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PEZ Talk: Jasper De Buyst
jasper_debuyst650If you’re a studier of the winter board scene then one name has been popping up more than any other this winter – that of 20 year-old Belgian, Jasper De Buyst. His outstanding run of form began with fourth place in the European Elite Omnium Championships – he’d already won the U23 edition back in the summer – then he was third in the Four Days of Grenoble with Iljo Keisse.

He then won the omnium at the Manchester World Cup; won the Gent Six Day with Leif Lampater; was second in the Six Day Nights of Zurich four day event with Kenny De Ketele and took two silvers in the recent World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico one in the omnium and another paired with De Ketele in the madison. That’s a very impressive set of results by any standard.

jasper_debuyst

His palmares starts with silver medals in the Belgian novices’ omnium and time trial championships in 2009. One year later he was Belgian Junior Road Race Champion and added the junior time trial title in 2011 along with a silver medal in the European junior omnium championship.

Last season saw him take bronze in the European U23 team pursuit championship and silver in the madison with Gijs Van Hoecke, another of the Young Turks from the flat lands who are burning up the boards.

We caught up with Jasper shortly after his Mexican adventure:

PEZ: The European U23 omnium, which you won back in the summer, was the first big result where we noticed your name; did you go in expecting to win?
My goal was definitely to win the omnium, yes – after my second place in the omnium at the Euros in the U19 (junior) in 2011 and bronze and silver medals in the team pursuit and madison as a first year U23 rider in 2012.

PEZ: How did you get into riding the omnium?
My first international omnium was the European Junior Championship in 2011; I got second and at that time I discovered I had some potential in the discipline and also I really like doing it.

PEZ: How do you train for all the different disciplines?
That’s a good question and for sure I won’t tell you everything! It’s hard to train for them all; the main thing is to train to make sure you have enough endurance – but also make sure you stay fast enough. It’s all about getting a balance in your training sessions.

PEZ: What are your strongest events – and which ones are you working to improve?
The one that I should improve is the pursuit; it’s already improved a lot but there’s still room for development! And my flying lap can also be a bit better. My “bunched disciplines” are good; but you also need some luck in there. And in the final event I have a strong weapon with quite a good kilometre. It’s a bit strange that my pursuit isn’t better because I used to be a good time trial rider; as a junior I was National Time Trial Champion.

jasper_debuyst_tt

PEZ: The Four days of Grenoble, third with Iljo, tell us about that, please.
That was a big experience to be able to ride with Iljo, he taught me a lot in those four days. But that ended unfortunately for him when I won in Ghent – He really gave me good tips and tricks of the trade which I could use!

But it was also an honour to ride with him; Iljo is 30 years-of-age now and I’m 20 which mean that a couple of years ago I was cheering for him in Ghent at the Kuipke.

PEZ: The Manchester World Cup win was a nice result – it must have given you a big boost going into the Ghent Six Day?
Manchester was way more than a boost – it’s my most important victory to date! Winning Ghent is also amazing – but winning a World Cup in an Olympic discipline is even bigger for me as my main goal is the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

PEZ: Going into Ghent, did you think you could win?
I was confident in my condition and my partner but winning is something else – I hoped for a podium.

jasper_debuyst_podium Jasper and Lampater enjoying the win in Ghent ahead of some big names including Jasper’s former partners Iljo Keisse in second and Kenny De Ketele in third.

PEZ: What was it like riding with Lampater?
It was great – he’s a nice guy with a lot of experience; we won thanks to his experience in combination with my speed. He got me in the right position every time for the sprints and then it was up to me to take the points.

jasper_debuyst_sprint
The sprints are Jasper’s affair although on this occasion at the Zurich Six it was BMC’s Silvan Dillier who got the better of it.

PEZ: The reaction in Flanders must have been huge when you won?
It was big, yes. The last weeks were just huge for me; starting with fourth place in European Elite Omnium Championship followed by third place in the Four Days of Grenoble with Iljo, winning the World Cup Omnium in Manchester, winning the Ghent Six Day with Leif, taking second in the Six Day Nights of Zurich with Kenny De Ketele and then taking two World Cup silver medals in Mexico.

I made a name for myself in Belgium with the Ghent win – and that’s nice. But I really likes that it’s getting back to “normal” now – the first days after Ghent were really hectic.

PEZ: Isn’t it difficult going from the big World Cup gears to the smaller six day gears and then back again?
For the moment I don’t have any problems with it but maybe that’s because I’m young?

PEZ: In Mexico you rode omnium and madison – maybe too much?
No, not at all! These are my two main goals; the omnium because it’s an Olympic event – and it’s a big dream to get a good result in Rio in 2016. And the madison just because I love it and it’s typically Belgian

PEZ: What will you ride at the Worlds?
The omnium and madison; maybe team pursuit as well but that depends

PEZ: Kenny De Ketele must be a great madison partner?
It’s awesome to ride with Kenny. We’re also great friends so that makes it a lot easier; he’s 28 now I’m 20 so he has a lot more experience than I do – and he’s a bit like the captain of our national track team . Let’s say he’s the thinker when we ride a madison . .

jasper_debuyst_kenny
Jasper and Kenny riding together at the Zurich Six.

He really knows how to ride in a chase – he was world champion, after all! In Mexico I only did my second ever madison World Cup so I can still learn a lot

PEZ: You must be glad that having ridden Manchester you don’t have to go to Mexico to ride your second World Cup?
I’m not glad about that! I’ll probably still go because I have the possibility to win two overall World Cups – the omnium and madison.

PEZ: The Spaniards Muntaner and Torres are establishing themselves as a very strong team . . .
They’re strong but beatable; we’ll be going for it at the Worlds!

PEZ: Luke Davison of Australia won the omnium in Mexico; do you see him or the New Zealand rider Aaron Gate as your biggest rivals?
It’s hard to tell because it’s still three months until the Worlds – but for sure they’re super riders. But there are other good riders as well – I’ll just make sure that I try to be in best shape at the Worlds and that I can compete against them at my best level.

PEZ: Belgium is producing good track riders these days – yourself, Gijs Van Hoecke, Kenny, why is that?
It’s a mix of many things; first, we have a good coach in Peter Pieters. Also very important is the cooperation with Topsport Vlaanderen Baloise, our road team – they give us the possibility to have a good program in preparation of Rio in 2016. Gijs will now concentrate more on the road, probably.

But with Kenny, myself and also Jolien d’Hoore – our best girl – we’re safe for results for the next couple of years on the track. We can go for big results in the omnium, points and madison. The team pursuit is still a ‘work in progress’ as we only have a young inexperienced team (male & female) but there are two more years to make progress.

PEZ: Are you back with Topsport for 2014?
I signed a two year contract, so yes.

PEZ: Long term is your future on the track or road?
My future is on track until Rio and then we’ll see – I’ll focus first on the Olympics but I also want to give it a try on road.


jasper-dad

# And what we didn’t realise about Jasper, until after the interview is that he’s the son of former Vlaanderen 2002 and Tonissteiner professional, Franky De Buyst. Franky wasn’t a bad rider with kermis wins and podiums in hard races like the GP Briek Schotte and GP Rudy Dhaenens. We can ask about him at Jasper’s next interview – we have a feeling it won’t be too far away. #
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