The Lotto Dstny Ladies Team is already gearing up for the 2024 season, just a week after wrapping up their 2023 campaign at the Binche-Chimay-Binche race. Remaining committed to nurturing young talents, the continental development squad has unveiled a line-up that consists of 15 riders. Significantly, the team welcomes six fresh faces: Maureen Arens, Dina Boels, Thalita De Jong, Audrey De Keersmaeker, Alberte Greve, and Anne Van Wersch. Grace Verbeke and Dirk Onghena will continue as the sports directors.
Lotto-Dstny’s recruitment has been particularly strategic. The addition of former cyclo-cross world champion Thalita de Jong is a masterstroke, as she brings extensive international experience to the squad. De Jong, who rode for Liv last season, forms a Dutch triumvirate within the Flemish team alongside Anna van Wersch and Quinty van de Guchte.
Maureen Arens, another notable newcomer, will transition from the AG Insurance-NXTG U23 team. Her top achievement this season was a 13th-place finish at the Tour de Feminin in Czechia, signalling her potential.
Reflecting on the squad’s development, sports manager Kurt Van de Wouwer said, “This year, we continued to build on that strategy and it’s safe to say this is paying off. The riders all took some steps forward and we’ve managed to get some solid results.” Van de Wouwer emphasised that the focus will remain on development, but with an expanded racing program to offer more opportunities for the team’s talent pool.
Dirk Onghena, who joined the Lotto Dstny Ladies project at the end of 2021, remarked positively on his second season as a sports director. He cited results like Julie Hendrickx’s 2nd place in Ekeren and Katrijn De Clercq’s win at the Watersley Women’s Challenge U23 race as highlights while acknowledging that the team is not yet a force at the WorldTour level. “Being competitive at UCI 1.1 level is already a nice step forward,” he observed.
Grace Verbeke, who joined the team last year, underscored the importance of team spirit and a nurturing environment for success. “I find it really important to create a nice atmosphere amongst the group and give the girls the confidence to get the best possible result, together,” she said.
For the 2024 season, the Lotto Dstny Ladies roster comprises a mix of promising young riders and seasoned campaigners, ranging in age from 18 to 29. As the team embarks on its next chapter, the cycling world will watch keenly to see how these women blend experience with youthful exuberance to create a competitive edge.