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Young talents De Pooter & Mihkels show themselves

Young riders Dries De Pooter and Madis Mihkels, who will join Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux as trainees this summer before turning pro, distinguished themselves in the beginning of 2022 in the colors of their respective teams Hagens Berman Axeon and Team Ampler – Tartu2024.  

Belgian rider De Pooter (19) finished tenth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 in April. He also concluded the Circuit des Ardennes (12th) and the Tour de Bretagne (15th) in the top 15 and finished seven times in the top ten in both sprint and hilly races.

Estonian rider Mihkels (18), who took fourteenth place in Ghent-Wevelgem U23, finished nine times in the top ten, for example a second place in the Tour du Loir et Cher which he concluded in sixth place. The bronze medallist at the Junior World Championships In Leuven started his national tour this Thursday with a fifth place in the prologue through the streets of Talinn.

« Thanks to the close contacts with the direction of the World Team and the riders since my period as a trainee last summer, I feel already very familiar with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. During this period as a trainee, I realized that the World Tour was a big step for an 18 year old. Thanks to the experience I acquired as a trainee and during the most prestigious U23 races included in my programme this spring, I'm convinced that my preparation for this important step is ideal. »    « The sports direction follows my evolution closely and they came to several races, which gives me a lot of confidence. I learn a lot from their advice, for example in terms of nutrition during stage races. The last couple of weeks my efforts were rewarded with good results and I hope that I can benefit from my good form for a long time now to win a prestigious race. Paris-Roubaix was one of my main goals this spring, but unfortunately the event was again not organized for my category this year. It is a dream to race on those famous cobbles one day and to make the colors of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux shine, just like my future teammates did last month. Their success motivates me a lot to follow in their footsteps and confirms that I’ve chosen the right team! »

« The performances of my future teammates from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux are pure class and I can’t wait to join them this summer! I can be satisfied about my first steps as an U23 rider in the continental circuit. I already noticed to what extent this experience will be important for my step up to the pro ranks. In the junior category I was often among the strongest riders and I didn’t have to think about tactics. Now, a lot more comes into play and the preparation has to be meticulous. » « Each race I make progression on a tactical level, I learn from the advice of the staff of Team Ampler Tartu2024 and from the regular contacts with Pieter Vanspeybrouck and my future trainer Ioannis Tamouridis. I obtained second place in the Tour du Loir et Cher by winning the sprint of the peloton and this makes me believe even more in my capabilities to win. I was really looking forward to the Tour of Estonia, with two stages in my city Tartu. A cobble climb will decide on the victory and I’ve covered this one at least a hundred times in training already! »

Photos Madis Mihkels: Morgane BEZANNIER

« I’m happy to see that Dries De Pooter and Madis Mihkels performed well this spring. Both obtained several good results in nice races. With a good follow-up, advice and devotion, they’re getting closer to the victory. The work of the sports direction of the World Team and of their continental teams complements each other perfectly. Their teams are well structured and we give them an introduction to what’s waiting for them starting from this summer. » « Despite their young age, they do races up to 200 kilometer. So I underline the importance of following the advice of our sports dietitians. But in our weekly contacts we mainly analyze their performances and talk about race preparation. For example, we work on the positioning in the sprint with Madis. Working with these young riders gives me a lot of satisfaction, because we’re building the future of our World Team! »


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