Jasper Stuyven: “Next year I’ll ride for Trek”
Belgium has some top talents coming from the U23 ranks, and one rider who caught everyone’s attention is Jasper Stuyven. Just 21 now, he showed his potential for the first time in 2009, winning the Juniors World Championships. One year later, Jasper got another important win at this age category, in Paris-Roubaix, a race that became his favourite. His qualities and strong results convinced Axel Merckx to offer him a contract at Bontrager, and the Belgian manager was fully rewarded for his trust.
In the last two seasons, Jasper Stuyven was one of the best riders in the American squad, getting wins not just in one-day races, but also in stage races, as was the case with the Volta ao Alentejo. Now, he is ready to make another step forward and race in the pro peloton, with the new Trek Team. What meant for him riding with the Bontrager team and what are his objectives as a pro? Read about it in the following interview.
– Jasper, are you satisfied after this season?
I am really satisfied about this season so far. I’ve been on the podium in every stage race I did (overall win, stage win, top 3 in the stage or best young riders jersey) and did very well in the Classics in the start of the season. The only thing I said before the season was that I would love to win Flanders U23, La Côte Picarde or Liège–Bastogne–Liège U23. I got caught in Flanders with 150m to go, so that was a bit a bummer, but sometimes you need some luck to win a race.
– Is winning the Volta ao Alentejo your biggest performance at the U23 category?
I think it really is, not only because I won it, but also because it was a great team effort all week from all my teammates. They really helped me out all week and how they rode the last day for me was pretty impressive.
– How were the two years spent at Bontrager?
I learned a lot from Axel Merckx so I’m really happy I made the decision to go to Bontrager two years ago. All the riders are friends on and off the bike and that is what makes this team very special. You’ll always do that little bit more for a friend than just a teammate.
– During those last seasons, you’ve had some very good results also in the Classics. Do you see yourself as a rider for the Spring races in the seasons to come?
I hope I can develop myself as a good Classic rider with a good sprint. I like to compare myself with Greg Van Avermaet, good Classic riders that’s also able to ride the Ardennes and have a good sprint.
– What is you biggest dream, what race would you like to win and why?
Since I’ve won Paris-Roubaix as a Junior, I’m still in love with that race. Actually, my biggest dream was winning Roubaix as Junior, U23 and Pro, but that’s not going to happen as Roubaix was cancelled this year.
– Will you go to the World Championships in Firenze?
I’m working hard to go Firenze and really hoping I’ll be part of the Belgian Team there.
– What do you think you can do on such a difficult parcours?
I think it’s a hard parcours, but not one for a pure climber. To win the Worlds, you will always need a perfect day.
– Where will we see you next year?
You’ll see me in the pro peleton, in a Trek jersey.