Good morning. I'm about to start Strade Bianche and take on the beautiful Tuscan dirt roads for the first time in my career but before I do, I wanted to tell you about the last few weeks.
If you didn't know, this is my first year at the WorldTour level with Trek-Segafredo. I've dipped in and out of the top tier over the last two years as part of my old Pro Continental team but this experience is something utterly new and exciting. The transition, in terms of racing, hasn't been too steep because of the experience I've had in the past but this is still an entirely different world. What's stood out so far has been the amount of travel – I've been to Australia, Spain, home to Denmark, Portugal, home again, Belgium, home, and now I'm in Italy. It's been a whirlwind and one that I'm really only starting to get to grips with.
The biggest challenge and change is probably the increased level of travel. It's something that I and the people around me need to get used to. I've moved out from my parents' home and live with my girlfriend now and it's hard at times to switch off and have that normal life outside of cycling, but you need to put a lot of things to one side to make this life work. It's hard to keep contact with friends and family when you're constantly on the road, but they've been really supportive and they know I've been dreaming about being a cyclist for such a long time.
Last weekend I raced Omloop. I was originally down for Omloop and Kuurne, but the team decided to rest me for the second race, and they brought another rider in to replace me. That's okay. I'm young and I'm still developing and although I didn't finish Omloop the team, and Jasper Stuyven, were really happy with how I performed.
It was a really good race. There was a lot of work to do, and in the beginning my job was to keep an eye on the breaks and make sure that nothing too dangerous went away. If there were between eight or ten guys, then I had to be there to represent us. After that, my job turned towards supporting Jasper as much as possible. I had to bring him into position inside the first 130km and after that it was all about survival and hanging on for as long as I could. After we reached Ronse I was done and that's where I climbed off. We had this super hard descent into the town and I was doing so many Watts just to keep the guys near the front that it totally killed me. I did ten minutes of full gas and then pulled out, taking a short cut to the team bus where I had a shower before the other guys came back.
Overall I was pleased with the job that I did for the team and I think that the guys were also happy. When you make the step up to WorldTour you do wonder what the guys think about you, so when you hear some positive feedback after you've worked hard it helps. It lets you know you're moving in the right direction.
Last weekend saw some great races but we also had the story surrounding riders who took to the bike path during the race. Will they, should they, get fined or disqualified? My opinion is that you have the rule or you don't. There's no point in having a rule and not enforcing it. That sends out a confusing message to the riders, the teams and the fans. It's bullshit that they say something to us before the start, saying that we can't go on the cycle path or the walkway, and then during the race some guys do it and it's fine. It was said, clearly, before the race that if riders went on the sidewalk they would face possible disqualification but it wasn't enforced. That's not okay. If we have a rule it has to be for everyone and not just the few.
Moving on, today I'm lining up for Strade Bianche. My job will once again be to help Jasper. He knows now that I'm strong enough to be there for him and maybe I can have more of an important role in the race, instead of just covering the breaks, because I'd like to be around him the whole day and be one of the last guys for him.
After Strade Bianche I stop and take a break with a training camp in Mallorca. Then it's back to Belgium for Dwars door Vlaanderen. The team is super strong, so we have around 12 guys in the frame for the Classics. It means that selections sometimes aren't made until two days before each race. That keeps everyone on their toes, and means we all have to work harder to make that selection.