ProTeam Staff Stories – soigneur Bram De Meulenaere: "Seeing all that support for my dad made me want to become a soigneur"

Behind every strong cyclist stands an equally strong team. In our new series 'Staff Stories', we would like to introduce the people who ensure that Lotto Dstny runs like a well-oiled machine every day. Today: soigneur Bram.
General 11 April 2024

Started his third year with Lotto Dstny, the 26-year-old Bram De Meulenaere from Aalter has a huge passion for cycling. It all started when he was little, growing up with his dad who was a soigneur at Jayco AlUla. "I studied electromechanics and at school they recommended me to do a bachelor's degree and become a mechanic in cycling. My dad became sick due to cancer, he was working as a soigneur at Jayco AlUla back then and a lot of riders came by to visit him. I immediately felt that as a soigneur you have a very special bond with a rider, at that moment I knew that I wanted to become a soigneur. When I was still studying, I already helped out during the classics at Jayco. I think I was 18 years old when I did my first opening weekend."

"I took photos of everything when I went to the races with my dad. I was in the truck and wanted to have a photo of myself, or I helped making bottles. The first time I gave a bottle was to Jens Keukeleire, during the Belgian Championships, I think in 2012. My dad was there for Jens and he wanted two bottle options so there I gave my first bottle."

Finishing studies for a plan B

"During my bachelor's degree I followed a soigneur's study. My dad died in 2014, and his boss said that I could always count on them. It was a very difficult period, but we got a lot of support, also from the people of his team. Still now there are several people working there who worked with my dad and it's special to find them along the roads or at the finish. A couple of people even promised my dad to take care of me."

"It was still very important to have a bachelor's degree, just to have a plan B as working in cycling is very uncertain. If the sponsors decide to stop, then you can also lose your job. After I finished my studies, I started my career within women's cycling, at Jayco Allula, the same team my dad worked for. I was there for two years. Suddenly there was this opportunity to work in men's cycling, within Lotto Dstny. I took the chance and I'm super happy I did. I miss the international character, as you have a lot of different cultures coming together for the same passion. Here you look to the races from a Belgian perspective, which is also nice."

"The most beautiful thing for me personally is when a rider wins, and you know that you also helped towards that performance. Also seeing the world while doing your job is unique. But that makes it difficult sometimes, being away from home a lot makes you miss out on certain moments with family and friends."

"I will never forget the first victory I experienced when I started working as a soigneur, with the women. Also the stage win at the Vuelta last year of Andreas Kron was nice, I am normally not that nervous at the finish but there I was. On my bucket list I still have a lot of races that I want to win, I live with hope and I am ambitious."


Photos: Facepeeters