Belgian cycling has a host of good riders who have a chance at winning big races. Alongside highly successful riders such as Philippe Gilbert and Greg van Avermaet, there are quite a few riders who ride consistently. One of those men is Tiesj (pronounced ‘Teesh’ in English) Benoot. He’s been riding solidly for years.

Tiesj Benoot is often close

Tiesj Benoot is still only 24 and therefore has quite a few years to toughen up. He will also use those years to get a bit smarter in the race, as he often attacks a little too heavily or doesn’t time his moves well. This has resulted in a large number of podium places, but few victories. One of the major exceptions to that is the 2018 edition of the Strade Bianche, which he won in gruelling circumstances.

Tiesj Benoot

Tiesj Benoot during the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2015. Photo: Cor Vos

After several years’ success in the youth category, Tiesj Benoot joined the Lotto Soudal team in 2015 as a fully-fledged professional. He was only 20 at the time, but that didn’t deter him from making a name for himself straight away. He was fifth in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the GP of Montreal and also booked a very respectable eighth place in the Eneco Tour.

In 2016, he started where he had left off the previous season. It was becoming clear that Tiesj Benoot was a rider who can keep up with the best all year round. He began that season third in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad and ended it with seventh place in the Brussels Cycling Classic.

Tiesj Benoot

Tiesj Benoot was third at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2016, behind Peter Sagan and Greg van Avermaet. Credit: Cor Vos

The year after that, Benoot was able to test himself in the Tour de France. His 20th place in the General Classification proved once again that he could keep up with the big guys. It was that same quality that ensured he was on the podium at the Brabantse Pijl and gave him good results in the Classica de San Sebastian, Strade Bianche, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. An excellent all-round performance.

In 2018, his form continued to improve. While he didn’t manage a good placing in a major grand tour, instead he secured himself a fantastic victory in the Strade Bianche. He also stood on the podium in the Brabantse Pijl and also rode a good top 10 in races such as Pari-Tours, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Tiesj Benoot

Tiesj Benoot on the road to victory in the Strade Bianche 2018. Credit: Cor Vos

The big question now is: will 2019 be his major breakthrough year? He has the basic skills, for sure, he now only has to develop his killer instinct. If that happens, then we have the potential winner of a host of one-day classics on our hands.