Updated: Jan 25, 2022
On Wednesday 26 January Vuelta Mallorca kicks off with its first Challenge, Trofeo Calvia. One of our Young Wolves will be at the start of these five races on the Spanish island: Jules Hesters (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise).
First of all, let us explain one more time the concept of the 'Young Wolves'. At the end of the 2021 season we picked eight young and talented riders, which we decided to follow in 2022: five men, three women. Which criteria did we use in our choice? We searched for young riders who'll have their first year as a pro this season or young riders who made a transfer to a big team. We ended up with this selection:
Lucas Plapp (AUS, INEOS Grenadiers)
Shari Bossuyt (BEL, Canyon//SRAM Racing)
Ben Healy (IRL, EF Education-EasyPost)
Kata Blanka Vas (HUN, SD Worx)
Johan Price-Pejtersen (DEN, Bahrain Victorious)
Vittoria Guazzini (ITA, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope)
Jules Hesters (BEL, Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
Filippo Baroncini (ITA, Trek - Segafredo)
You want to know more about these riders? We introduced them one by one in our very first podcast episode. For the readers who don't speak Dutch, we made this Twitter thread in English:
Each month we'll publish at least one episode of our podcast, in which we will focus on the programme and performances of these eight riders. Last week we invited Jules Hesters for our very first interview at Domestique Podcast. Together with the young Belgian we talked about the upcoming season, his debut as a pro at his new team Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise and the first race on his programme: Challenge Mallorca.
Jules Hesters - Challenge Mallorca
At the beginning of the season, the results won't necessarily matter that much for Jules. "During the first weeks or months I want to discover what type of rider I really am. The past has proven that I still have a decent sprint after a tough race, but that might be different on the pro level. I'll have to rediscover myself this season. Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise is the perfect team to do so. I can grow steadily without any pressure."
Jules has two races on his programme so far. "To start the season I'll race Challenge Mallorca and Tour of Antalya. Between those two road races in Spain and Turkey I'll participate in the Belgian National Track Championships. After these first races we'll have a good vision on the rest of my programme, but for now I can't say a lot."
"I'll take it step by step the first weeks, later on I'll decide about my goals"
"I'll use those first races to discover how good I am already. At the end of November I suffered from Covid. For that reason I had to start the preparation for the new season a bit later than I wanted to. It's possible I'll still have a small disadvantage on the rest of the bunch. Mallorca will show me what my current level looks like. In Tour of Antalya we'll have to wait how the legs respond on those big training stimuli of Mallorca. I don't have major targets at the moment."
"I didn't pick stages to test myself, but I'll try my best for sure. We'll have to discuss with the team what their ambitions are. I'll take it step by step the first weeks. Later on I'll decide about my goals for the season. I need to be realistic at this point."
Want to learn more about Jules Hesters? Watch the full interview (with English subtitles!) below or listen to our podcast episode with Jules on this website. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more interesting interviews!