Quinten Hermans (27) will drive for Alpecin-Deceuninck for the next three years. No news hot off the needle, because it had been established for a while. The number 2 of Liège-Bastogne-Liège is looking forward to his new adventure. “I can continue to race at Alpecin and that’s important, but the priority is the road and I can grow a lot there.”
Priority on the road
It was already certain for a while that Hermans would leave Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. It even cost him a spot in the Tour team of the Belgian team. Yesterday it was announced that Alpecin-Deceuninck will be the new team of the versatile Hermans.
Why Alpecin? “They were interested in me whenever I was a free rider, but it never happened,” confesses Hermans, who knows the Roodhooft brothers well from the cross world. “I’ve been able to talk to Philip and Christoph a few times now and they had a lot of confidence in me.”
“I’ve seen their project evolve in recent years and it’s really getting going. Next year the team will be a bit stronger again. I can also continue to race there and that is a big item for me. Although the cross is becoming a bit more of an afterthought. But I am completely free in it and that is a pressure that falls away.”
So the road will be number 1 priority for Hermans? “Yes, and the team expects that too. Everything that comes in the cross is beautiful. I will continue to give 100% and I love doing it, but I will do it without pressure and that was different in recent years. Now the belt can come off a bit in the winter.”
“At Alpecin-Deceuninck I can determine my program in the cross, they really see me as a road racer. The cross will be a nice extra, with the championships as the goal. Classifications, I’m not really going to worry about that anymore.”
The cross will be a nice extra, with the championships as the goal. Classifications, I’m not really going to bother with that anymore.
The cross will become an afterthought for Quinten Hermans from next season.
Same attitude as Van der Poel
Hermans unexpectedly finished second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the spring. He also showed great things in the Baloise Belgium Tour and the Tour of Poland. “I certainly haven’t got everything out of it yet and I’m still learning every day”, 27-year-old Hermans realizes.
“I didn’t race on the road as a junior and promise and there is definitely room for more tactically and physically. Every year I get better at choosing the right moments and that’s where I reap the benefits of lately.”
What role will Hermans get at Alpecin-Deceuninck, where Mathieu van der Poel and Søren Kragh Andersen are still some great riders in the spring team? “Obviously I shouldn’t be in the lead from kilometer 0, they really expect me to participate for the victory on arrivals like here in Poland in the third stage.”
“It is also the intention that not all the pressure remains on Mathieu, so that he can occasionally hide in the shadow of the larger teams. The core around him is therefore considerably expanded.”
Hermans and Van der Poel have of course known each other for a while. “Of course I’ve ridden against him many times, but I don’t know him really well,” said Hermans. “We have a bit of the same attitude, always want to race, and I think that’s why Alpecin-Deceuninck chose me a bit.”
I certainly haven’t got it all out yet and I’m still learning every day.
Quinten Hermans in the footsteps of Mathieu van der Poel, his new leader from 2023.
Harsh words at Intermarché
Van der Poel is not always there in the Walloon classics. That is where Hermans’ main focus lies next year, this season 2nd in La Doyenne behind Remco Evenepoel, who was unapproachable that day. “I also really like the Waalse Pijl”, Hermans knows.
“What I do for Mathieu in Flemish work can also be done the other way around. The level in cycling is so high these days that you can only lay the cards well for yourself by having a good team around you. That is our intention. Also with Andersen there, a man for the Ardennes work.”
“There were still some teams interested, but at Alpecin-Deceuninck I had the best feeling in terms of program, communication, team, material and support. I felt the most confidence with that team and my choice was made quickly. I opted for the team that can give me the best future.”
What does Hermans want to show this season? “Hard words have been spoken at Intermarché, but we still have to get on with each other for a few months. I asked the team for a nice program for the rest of the season and I got it, with first Poland, then the Arctic Race of Norway and then the Italian autumn.”
And what about the World Cup? “I have been asked that question several times, but unfortunately I have not yet received a phone call from national coach Sven Vanthourenhout. I am certainly open to it and I am certainly willing to be part of a team around Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel. But I don’t expect it immediately, there are so many good Belgian riders. The places are incredibly expensive.”
There were still some teams interested, but at Alpecin-Deceuninck I had the best feeling in terms of program, communication, team, material and support.
Hermans finished 2nd in Liège-Bastogne-Liège this season.