European Junior Time Trial Champion, European U23 Time Trial Champion… Lotto-Soudal already knew for a while that it had a growth brilliance in its development team with 19-year-old Alec Segaert.
The civil engineer student at KU Leuven was rewarded last week with a professional contract for 3 years with Lotto-Dstny. He will continue to drive for the development team until mid-2024.
“It would be too early to send him to the WorldTour now,” said CEO John Lelangue. “I am very happy that I can gradually take the step to the pros in this way,” said Segaert himself. “It’s important not to skip any steps.”
Segaert once again proved that he can already show himself with the big boys at the World Time Trial Championships in Wollongong. Despite being one of the youngest participants, he immediately shot to silver.
In his own words, turning the large mill on long straights is completely his thing. He already showed that with the juniors: in 2021 all Belgians looked expectantly at Cian Uijtdebroeks at the European Time Trial Championships for juniors in Trento, but it was Segaert who could beat his compatriot.
At the World Junior Championships in his own country, he confirmed with the bronze medal. And barely a year later, he is already taking the next step as European champion and vice world champion in the U23 category.
Segaert is only a freshman promise and will therefore get another chance next year. “I’m looking forward to that,” he says. “Last year I was third, this year second, then you know…”
According to his entourage, Alec Segaert is calm, mature and very resistant to stress. This season he easily combined his studies with a top sports career.
That rest is quite a punishment for someone who has not been cycling for that long. Segaert did triathlon for about five years. Until the juniors, he combined that with racing. And that got harder, so he focused on his best discipline.
With success, because Segaert is turning out to be a specialist in time trial. But according to Serge Pauwels, Development Coach at Belgian Cycling, he also has potential in the smaller rounds.
“Personally I see in him a type of Stefan Küng,” said Pauwels in July in Vive le Vélo. “He clearly has a specialty and I see him becoming one of the best riders in his discipline within 5 to 8 years,” said Serge Pauwels.
Segaert himself also dreams of more than just driving against the clock. “I love it very much,” he said. “Although I have always looked at the classics with great admiration. I dream of one day taking part in those races.”
He already proved this year that this is not an impossible ambition. He won the Hel van Voerendaal and became 4th in the final classification of the Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux. In the Tour of the Future he was a major helper of overall winner Cian Uijtdebroeks, including as a motorbike in the team time trial over 28 km, which Belgium just missed out on. He himself was 37th in the final score.