Algemeen Florian Vermeersch starts with ambition

Florian Vermeersch rides first Gravel European and Belgian Championships
Race 27 September 2023

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