Algemeen Florian Vermeersch starts with ambition
Florian Vermeersch will ride the Gravel European and BK Championships on Belgian roads on Sunday. “I'm looking forward to start in a gravel race,” says the Lotto Dstny rider, “although I don't really know what to expect.”
On Sunday, October 1, the first Gravel European and BK Championships will take place in Oud-Heverlee. The course goes through the Brabantse Wouden. “A few months ago I heard about this championship and I asked the team if I could participate,” says Vermeersch, “It was no problem and I am really looking forward to take the start.”
Sunday is mainly a test for Vermeersch who wants to ride the Gravel World Championships in October in Italy as well. “Of course I want to get a good result, but this is mainly a test for myself and my equipment. It's nice to test the material and see what a race like this is like."
Vermeersch started his cycling career in cyclocross. Is it an advantage? “It's been five years since I really rode on a regular basis on that cross bike,” says he, “so the advantage is a bit gone. There are not many similarities between the two disciplines. The only advantage is that I am a bit 'used' to riding on a surface that is a bit looser and slides a bit more. Cyclocross is not like a gravel race. The last one is more of a elimination race.”
On Thursday Vermeersch will ride Circuit Franco-Belge with the team, on Sunday he has to take care of his own business. “I don’t mind. If I am unlucky in the race, I have to solve it myself and a friend will come along with some extra wheels. My mom will act as a ‘soigneur’ and give me some bottles. Unfortunately, my father (who is a mechanic in the team) is not there, he has to work with the team in the Italian races.”
Some well-known riders like Thibau Nys, Jasper Stuyven or Jan Bakelants will race as well on Sunday. “I don't know all the names yet, but I do know that many good riders will start. And some very good gravel riders from Belgium and The Netherlands will be present. I will be happy with a place in the top 10 or 15. I certainly hope to be at the front and have a great race.”
Picture: Cassandra Donne