An Interview with Gert Steegmans
Amongst the neo-pros signed at the end of 2002, Gert Steegmans now finds himself about to start the Tour Down Under for the Lotto Domo team as as his first professional race.
A very sucessful amateur career in which he won amongst others the Brussel-Opwijk and Brussel-Zepperen in 2001 and in 2002: Zesbergenprijs Harelbeke, he finally achieved his dream of making it to the pro peloton (ď05/01/2003 Happy new year!!! From the start of the year Gert is with the pros. The contract was signed last week" - from his website). The two year contract should give the classic specialist plenty of time to acclimatise to moving into the big league.
Georg Reidarsen of the Norwegian site Syklingens Verden (Cycling World) recently spoke with Gert Steegmans of Lotto-Domo before he set off for Australia.
Gert Steegmans courtesy of his website.
Georg Reidarsen: You were born in 1980 (9/3/80), and grew up in Hasselt, Belgium. When did you find out that cycling was "your" sport?
Gert Steegmans: I did a lot of other sports before I started cycling, and my brothers made me try it once. After the first time, I knew that was what I wanted to become. Why exactly, I still donít know. It just gives me a great feeling lying down in bed after a hard training. Maybe itís a little bit addictive.
GR: In 2001 you got the chance to ride as a stagiaire for Domo-Farm Frites. But, could you tell us something about the time you rode as an amateur?
GS: As an amateur I was more a classics rider, with a good sprint and a good time trial. My results were very consistent.
GR: Obviously you must have given a good impression on Domo - Farm Frites when you rode as a stagiaire since you got a contract with them. Do you know why they choose to sign a contract with you, and did you have other offers as well?
GS: I didnīt started as a Pro with Domo Farm Frites. Last year they told me to wait another year so I did and started with Lotto Domo as a Pro. Last year I drove for the youth team of Domo.
GR: Last year (your first as a pro) you won the Zesbergenprijs Harelbeke (cat. 1.5). What kind of feelings did you have when you won this race?
GS: As you read before. I was still an amateur last year so it was not so special. It was very nice but nothing more.
GR: How would you describe yourself as a rider?
GS: Iím not a climber. On good days, however, Iím capable of quite a bit, such as in sprints, time trials and classic races.
GR: At the moment you are in Australia (if Iím not mistaken) preparing for the Jacobīs Creek Tour Down Under. What are your ambitions for this event?
GS: Due to the bad weather my shape isnít super. So the Tour Down Under will be more a preparation for the rest of the season.
GR: And what do you hope to achieve in 2003?
GS: Hard to say because itīs my first year as a Pro.
GR: I have read that you respect riders like Lance Armstrong and Johan Museeuw. But, you also mentioned Claude Pauwels. Why him?
GS: I know him since my period as junior and raced in the same team as him (Domo youth). But as first year Amateur he had a real great crash. He had several bones broken and also a double open broken head. It was 14 operations and more than a year of a real hell before he raced again. I followed him as a teammate from very close and I know where he has been through. Thatís why.
GR: What about the time you are not on the bike. What do you like to do in your spare time?
GS: Iím a real internet freak. I spend a lot of my free time online. And I also like to watch sports. Rally and Formula one are my favorites.
GR: For how long do you plan to keep it going? After that, then what? Something to do with cycling perhaps?
GS: I donīt know for how long I will race. I hope as long as possible, but we will see.
GR: And after cycling?
GS: I have a degree in accounting, so I have many options left. But thatís something for the future.
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For earlier interview by Cycling4fans: Click here
"Photos (c) by Susanne & Florian Schaaf@cyclingpictures.de." http://www.cyclingpictures.de.