Ladies Lotto Dstny Ladies: developing, taking steps and getting results

The continental development team wants to build on last year’s strategy, with again a strong focus on supporting and developing young cycling talent.
Race 24 February 2023

The Lotto Dstny Ladies team will kick off the 2023 season with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. During a training camp in Spain, the foundations were laid for the year ahead, in which the continental development team wants to build on last year’s strategy, with again a strong focus on supporting and developing young cycling talent: a unique position within women’s cycling. Also this season, the Lotto Dstny Ladies team will take on a diverse racing calendar, starting with the opening Classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (1.WWT) on Saturday and Omloop het Hageland (1.1) on Sunday.

“The past training camp was the ideal moment to lay the foundations for the upcoming season, integrate the newcomers within the team and plan for the year ahead. You could already notice that everyone is motivated and looking forward to kick off the new season”, says sports director Dirk Onghena.

“The goal is to take some steps forward again this year. The riders who stayed with the team got a year older and stronger. With several Belgian and non-Belgian reinforcements, we managed to build a balanced squad that is motivated to show themselves. And within Lotto Dstny, we have the perfect professional environment to give our riders all the opportunities to further develop. With Grace Verbeke, who will be reinforcing the team as a sports director from this year, we added a lot of experience.”

Not only the rider contingent has been strengthened, also the Lotto Dstny Ladies staff was reinforced with Grace Verbeke. The Belgian former rider was a part of the Lotto Ladies Team for several years. Now, Verbeke opts for a challenge as sports director at the team she was part of when she won the Tour of Flanders in 2010.

“I didn’t need much time to think about joining this interesting project”, says Grace Verbeke. “This team plays a crucial role within women’s cycling, in which development teams hardly exist. At the time, I could develop myself into a top-level rider with the support of the National Lottery and this special bond makes me want to share my experience with Lotto Dstny now. Together with Dirk Onghena, I will be taking on the job of sports director, but my role will be much more than that. Dirk and I will act as a tandem. We want to be there for the riders before, during and after the race and that way getting the biggest potential out of this group.”

“I got a really good first impression at the training camp. It is a group of riders that sticks together really well, you can feel the enthusiasm and there is the willingness and commitment to take some steps forward. You immediately felt the drive during training but of course racing is still something different. The ambition is to show us in the final, be up there in sprints, be part of breakaways in races where the field does not consist of top-level riders. In short, we aim to progress as much as possible. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is immediately a race on WorldTour level and in such races, it will be the case of learning as much as possible towards the next races’, concludes Grace Verbeke.

Images: Facepeeters.

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