Edward Theuns: “I have big expectations for next year”
2015 saw many cyclists impress with their ride and results, and one of those who qualify for the “revelation of the season” title is Topsport Vlaanderen’s Edward Theuns. The 24-year-old from Ghent won the Ronde van Drenthe and a stage of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque, placed in eigth occasions (including Dwars door Vlaanderen and Scheldeprijs) and finished 21 times in the top 10 of one-day and stage races, each time showing his big engine, stamina, sprint and versatility, qualities which recommend him for a bright future especially in the Classics, races he dreams of winning in the future.
The results he scored have carried Edward Theuns to the top of the Europe Tour standings this season – where he enjoys a comfortable lead – and sparked interest from many World Tour teams. Eventually, the Belgian decided to accept Trek Factory Racing’s offer, where he is going to race alongside Fabian Cancellara, a three-time winner of both Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. There, Edward will be an important addition to the team’s Classics roster, where he’ll try to prove what he’s worth, and also make a name for himself by landing a big result.
With just a few weeks left until the end of the season, Edward is focused on finishing the year on a high and has every chance of doing this judging by his recent form, which recently saw him finish 8th in the Grand Prix de Fourmies. But before embarking in his last races with Topsport Vlaanderen, the talented Belgian rider took some time to talk for Cafe Roubaix about his solid year and the goals he has for 2016, when he’ll race for Trek and
– Edward, how would you rate your 2015 season?
I think this is my best season so far. I expected last year to make a step to become stronger, but I didn’t expect this step to be so big. My results and style of racing gave me confidence that I can win nice races in the future.
– What improvements do you feel you’ve made?
I’ve become stronger in general, and this was obvious in the Classics, which suit me, because I’m explosive on the small Flemish hills. My sprint is something I really discovered, I knew I was fast, but not that I could get such good results in massive sprints. Now that I know what my strong points and strong races are, I can make a selection where I want to be good. Discovering myself in different types of races is coming to an end. I know I’m not a climber, so I’m not going to try and follow other riders on long climbs. Thatss something I would’ve tried in the past.
– Which of the results you got was the most important for you and why?
My second place in Dwars Door Vlaanderen is the most important for me. I had hoped to win a race like that in my career, but I thought that moment would be much further in the future, when I’ll be older and stronger. Now it seems that I can already win this kind of races this year. I didn’t expect this.
– At the other end, is there a race which has left you disappointed?
The Monuments I did this year were a little bit disappointing, I finished both of them (ed. – Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix), which is a good evolution compared to last year. But there were some expectations from the team and other people after my good results in previous Flemish races. I think I’m not strong enough yet to be in the front at the end of those races, but maybe next year I can get further than this year. I’m convinced that it is a matter of time.
– In what other races will you go until the end of the season?
I don’t know my program for the last part of season yet. But there are still some nice races, such as Paris-Tours. The other races are in Belgium, and I hope to do as good as possible in the last month of this season.
– Looking behind on the two years spent with Topsport Vlaanderen, how was that period?
I had a really good time with the team. The atmosphere is unique, because we’re all young Flemish guys. The team gave me the chances at the right moment and supported me, and I’m very thankful of that. I learned how to race and make better decisions in the important moments. In the past I’ve spent too much energy in stupid actions on wrong moments.
– You recently signed with Trek Factory Racing. What stood behind this decision?
There were some different teams who contacted me, so I took time to make the decision, because I think it’s a very important moment in my career. Trek Factory Racing is a team with some strong riders, they have Fabian Cancellara for the Classics, and I hope I can learn some tricks for the future. Furthermore, I think Trek is a team where I can get some chances gor myself to get some results in the Spring Classics, they have a good structure in the team and I think the bikes are top level.
– What means for you to join a World Tour team? How important do you think this step will be for your development?
I was hoping to make this step at the end of this season, so I’m very happy that I achieved that goal. I think this step will make me even stronger, because I can ride big races the whole season and maybe also do a Grand Tour. I’m really looking forward to it.
– What do you hope from your first season with the team?
I hope that we can win a big Classic with the team. I want to do my best to help my teammates to win, but I also hope I can go for my own chances to win races. Riding a Grand Tour is also something I hope to do next year.
– Besides the Classics, you showed good skills also for short stage races. In the future, are you thinking about targeting also these races?
I don’t know yet. First I want to try to do as good as possible in the Classics, because I really love them. I think to win stage races, I have to work more on my time trial. But the Classics and sprints are my priority at the moment.
– What are your biggest goals for the years to come?
Winning a Classic is one of my dreams, and Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are my favourites. Winning a stage in the Tour de France is also something I dream about, because it is the biggest race in the world, with the best riders participating there.