Tosh Van der Sande Interview: U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner turning pro
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tosh Van der Sande Interview: U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner turning pro

by Ed Hood at 8:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Track
Big future in store for Lotto-Belisol rider

Tosh Van Der SandeSix day regular Leif Lampater of Germany took fourth place at the end of the recent Ghent Six Day, but his partner may be unfamiliar to many: Belgian Tosh Van Der Sande.

The 20 year-old from Wijnegen has recently signed for Lotto-Belisol for season 2012 on the back of an excellent 2011 season with Lotto feeder team Davo, following the same route as Briton, Adam Blythe. His successes in the Under 23 ranks have marked him out as a big talent for the future, with victories in races such as the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège proving his worth.

Van Der Sande first caught the eye as a promising young track rider in the Belgian Championships through seasons 2006/7, taking gold as a novice and junior in the madison, scratch, team pursuit and points. He also won silver in the sprint and team sprint, demonstrating great versatility.

In 2008 his junior track career reached it's zenith with a win in the world points championships in South Africa, adding a madison silver for good measure.

Underlining his all round talent, he also took two stages in the Tour of Tuscany that year.

In 2009 he won the Tour of Namur and in 2010 he gained numerous podium placings in races all over Europe, winning a stage in the Tour of the Pyrenees.

But it was this season when his results made it inevitable that a big team would snap him up. He took two stages in the Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux, victory in the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and ninth place in the U23 Worlds in Copenhagen.

Van Der Sande is no stranger to the boards of Ghent's 't Kuipke velodrome, winning the U23 race here in 2008 with Stijn Steels and having a torrid time in last year's elite six day.

VeloNation caught up with him between races at Ghent, speaking to him about his strong 2011, his new pro contract and his future goals.

VeloNation: Congratulations on the contract, Tosh.

Tosh Van Der Sande: Thank you, after I won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the stages in the Triptyque it was understood I would go from Davo to Lotto.

VN: I checked out your programme for 2011 on your website, and it looks heavy for a young rider.

TVDS: Yes, but I make sure that I have enough rest, I know my body.

You would see that my programme included a lot of stage racing, that's where you build your strength.

VN: You had an excellent career as a young track rider…why go to the road?

TVDS: The road was always what I thought about, I wanted to go that way.

I won the junior Worlds points on the track but I was always good on the road and wanted a career with a road team.

VN: Who were your idols when you were young?

TVDS: I didn't specifically have one rider I looked up to, rather I admired the Belgian professionals who took care of themselves and got the best out of themselves.

VN: Isn't it hard to go from the road to the six days?

TVDS: I stopped for two weeks after the Worlds and then started to train again - this is a difficult race to come in to because there is such a hard schedule and I've not had a lot of competition, recently.

I feel good now but for the first two days it was really tough!

VN: But you're going much better than last year?

TVDS: I really suffered last year, the first three nights were very hard - I used to look at the riders and see them smiling and joking in the cabins and I thought; "ah, it can't be so bad" but then I rode the race!

Tosh Van Der SandeVN: How do you recover from a six?

TVDS: I'll have an easy week, then it will be time to go to the camp.

To ride a six day is good, it keeps you busy over the winter, gives you focus - the team like that I ride it, but I can't fit any others in to my programme.

VN: What do you think of Iljo Keisse's exclusion from Ghent?

TVDS: It's a shame. I asked him for tips on how to ride the race and for the last two weeks we trained together and he gave me advice.

VN: Tell us about your riding on the Red Bull mini track…

TVDS: Yeah, just for fun, the corners are ok but it's very easy to fall off when you come out of them!

VN: It's unusual for a rider from a track background to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege…

TVDS: I'm not really a climber but I'm still fast at the finish after a hard race. And it was good for me that the race finished on the track in Liege. The parcours is very similar to the elite event except for the final.

VN: You were ninth in the Worlds - were you happy with that?

TVDS: Yes and no. It was a mass sprint and I'm not so good in them; I had hoped it would be a harder race.

But I guess ninth in the World isn't so bad?

VN: When is your first camp with Lotto?

TVDS: From 6th to 15th December, and then we have two in January.

VN: Do you have a coach?

TVDS: No, but I do have a coach who I work with on power, but he's not specifically a cycling coach - and I'll work with the Lotto doctor on my schedule; but really I tend to train on how I feel.

VN: What are your goals for 2012?

TVDS: I don't have any big expectations, it'll be a learning process; show myself, ride for the team - that's something I have done before and I have no problems with it.

VN: If you had to pick one race to win, what would it be?

TVDS: Milan-Sanremo; the ending is perfect for me, very hard and a sprint from maybe twenty to thirty riders.


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