After 50 years of directing skilled cyclists from the workforce automobile, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty Sports activities Director Hilaire Van der Schueren has determined to quietly finish his run within the function.
The 75-year-old was by no means knowledgeable bike owner however obtained his begin with the workforce of Dutchman Jan Raas, a winner of Tour of Flanders twice, Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo along with 10 phases of the Tour de France.
Since then, Van der Schueren has primarily labored with scrappy underdog groups with smaller budgets. In 1996, he joined the Collstrop organisation and remained with them via rebranding as MrBookmaker – Frank Vandenbroucke’s workforce from 2004 till 2006 after he confessed to doping – and onto the ill-fated Unibet.com, the centre of the UCI’s battle with the Tour de France organisers ASO.
Van der Schueren joined Vacansoleil in 2009 and, when the workforce ended, he moved to Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 2014. He has remained with that organisation since, main the workforce into the WorldTour and fielding up-and-coming stars like Biniam Girmay.
Together with successes got here a horrible blow in 2016 when Van der Schueren was driving the workforce automobile when Antoine Demoitié was struck by a motorbike and killed throughout Gent-Wevelgem in 2016, and Van der Schueren was one of many first to the scene.
“Antoine had simply known as on the radio asking for a bidon. These have been his final phrases,” Van der Schueren stated on the time.
“In my profession, I have been on races the place riders have died, however it’s by no means been one among my very own. It is a lot harder to return to phrases with it.”
In line with Wielerflits, Van der Schueren may stay with the workforce in some capability.
“My final race within the automobile as workforce chief has handed. However I’ll in all probability stick with the workforce,” he stated. “We nonetheless want to speak about it correctly, however I am actually not gone but. The workforce goes to make me a proposal, however there isn’t any rush. We nonetheless have loads of time.”
Van der Scheuren steered that Steven De Neef, who rode for him on Collstrop, could be a successor.
“Steven De Neef was already with the workforce after I joined in 2014. And he’s nonetheless there now, so his monitor report is nice. After which we now have youthful workforce leaders akin to Pieter Vanspeybrouck and Dimitri Claeys. I feel we’re well-equipped for the longer term. I am not nervous about that.”
Van der Scheuren saved a low profile about his retirement, not even telling the riders till after his remaining races, the Zwevezele Koers and Omloop van het Houtland.
“I did not need the entire race to revolve round me. What made me very completely satisfied is that we received the final two races with myself within the automobile,” Van der Schueren stated. “Gerben Thijssen was one of the best of the peloton in each … That made it a pleasant farewell.”