Had Dries de Pooter not graduated to the World Tour after the 2022 season, Hagens Berman Axeon would have had two Belgian riders on the team at the same time with the signing of Maxence Place, something that has only happened once in its history (2012- Jasper De Buyst and Jasper Stuyven). Max joined the Axeon squad from AG2R Citroën U19 Team.
"Joining Axeon is really special to me because I have always followed and appreciated the team since I started cycling,” said Max. “It's one of the biggest teams for the U23 so it will be a real honor to wear the jersey from January 1st.”
After a successful start in the junior ranks back in 2021, Max continued proving himself in 2022 with wins at Trofeo Dorigo, Grand Prix Télévie, GP du Ban, and GP Eddy Schepers. He also placed in the top ten at multiple stage races including 4th at Aubel Thimister Stavelot, 6th at Tour Du Valromey, and 8th at Giro della Lunigiana.
The 18-year-old from Mettet, Belgium regards his victory at the 2021 La Philippe Gilbert Juniors an important one to himself personally as well as for his career as it was not only his first “big win,” but took place on roads that he knows very well.
Max enjoys hard races, “preferably with a lot of elevation because I’m more of a puncher/climber,” he said. “So yes, I love suffering.”
For the 2023 season, he hopes to take another step upward, learn as much as he can at bigger races with his teammates, and continue to achieve his goals.
“Max is a very promising rider with a lot of climbing talent and high potential,” said team owner and director Axel Merckx. “He has plenty of room to grow, but has already achieved some great results in the junior ranks, including a couple climbing races. He’s one of the best climbers out there and we’re really excited to have another Belgian rider on the team.”