A talented climber, Henri reaffirmed his position in the U23 peloton, doubling-up on his Baby Giro podium from 2020 with a strong third place finish in 2021 after some brilliant riding by the team, before making the step up to the WorldTour with the Men’s program in 2022.
A Belgian, it is somewhat of a surprise that the only other person in his family who cycled was Henri’s brother, who introduced him to the sport. He played football and some athletics but that was only for one year and at the age of 12 he started at his local cycling club. He did try his hand at cyclocross too but after only three races Henri jokes, he knew road was the discipline for him and he’s not looked back since.
“I like to be in other countries, and you travel to places you might never see without cycling. Of course, there is also the social aspect too and I like going out with my friends, but equally I like working hard to be in good condition to compete at a high level.”
It’s from that intrinsic and extrinsic competition that Henri finds his biggest motivations, challenging himself to be better each day so he can be the best he can be.
“Winning is of course the main goal but feeling good and working towards a big goal together is also something to enjoy, then you feel successful afterwards for achieving it and helping the rest of the team.”
Quiet and reserved to start off with, Henri comes more out of his shell the more comfortable he is with people, and he can often be found laughing and joking around with friends. He describes himself as “social”, “ambitious” and “calm”, the latter of which he really thinks helps him in the sport as sometimes things can be stressful, and he brings a calmer energy to balance things out and make rational decisions.
His opening year at the WorldTour level had “ups and downs” for Henri who started out promisingly at races such as the Tour of Oman and Volta Catalunya, before getting bouts of sickness and injury which derailed his campaign.
Yet, that motivates him even more for the upcoming season and he has taken a mature and analytical approach to it all.
“I like to keep looking ahead and not to dwell on things. If I get some bad luck then I don’t focus on it, I just reset and try to look for the next goal and opportunity.”
A proper cyclist, Henri spends most of his downtime relaxing and recovering on the couch while not doing much else or catching up with his friends and family, spending time with his girlfriend or playing with his three Belgian Shepherd dogs.