In his second year as a professional cyclo-cross competitor, Klaas Vantornout is hitting above his weight and is consistently taking on his more experienced counterparts. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé caught up with the 25 year-old to discuss the past and the future.
Sitting between all the big campers and mobile homes owned by the cream of cyclo-cross crop in Eernegem, Belgium earlier this month was the modest van of Belgian Klaas Vantornout. Despite being in just his second professional season, the 25 year-old is quickly shaping up as the heir to Belgium's cyclo-cross throne.
"Those are all personal mobile homes, none of them are given by the team," explained Vantornout, who lives just 10 kilometres away from the Eernegem venue. "For sure that nice mobile home will come eventually, together with the good results. Right now my house is more important as I'm currently building in my hometown Torhout."
That new motor home could well come with a new contract next season, with the Belgian proving his worth and potential already this season. The Fidea Cycling Team rider stormed through last month's World Cup round two in Tabor, Czech Republic where he finished second to compatriot and cyclo-cross king Sven Nys (Rabobank). Vantornout took another podium finish at last weekend's third World Cup round in Pijnacker, Netherlands where the Belgian bounced back from illness to finish an impressive third, behind Dutchmen Lars Boom (Rabobank) and his own team-mate Bart Wellens.
The World Cup podium finishes, combined with his fifth place in the season opening World Cup in Kalmthout, Belgium, shows that Vantornout has taken a large step forward in his development as a rider this season. When it comes to Belgian cyclo-crossers, the depth of talent that comes out of the European nation is endless, making Vantornout's progress all the more impressive.
"The reason for my improvement?" repeated Vantornout, who lives together with girlfriend Annelies. "I had a fantastic training week with the team in Sankt-Moritz, Switzerland. Before that the team made sure we rode a couple of good stage races. I had no bad luck or setbacks so my base is solid. I didn't do much different than before but, I've become more mature, more experienced. I'm stronger now and I want to become even better which is possible if I don't have a setback."