The Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team further strengthened its 2022 roster with the signing of Junior Belgian Road Race National Champion, Dries de Pooter. Dries joined Axeon from SEG Racing Academy / Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert (stagiare).
“Joining Axeon, maybe the biggest U23 team in the world, means a lot to me and is really special,” said Dries. “It was always a dream to ride for Hagens Berman Axeon and I’m very proud that I will wear the Axeon kit next year. I’m really looking forward to giving everything I’ve got to the team!”
The 18-year-old from Geel, Belgium made a name for himself in 2020 with his crowning as the Belgian Junior Road Race National Champion. In 2021, Dries was in the top 10 on multiple stages at Course de la Paix Grand Prix Jeseníky and Circuit des Ardennes International. He finished just off the podium at the 2021 U23 Belgian National Championships in the road race and was 11th in the individual time trial.
Dries touts his consistency as his best attribute. “I never have a really bad period, my shape is always at least good enough to play a role in the final,” he said. “Also the efforts between 0-5 minutes are my strong points and I really love short hills.”
For the 2022 season, Dries wants to focus on doing what is necessary to step up to winning big races. “I was always close this year, but missed the last 1-2% to take the victory,” he said. “And I would also like to become stronger as a rider in total.”
“Dries is a very strong Belgian rider that has had a lot of experience at European races and had some good results already in pro races,” said team owner and director Axel Merckx. “He stagiared with Intermarche Wanty and we were looking for someone that had experience in Europe and could lead the squad in European races and the Northern Classics. I’m looking forward to having him on the team and watching him take his riding to the next level.”