Australian Jarrad Drizners signed a two-year contract with the Lotto Soudal WorldTour team. The 22-year-old from Adelaide is taking the sport to the next level after two seasons with Axel Merckx’s Hagens Berman Axeon development team.
The 2020 Australian U23 road racing champion finished fourth overall at the Flanders Tomorrow Tour in September and last season was the third best young rider in the Santos Tour Down Under, for the national team.
“I still can’t believe it,” Drizners said in the team announcement. “I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also a little nervous. I wasn’t expecting that at all because 2021 was not my best season.
“Fortunately, I have been able to convince Lotto Soudal in recent months. Since the Tour de l’Avenir, I have been riding at a high level. I finished fourth in the final classification of the Flanders Tomorrow Tour and ten days ago in Liège- Bastogne-Liège [U23] I was only caught 50 meters from the finish, so I missed a podium. It was truly a heartbreaking moment. “
Lotto Soudal manager John Lelangue considers Drizners a runner who can excel in races with short climbs, crosswinds and in tuck sprints.
“He’s a big motor rider who loves Belgian races. He’s certainly not the climber type, but can play a key role in Caleb Ewan’s lead. Besides, he can finish a race on his own. I would. Compare him to riders like Brent Van Moer or Harry Sweeny. With Jarrad, a lot of potential is added to the team. “
His compatriot Sweeny, 23, has taken a similar path this year to that envisioned for Drizners, quickly fitting into Ewan’s front runner during his neo-pro year. After Ewan’s crash, he also found his way onto the Tour de France podium with a third place finish in Stage 12 after launching the crucial attack from a break.
Drizners says he’s still discovering his strengths. “Currently, I would describe myself as a puncher and a classic runner. I like Belgian races and also group sprints, probably thanks to my background as a track racer.
“It’s great to be able to work with Caleb Ewan, one of the best sprinters in the world. It motivates me a lot. If I could play even a small part in one of his wins, it would be great. me the happiest man in the world. “