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Dimitri Claeys will reinforce the sports direction at the end of the season

Dimitri Claeys will end his professional cycling career at the end of season 2022 in the jersey of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, before reinforcing the team of sports directors. Thus, the 35 year old Belgian rider will stay connected to the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux family, which he joined for the first time in 2016.

That year, he offered the team of Jean-François Bourlart victories in the GP Jef Scherens and a stage in the Tour de Wallonie. The classics specialist achieved the best result for the team in the Tour of Flanders, finishing ninth after a long breakaway. Before returning to the team in 2022, Claeys also won the Dunkirk Four Day (2018), the Famenne Ardenne Classic (2019) and a stage in the Tour of Croatia (2015) and finished for a second time in the top ten of the Tour of Flanders (6th in 2020). The double Belgian U23 champion finished the Tour de France (2017, 2018) twice and also the Tour of Spain (2021).

So Dimitri Claeys will swap his Cube bike for the DS car at the end of 2022 just like his teammate Kévin Van Melsen, who will respectively coach the riders of the World Team and the new Continental development team. The duo will thus follow in the footsteps of Pieter Vanspeybrouck, who made the same career transition last winter. 

« When returning to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux last winter, it felt like coming home. I’ve always kept good memories from season 2016, and even though the team is working a lot more professionally, the familiar atmosphere remained still the same. Unconsciously I knew that this was the environment in which I wanted to end my cycling career, among people I love to work with. I didn’t have plans yet, but more and more I started to feel ready for a new challenge and I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue with the team. It feels good to contribute to a project in continuous progression. »

« But before, I want to conclude 23 years as a cyclist on a high. I am very motivated to give my utmost best during the last months of my career. There have been numerous climaxes, like my five professional victories or my two national U23 titles. I also consider the times that I bounced back after setbacks as important contributions to my career. I’m thinking of the loss of our teammate Antoine Demoitié in Ghent-Wevelgem 2016. It was a particularly emotional period for the Wanty-Gobert family. A couple of days after this tragical event, I surpassed myself in the breakaway in the Tour of Flanders, this ninth place was my breakthrough in the classics. »

« As a rider I received the opportunity to accumulate a lot of experience. But it is impossible to have an overview on everything the staff organizes in the shadow to create the best possible conditions for us. I’m looking forward to discover these aspects, a new world will open up for me. I always appreciated the contact with the direction of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and I’m looking forward to grow into my new role alongside them. As a sports director, I want to be there for our riders. »

« We have at heart to offer our riders a role in our structure once they end their active cycling careers. Some were linked to our partners, in the Want You Club, and others had profiles matching with positions in our staff. Dimitri Claeys and Kévin Van Melsen will follow this path, just like Pieter Vanspeybrouck last winter. I’m happy that they accepted to reinforce the Performance cel from next season. Both men made steps in their careers together with the team, until reaching the international elite. They embody the culture and values of our structure, they know our strategy and functioning. I’m also pleased that we can reinforce the balance between the experienced members of our Performance cel and the new generation of sports directors, who were recently part of the peloton, and their modern vision. I’m convinced that this balance will bring us to highs thanks to the sharing of experience between all members of the Performance cel. »

« Step by step, we continue investing in the foundations of our project. The introduction of a Continental development team and the creation of a new generation of sports directors are the perfect illustration of our long term vision. The trajectory that Dimitri Claeys followed during his cycling career was similar to the one of our structure. I’m happy that he will reinforce our Performance cell. Not only because I’m convinced that he fits well in our coaching team, but also because he combines some interesting characteristics. His tactical intelligence, his dedication in preparing goals, his attention for young riders and his will to help them progressing are strong qualities. He acquired a rich experience within different teams and at the highest level, this will be valuable to support the riders of our World Team and to develop the young talents. »


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