The Professional Continental cycling team Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim was presented to the press in the historic Bouchout Castle, just a stone's throw away from Belgium's capital Brussels. The team is based on the former Vlaanderen-T Interim-Eddy Merckx team, with a handful of young pro's from Jong Vlaanderen 2016 signing on as well as a couple of Lotto-Domo riders. Thus, with a new name and new sponsors, the squad enters its 12th year in the international peloton and will remain at least until the end of 2006.
The team's priority will remain the same: to train promising youngsters to enable them to move on to well-established teams. Riders such as Tom Steels, Mario Aerts, Serge Baguet, Wilfried Cretskens, Bjorn Leukemans, Nico Sijmens, Stijn Devolder, Wim Van Huffel, Jan Kuyckx, Matthew Gilmore, Geert Verheyen, Kurt Van De Wouwer, Leif Hoste, Wim Vansevenant, Glenn D'Hollander, Ben Berden, Tom Vannoppen, Erwin Thijs, Geert Van Bondt, Bert Roesems, Paul Van Hyfte and the late Stive Vermaut all started their professional careers in this team.
In terms of results, the 2004 season was the team's best ever, winning 17 road races including eight by sprinter Steven Caethoven in his first pro-season. The team also won the team prize in the Tour de l'Avenir and there were victories in track and cyclo-cross races. For 2005, Chocolade Jacquyes-T Interim hopes to equal or better these results. The team also aims to put its young riders in action in ProTour races in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Newcomers in 2005 are new road captain Niko Eeckhout and Kevin Van Impe (both from Lotto-Domo), together with neo-professionals Pieter Ghyllebert, Kurt Hovelijnck, Aron Huysmans, Kenny Lisabeth, Tom Stubbe, Maarten Wijnants and track specialist Iljo Keisse. Also new are general manager Christophe Sercu (after four years as a manager for Lotto-Domo) and Sports Director Walter Planckaert.
On Wednesday, January 26, eight riders (Caethoven, Stubbe, De Schrooder, Ghyllebert, Van Mechelen, Van Speybroeck, Wijnants, Hovelijnck) left for Qatar under the supervision of sports director Jean Pierre Heynderickx. They will ride in the GP Doha and the Tour of Qatar. The other races on our program in February are GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise, Etoile de Bessèges, Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, Trofeo Laigueglia, Tour du Haut Var, Classic Haribo, Omloop Het Volk, Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and Clasica de Almeria.
The team's sponsors are Chocolade Jacques (a division of Callebaut chocolate), T-Interim (a temporary work agency), Capri-Sonne (lemonade) and Eddy Merckx, the godfather of the team. The Flemish government is still a very important partner and subsidises the team.
Team website: www.jacques-t-interim.be
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Chocolade Jacques-T Interim/www.jacques-t-interim.be
- The Chocolade Jacques-T Interim is presented in Bouchout Castle, near Brussels in Belgium
- Steven Caethoven is interviewed
- Iljo Keisse one of the revelations of the 2004/2005 track season
- Newcomers Aron Huysmans, Kurt Hovelijnck, Pieter Ghyllebert en Kenny Lisabeth
- Newcomers Nico Eeckhout, Kevin Van Impe, Maarten Wijnants en Tom Stubbe
- Trials specialist Kenny Belaey
- Belgian TV speaker Michel Wuyts interviewing team leaders Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Roger Swert and Walter Planckaert
- Team manager Christophe Sercu