we come to Portugal. If we plan a training week, we don’t need to take into account the transport of our bikes. After the Volta ao Algarve, our bikes go into the truck of the team, back to Belgium.


“The south coast of Portugal is known as a surfing paradise. There are a lot of surfing schools and the wild waves give surfers the opportunity to let off some steam. We also stood two afternoons on a surfboard. We aren’t experienced surfers, but we try to practise our surfing skills every holiday. Also my girlfriend Kelly and Jürgen surfed along. We don’t get further than standing up and surfing in a straight line, but that isn’t a shame. It’s difficult to learn and requires a lot of technique, you don’t learn to surf in one day. It’s also a dangerous sport, because the waves in Portugal can be quite rough. We don’t want to go home with a broken leg, so we’re careful.


“During a holiday, I like to be active. A holiday at the pool isn’t my thing, even though my girlfriend wouldn’t have a problem with that. After two days, I’m fed up with it and need some activity. Therefore, we regularly visit the cities and small villages in the neighbourhood or make a boat trip. During a holiday week, we do stuff that we can’t do during the cycling season. For example, take our time to go out and enjoy a nice dinner and a bottle of wine. A holiday is to relax and enjoy, therefore our week in Portugal was a big success.”


The holiday destination of…
Bart De Clercq: Relax in Crete

“Every year, my wife (Sofie De Vuyst, who becomes a Lotto Soudal Lady next season) and I search for a new holiday destination. We always try to visit new places. The past years, we already made some trips to Tenerife and Lanzarote. For us, a good holiday destination needs to have the possibility to do some activities and has to have peaceful and nice surroundings.


“We prefer some adventure to lying on the beach all day. We don’t like calm holidays; there has to be some action. This year, we chose to go to Crete. We stayed not far from the capital Heraklion, near the coast. It was our first time at Crete, a successful acquaintance.”

“We rented a car and explored the region, visited the nearby villages and enjoyed the beautiful views. The hilly region was ideal for hiking. The rougher and smaller the hiking trails, the better! For me, these hiking tours in the pristine nature are the ultimate way to relax. We walked for hours in the hills and the beautiful views where the icing on the cake.


“With an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, we couldn’t complain. Regularly, we swam in the pool and played tennis. Also the running shoes were taken out of the suitcase. In brief, it was a nice and active holiday. The batteries are charged to start the preparation towards 2016!”


The holiday destination of…
Frederik Willems: Staying by the pool in Tenerife

“It’s a tradition since my career as a cyclist to go on holiday during the autumn break. Even tough I’m a sports director now, it’s still not easy to take a week off during the cycling season. Now that the season has come to an end, we can take it easy. The autumn break is ideal to go on holiday, both my wife and daughter have a week off.


“Usually, we search a holiday destination on the Canary Islands. We already went to Gran Canaria and Tenerife. It’s not easy to find a place where there are high temperatures in November. Because of that, we chose certainty and flew to Tenerife. It was already some years ago that we went there, but it was magnificent once again. With temperatures between 26 and 28 degrees Celsius, it was heavenly sunbathing at the poolside.


“It’s the only week during the year that I absolutely don’t do a thing. I prefer lying at the poolside for the whole day, with a good book in one hand and a fresh drink in the other. We didn’t do active things except for a beach walk or a swim with our daughter. That’s what I like the most about a holiday; you don’t have to do anything, just enjoy the rest.


“Last week was the first time I talked to the riders after their rest period. Every sports director is the contact person for a group of riders that he follows and assists when necessary. I already had a first talk over the phone with each of them to hear if everything was fine and what they will do the next weeks. At the end of this month the medical screening and teambuilding are scheduled. After that, it will go fast. The first training camp will be held the second week of December and one month later, the season already starts. The sun in Tenerife gave me the required vitamins to go all in for the next season.”


The holiday destination of…
Marcel Sieberg: Family time in Bocholt

“This year, we don’t do go on a holiday. After the last race, I underwent nose surgery. It was the perfect time to fix my nose problems. Due to this surgery, I needed to rest for a couple of weeks. Out of necessity, we stayed at home; but this also had its perks. There was enough time to take a rest after the season and to play with my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. I really enjoy these moments. A daytrip to the zoo was a huge success. Regularly, we do some trips nearby our house, but also the time we spend at home is enjoyable.


“The past weeks were perfect to take time to visit my family and friends. If they broadcast a football match of Borussia Dortmund, you can find me in front of the television. I’m a football fan, but not that big that I schedule my day to watch a match. Not the football but watching movies is really my ultimate way to relax. My wife reads the books and I watch the movie versions.


“During the winter period, it’s okay to eat a bit more than usual. An extra layer can be very useful during the German winter. I’m not the kind of rider that pays extreme attention to his diet, but I don’t exaggerate neither. If I can choose a “Guilty Pleasure”, I would definitely go for chocolate. Maybe I eat too much of it during this period, but I’ll train it off anyway.”



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