By Bjorn Haake in Roeselare
Young Jürgen Roelandts, a neo-pro with Silence-Lotto is having a good season so far. Roelandts lives near Belgium's capital of Brussels. He had been racing for the Belgian Davitamon - W-f-L - Jong Vlaanderen and its predecessors in the last few years, but in 2008, he made the leap from amateur to professional ranks and immediately secured a contract with a ProTour team.
Roelandts has had two top six finishes already this season in Qatar, and he then went on to finish sixth in the Volta ao Algarve. He came close to getting his first professional win in Portugal where he was beaten only by Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner). In Nokere Koerse, it was the experienced Quick Step rider Wouter Weylandt who got the better of him.
"Yeah, I am somewhat surprised. I had a good winter and I hope we can keep it that way," he said his form is to his satisfaction, but he indicated one primary reason why things are going better this year – he's been getting more rest. He told Cyclingnews, "Last year, I was in school still, so it was hard to rest. Rest is very important," he emphasised while also acknowledging that he is training more now, too.
The Silence-Lotto rider's good start to the season at the Volta ao Algarve came despite getting what he thought was "food poisoning," which he blamed on the meat in the hotel where the team was staying. "If I would have been in 16th place, I would have just quit, but I was in sixth," so he rode on to finish the last day, despite being unable to eat for the whole day. "It was a very hard last stage," he said, but his good standing gave him the extra motivation needed.
Despite his recent good results, Roelandts knows his job and the answer to a question about his personal goals did not differ from what he had said before Het Volk. "I don't know. I'll work for the team and hope somebody [from the team] wins." He did his job again Wednesday, attacking at one point during the race to soften up the competition and eventually finished in the peloton, in 43rd place at the 63rd Dwars door Vlaanderen in Belgium.
Sooner or later Roelandts will earn his first pro win. Time will tell how the young rider's career develops.