Sunday, 8 May 2016

Meet Jasper Philipsen, named "young Flandrien of the year" in 2014, winner of Askö Radjugendtour 2014, Belgian National Junior Champion in time trial in both 2015 & 2016. Winner of Guido Reybrouck Classic, Ster Van Zuid Limburg and E3 Harelbeke in 2016 .

Personally the first time when I head about Jasper Philipsen was at Askö Radjugendtour 2014 where you won three stages and general classification. How do you recall the race from almost two years perspective? 

Everybody included myself were wondering about my performance there. I never thought about winning when I went to there. I just wanted to test myself on the international level. And that ended in a big surprise.

From your earliest years you are racing with Acrog Balen BC team. Can you tell us more about the team and how does it fit for you? 

 I started there because of Tom Boonen who also rode there in his youth years. It was also not far from my home, and the management of young riders is good. And most of everything, the friendship that we have in the team is great. 

In 2015, despite being first year junior, you have managed to win national title in time trial and placed high in big classics like Paris Roubaix and Guido Reybrouck Classic. Do you have any regrets about last season ? And which result was the most important one ? 

Last year I was happy with my progress. Mostly in the time trials, in which I developed better than the year before. My time trial in Richmond where I ended 6th was my most important one. But I also had a few bad moments. Where I expected more from. But that's racing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That's good to keep me focused. 

 This year you won Guido Reybrouck Classic, E3 Harelbeke and Ster Van Zuid Limburg, which race was the hardest to win and why ? 

 The hardest races to win are the races that I've lost like Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Paris Roubaix... ;-) The hardest was Guido Reybrouck Classic, a nice duel between Ethan Hayter and me. 

 In Paris Roubaix juniors where you finished 5th many considered you as the biggest favorite. Can you tell us more about who the race unfold ? Are you happy with the fifth place ? 

 The race stayed long closed. Only a lot of crashes was the subject for most of the race. I was involved twice, but without serious damage. It was Tanguy Turgis and me who turned up the race on the last five cobblestone sectors. Together with Andreas Kron we rode away on Carrefour de l'Arbre. I felt very strong and did a lot of work. But suddenly 10km before the velodrome my light went out. I overestimated myself. So after the finish I was very disappointed. But I learned a lot from the race. 

 What are your plans for the second part of the season ? I guess World Championships in Qatar are the biggest goal ? 

 Now I have still two goals for the next month. Belgian road championship and the Course de la Paix (we spoke at the beginning of May, before those events, Jasper won the time trial again and unfortunately crashed out of Course de la Paix - ed. Tom). Than I will take a brake till the end of July, to focus on my exams and build up for the second part of the season with the main goals: European and World Championships. 

 Who do you consider as your biggest rivals for the gold medal in Qatar ? 

 That's difficult to say. There are a lot of good riders in our age category. You've seen that last year in Richmond. There where three first years juniors on the podium. Also the route is going to be a crucial factor. Hopefully that the wind could play a role. 

 Strong on cobbles, very good in time trial and fast on the line, that's how many people sees you but I would like to ask you what do you see as your weakest point ? 

 I will never become a real climber. But I'm curious to see in which direction I will develop myself. At the moment I like to taste from all the parts of cycling and see which suits me the best. 

 In few months you will end your two years journey as a junior and move to u23 ranks. How do you see your 2017 season ? 

 There are a lot of changes that going to happen in 2017. First of all,  I have to find a team where I can develop myself. Then I will go to university so it's going to be a challenge to combine my studies with cycling. But there are a lot of riders, who proved that it's possible. I'm motivated and looking forward to it. 

 In future, do you see yourself as a cobbled specialists ? Or you would like to focus more on sprints and time trials ? 

That depends on how I will evolve. At the moment I love to ride the cobble classics. I always watched them on television. Those are in Belgium upward degree. 

 Every time when a young Belgian starts to shows sparks of talent, cycling fans and journalists starts to think about "the next Boonen". Do you feel the pressure being the next big hope for Belgium ? 

 No absolutely not! They aren't desperate in Belgium 😉. At the moment there are a lot of good young pro riders in Belgium. My way is still to long to look forward to be the 'next Boonen'. I have to prove a lot. But I will work hard for chasing my dream to become a professional rider.

Thanks Jasper!

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