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Teams & Riders Lennert Van Eetvelt

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The man won UAE Tour so he deserves his own thread.

Previously on the podium of Baby Giro '22 behind Leo Hayter and ahead of Lenny Martinez. Winner of Course de la Paix U23 in '22. Winner of Alpes Isère '22 ahead of Oscar Onley. Finished 2nd in Sibiu Tour '23. He started the season strong with a win in Mallorca, and followed that up by winning UAE Tour 2024 in spectacular fashion.

Van Eetvelt has been "one to watch" for a while but not many would have expected him to win a WT stagerace that was previously won by Evenepoel, Yates, Pogacar and Roglic. Van Eetvelt has been working his way up rather patiently and is by today's standards a late bloomer. He turns 23 this summer. He thinks he hit puberty a bit later than his peers and sees that as a likely explanation. Improving year after year, last year he felt he would not be far behind if he could again improve in the off-season. He lost weight this winter (after a toncils surgery when he wasn't allowed to eat) and noticed he had not really lost any power after a few training sessions.

Initially he was more of a puncher/hilly climber (which explains his fierce kick) but gradually started focussing more on serious climbs. He thinks Ardennes classics should still suit him so he wants to see what he's capable of there as well. He also wants to start focusing on GC more, as he's really starting to enjoy it and deals with the pressure well. He was NC ITT U23 a few years ago, but has ignored his TT the past few years. He's aware he needs to pick up the slack in that regard.

He now has the ambition to do well in GT GC's (top 10, top 5, maybe podium) and is eager to follow Evenepoel's and Uijtdebroeks' examples as GC rider. First he wants to live up to his new status in 1 week stage races the coming months. Lotto chief Heulot believes he can top 10 in the Vuelta. What does CN forum think?
 
NC ITT U23 a few years ago

While it's obvious that he has neglected his TT a bit (his last U23 year he didn't train on it once, last year only 2nd part of the season when he got the new Ridley Dean), I don't believe it when he says he would lose to his 19y old self on the TT bike, his national titel was just against pretty bad competition. Not that he was bad at it ofc, I think he was also top 10 in Euro TT that year, but the whole 'Belgian champ u23' doesn't mean that much imo.

I mean he was still around 30th place in UAE, that's not THAT bad. 2nd time also he fades in a 2nd part in a TT. Lats years TDS he also had a good T1 and then completely collapsed (got sick afterwards tho), this time his 1st part pas the same as Poole, but lost quite some time in the 2nd part.
 
Forgot to mention in the OP, his contract at Lotto ends this year. At Lotto they think they can keep him because they are up to date with training concepts and nutrition, and because he is happy and money isn't everything.
While that may be true, and i think the team could support him in one week GC's (Van Gils, Moniquet, Vanhoucke etc...) I doubt that would be enough if he ever wants to aim higher than a top 10 in a GT. But i guess there is still time for that.
On the other hand, not sure which team he should go to if he doesn't stay.
 
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Ineos have been trying to sign a Belgian rider for a while with no success, just saying.
I consider him to be quite similar to riders as Pidcock and (at Trek) Skjelmose. Not sure that's a good or a bad thing. But i can imagine at Ineos they might favor a Brit in case they are close.

With the idea that he doesn't want to be racing for a leader and wants his own shot, he could go for SOQ, Ineos, Bora and LIDL-Trek.
How do you figure? You think he can ride the Tour at SQS or Bora as a leader? Or that he can get his own chances at the Giro/Vuelta without having to do some gruntwork? What he's shown at Mallorca and UAE is very promising, but we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. These were unipuerto stages, and i think a guy like Van Wilder is simply not yet peaking so soon in the season. I wouldn't just assume Van Eetvelt can leapfrog him in the hierarchy based on early season results and because he beat him by 1 second if we take boniseconds out of the equation.

Personally, i'd need to see a bit more in order to say he could go to top teams like that and assume to be a leader in a GT.
 
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Forgot to mention in the OP, his contract at Lotto ends this year. At Lotto they think they can keep him because they are up to date with training concepts and nutrition, and because he is happy and money isn't everything.
While that may be true, and i think the team could support him in one week GC's (Van Gils, Moniquet, Vanhoucke etc...) I doubt that would be enough if he ever wants to aim higher than a top 10 in a GT. But i guess there is still time for that.
On the other hand, not sure which team he should go to if he doesn't stay.

2y extra shouldn't hurt him. He can do his thing and already ride the Tour (which would be hard in a top team). Yes IF he keeps progressing and shows he can actually aim for a top 3 or so in a GT Lotto simply doesn't have the money to support him. Mainly because they can't pay for GT standard doms for him and their TT setup will probably never be on par with that of UAE for example. But as long as he isn't at that level your team doesn't have to carry the race. It's not like he's gonna be in a leader jersey after a TT like Remco.

We still have to see if he can ever get to that level (I have some doubts), for now going to one of the superteams would just mean getting some chances in races like UAE Tour, but probably be a domestique in a lot of the big races. Or it has to be Trek or Ineos maybe.

Anyways, Lotto was close to extending him. There have been talks for a few months now. No agreement yet, but it was going in the right direction. But that was before UAE Tour ofcourse, he will be able to ask for more money now and he will be getting better offers.

His own words about it tho:
"I'm not really thinking about it. I'm super happy at the team right now, I get a lot of chances. So for me this can take a while longer" (last sentence is a literal translation, he basically is saying he's fine with staying for now).

Anyways we'll see. I've always said it. If you're a actual GC prospect with GT ambitions I understand why you would leave a team like Lotto (even tho I don't think it's good for the sport at all), it's a completely different story to De Lie, Vermeersch or Van Gils (who hasn''t made up his mind).

EDIT: for the Dutch speaking people:


Here is the podcast where Lennert himself, his team manager Van de Wouwer and also José De Cauwer talk about his UAE win. With the last 1'30 or so about his expriring contract.
 
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