Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) may have been blocked from racing the Santos Tour Down Under due to administrative errors over his ADAMS Whereabouts, but the young Belgian has taken it in his stride and used his time in Australia to take in some warm-weather training. The 20-year-old will now make his WorldTour debut at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 28.
Lambrecht was down to make his professional debut at the Tour Down Under and flew to Adelaide to take part in the race almost a fortnight ago. However, an administrative error meant that he was unable to compete as UCI rules state that all neo-pros must have a backlog of six weeks (42 days) of whereabouts data before they can race.
According to Lotto Soudal, Lambrecht only received his login details for the system on December 15, with the message that he must log Whereabouts data as of December 17 – just 30 days before the start of the Tour Down Under. The UCI would not provide the rider with special dispensation and, instead of racing the Tour Down Under, he rode the majority of the stages ahead of the peloton.
“You can cry in bed but that doesn’t help. It’s better to just train and look to the future,” Lambrecht told a small group of journalists, including Cyclingnews, during the race.
“I was really looking forward to my first WorldTour race. There are more races coming and I’ll train here and hope to be good at the Cadel Evans race.
“It was a mistake from the UCI, I think. They gave me my login too late, and that’s a little bit shit for me. It’s really annoying and if they had told me before arriving in Australia it would have been much better because I could have ridden the Mallorca Challenge. Now we’re here in Australia. I only found that there was a problem a few days ago.”
Although he flew to Adelaide with his teammates and shared a room with Lars Bak during the race, Lambrecht has been forced to focus on the Cadel Evans Race, which takes place next weekend.
“You’re hoping everyday that it could be okay but I knew it was difficult to start. It’s very hard to hear that you can’t start but there are more races in the future. I’ll look to Cadel’s race and see that the condition is better and hopefully get a good result there.”
The young Belgian found the positives from a disappointing situation and each morning he travelled to the stage starts before riding off ahead of the race.
“Without a GPS I think I’d still be out there riding,” he joked.
“It’s always nicer to race than train on your own but I could see the riders on the screen at times.
“It’s always something special with me. They always say that a good career has to start with something special, so I’ve succeeded. It was hard mentally but the weather at home is cold and raining and you can’t go outside much at the moment. In a few months I might be able to laugh about it but not at the moment.”