Lander Loockx, who races for Tour de Tietema-Unibet, recently missed out on the European Championship but made his presence felt at the Koppenbergcross. Known for its infamous climb, the Koppenberg demands respect from cyclists, yet Loockx tackled it head-on and surged to the lead early in the race, leaving behind seasoned competitors such as Thibau Nys, Lars van der Haar, and Eli Iserbyt. Team founder Bas Tietema, who was engrossed in a team management course in Aigle, lauded Loockx’s efforts, describing him as a man with a mission.
Loockx himself was somewhat taken aback by his performance. He confessed that despite an initial struggle to navigate the terrain, he found the right lines and even led the race for a time. However, aiming for efficiency, he encountered unforeseen challenges, particularly on the daunting Koppenberg climb where a minor error cost him. The 26-year-old from Leuven acknowledged his mistake and, although he hoped for a higher finish, placed within the top ten at the Koppenberg. A mechanical issue on the final ascent forced him off his bike, leading to lost positions, but Loockx remained philosophical, conceding that it wasn’t a bad race overall.
The early stages of the cyclocross season have shone a spotlight on Loockx, and within his team, the atmosphere is one of positivity. Transitioning to TDT-Unibet has not just been about higher visibility but also about experiencing a supportive environment that has seen him receive more attention than in his previous outfit. This support has translated into strong performances, including a robust start at the European Championship gravel race, followed by commendable outcomes in Beringen, Ardooie, and Woerden.
Loockx looks forward to shifting his attention to road cycling next year. He relishes the freedom his new team grants him, allowing him to race with less pressure during the cyclocross season, which in turn feels liberating. As for whether he is an undiscovered gem for the team, time will indeed tell. Nevertheless, the opportunities and exposure he is receiving with the pro-continental team have been significant. Formerly racing without much recognition, Loockx now finds himself with multiple chances to prove his worth—a goal he has embraced wholeheartedly.
The Belgian rider’s journey with Tour de Tietema-Unibet has been documented and celebrated through social media, earning widespread appreciation. As Loockx gears up for his World Cup debut in Dendermonde, cyclocross fans and followers of the sport should keep their eyes peeled for this amiable Belgian who continues to demonstrate that he is a force to be reckoned with.