This Tuesday, the City of Binche will give Ludwig De Winter one last time goosebumps in the peloton. The 28 year old rider decided to end his professional cycling career after his seventh participation to Binche-Chimay-Binche. De Winter became professional in 2015 before joining Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert four years later. The habitant from Binche is an exemplary team player within the Belgian World Team.
« I’m thinking about ending my career for a couple of months already, but I absolutely wanted to be competitive until my last race. So I only made the decision a couple of days ago », says Ludwig De Winter. « I couldn’t imagine a better farewell than here in Binche, in front of my home crowd, friends and family. It is close to them that I want to be in the future, after the past years of sacrificing for my job, my passion. I feel ready for this next step, and I’m looking forward to see my children grow up from nearby », continues the father of Henry and Rose, who will be siblings of a baby boy in February.
On this special day, one important person will be missing for Ludwig De Winter. « In the previous edition of Binche-Chimay-Binche, my father was still there. His absence along the roads the past two years was difficult to bear, but knowing that he is proud of me gives me strength. My brother Gordon, my cousin Hugo and I had the luck to be able to line up together for Binche-Chimay-Binche in 2016, and my father was working as a sports director in that edition. These precious moments are memories for life for our family. I hope to honor him one last time on the bike tomorrow. »
Gautier De Winter was very present in the career of his son, in the role of sports director, or VIP driver with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, or most of all as his biggest fan. For Ludwig, one memory in company of his father stands out: « The victory of Loïc Vliegen in the Tour of Wallonia in 2019, my first season with the team, is one of the greatest moments of my career. The belief in a collective goal and our team spirit were indescribable. I loved the work in the shadow and I was always very happy to contribute to the success of riders such as Antoine Demoitié, Timothy Dupont or Baptiste Planckaert. I’m proud that I got the most out of my career. »
The baroudeur and lover of cobbles achieved highs with a 9th place in Binche-Chimay-Binche (2015), two victories in pro kermesses and in many breakaways in his favorite spring classics. « Both collective and personal successes in the pro ranks and youth categories brought me a lot of emotions and I can imagine that magical moments will follow this Tuesday. It would be fantastic to conclude my last Binche-Chimay-Binche with a victory for the team », dreams De Winter. « Emotions will run through my body, but I want to act as a loyal team player until my last race kilometer. So our leaders can rely on me and my knowledge about the parcours for one last time this Tuesday. It was an honor to be part of the, in my eyes, best team in Belgium with roots in Binche for the past three years. »
Even though Ludwig De Winter doesn’t have a clear idea about what he will do after this Tuesday, he’ll continue following cycling races on the side of the road. « My passion for cycling and my city will stay alive forever. Thanks to these two loves I experienced numerous nice moments and I’m convinced that more will follow in the future! » concludes Ludwig De Winter.
For his last race in the peloton, Ludwig De Winter will accompany his leader Danny Van Poppel, winner of Binche-Chimay-Binche in 2018. They will race alongside the Belgian riders Pieter Vanspeybrouck and Loïc Vliegen, the German rider Jonas Koch, the Italian rider Andrea Pasqualon and the Dutch rider Boy Van Poppel, under the direction of Hilaire Van der Schueren.
Start: 12h10 (Grand Place, Binche)
Finish: 17u (Grand Place, Binche)
Ludwig De Winter
Boy Van Poppel
Danny Van Poppel
Hilaire Van der Schueren