This month we asked you on our social media channels if you had any questions for Development Team DSM newbie, Henri Vandenabeele. After returning back from a training ride, Henri sat down to answer five of our favourites!
Do you have any tips for young riders in the junior categories?
When you’re really young it’s important to have a lot of fun I think, that’s probably the most important thing. Find yourself a nice team and do some good races but don’t take it too seriously. Then when you become a junior rider in those categories, you have to become a little bit more serious but don’t live like a pro, or train too much. Find a nice balance where you take it more seriously but still have fun and enjoy it.
How does it feel to ride in the pro peloton for the first time? What was it like?
I enjoyed my first pro race! To ride with the biggest riders of the world at this moment, it felt like a dream coming true. In the race I suffered a lot; it was definitely a high level and the pace was really high. It was a positive experience and we had a nice focus in the team on working together, riding with each other and learning – which I definitely did.
What are your biggest dreams and goals in cycling but also life?
To become a pro rider was already a big goal in my life, so it feels like a dream coming true and a big accomplishment for me. Next to cycling I have other goals, such as visiting different places around the world. As for what I’m going to do when I’m finished my cycling career, I’m not too sure yet. It could be something totally different and unrelated but it also could still be something in cycling too! In cycling, I want to give it my best and of course I really want to win some races in the future, because that’s what you’re racing for. In the end if that’s not possible, I want to make sure that I give everything that I can in my career and get the most out of myself.
What’s the name of your training group, and what does it mean?
I can’t say what the training group name is, that’s a secret and I have a feeling that I know who asked this! It’s a group of around ten guys in Belgium but we can’t train with everyone together. We met each other at races in Belgium when we were younger and started a group chat and got to know each other, it’s a nice group of guys.
Do you have a favourite ride that you do around your home area? What kind of route is your favourite to do?
When I’m at home I always go to the Flemish Ardennes for a training ride, it’s always my favourite playground. I live around 20 kilometres from Oudenaarde so it’s pretty close. It means I can do some more climbing and when the weather is good I really enjoy it on the small roads, which are really typical of Belgium. When I want to do a bit more climbing then I go to the Ardennes and the region of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and you can make a nice route there with around 3000 altitude metres; which is fun!