I’ll briefly introduce myself because I’m new to Team DSM’s Development program: Vlad Van Mechelen, half Belgian and Lithuanian, and turned 18 in June. My life has revolved around the bike since my father got me a race bike when I was five years old. I really don’t have anything else that interests me, so I’m hoping I can keep cycling for a very long time.
Most young cyclists join a group, but my sister Gloria and I chose to ride alone as it was more convenient. Our parents made us something resembling cycling kit; a black suit with yellow stripes and soon, other juniors’ parents said: ‘That’s a cool jersey! Can we have one of those as well?’ My parents later transformed it into a sort of club. Things kept expanding, and at one point, our club was among the top junior clubs in the entire world.
Joining Team DSM
I first spoke with Team DSM in 2022. I chose Team DSM because they have a clear goal and are professional in what they do. Also, the Aqua-Step Keep Challenging Center is not far from my home, and I already knew a few of the Team DSM members. Frank Ragilo, a friend of mine, also joined the team. He and I go back to when I was ten. We have always ridden together. Because the races are mostly in Belgium and he is from Estonia, he used to spend a lot of nights at my parent’s house in the past. He is like a brother to me.