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Justine Ghekiere joins AG Insurance-NXTG for the upcoming two seasons. The 26-year-old Belgian rider only started racing two years ago but has already shown the talent she has, especially when the road rises.

“I am one of those COVID lockdown cyclists after having done quite a few sports like swimming and tennis,” she says with a smile. “The first race I won was on Zwift. Then someone gave me an exercise test as a present and that’s how I got into contact with some teams. My first pro race was when I didn’t have any experience but now after two seasons I get along well.”

That’s an understatement because Justine adapted to her pro cycling life very rapidly. She won the queen of the mountains classification in the Thüringen Rundfahrt and was 10th in the overall. She showed herself against the world elite at the Simac Ladies Tour with a 14th place overall and was just a few meters away from her first pro win in GP Wallonie. She represents Belgium at the World Championships Road race this Saturday in Wollongong.

“Justine has only been racing for two years but she already showed some huge progress,” says sports director Jolien D’hoore. “This season she already showed some good things but I am convinced we will see the real Justine next year. She can play a lead role in our team of climbers. With Ashleigh Moolman by her side, she can gain valuable experience. I have confidence in her and can’t wait to start working with such a promising Belgian talent.”

Justine will be one of four Belgian riders on the elite team in 2023, next to Marthe Goossens, Britt Knaven and Lone Meertens. AG Insurance-NXTG hopes to acquire a Women’s World Tour license to complete the development pyramid from juniors to U23 to WWT.

“AG Insurance-NXTG is not only about making me better as a rider,” Justine explains. “They also want to grow me as a person. I like that approach and the warm and good feeling I had when I spoke with team manager Natascha. This is a team that grows fast and is very ambitious. That is just like me as a rider where I will focus on climbing, stage racing and improving my time trial. With the experienced riders on the team and Jolien behind the wheel I am convinced I can learn a lot.”

AG Insurance-NXTG will announce one more rider for the elite team for 2023 just after the World Championships. The team will then consist of 16 riders with 10 nationalities: Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Finland, Germany, Australia, Italy, South Africa and New Zealand.

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