For 100 days a year, he drives around the Wolfpack with the camper and sometimes helps out as a soigneur. Having almost turned pro himself, Nick chose instead to work in the police, and next to that he is always excited when he gets back on the road with the wolves.
“I came into the team in 2013. Patrick often went to eat at my wife's restaurant back then in Roeselare and he called me on January 2 to ask if I could help him out driving the new camper. I needed to get my driver’s license in a few weeks, as for each driver's license you need to take six exams; luckily I passed them all at the first try and I could start in the team. On February 12 I had the driver’s license and just three days later I immediately started. I'm both riding the camper and helping out as a soigneur if needed. At that point I had been already working at the police since 1992; I’m a community officer which is easy to combine with the days I spent with the team. I can easily choose my hours and also have some holidays, while at the same time working for the team for 100 days during a year.”
“I was actually studying to become a physical therapist, but then I took an exam to join the police and passed it. I also followed an extra course about massages which actually got me into cycling, as the teacher there was a soigneur at the Wanty team, where I first worked as a freelancer next to my job at the police. Maybe things would have been a lot different, as I was also cycling for 23 years myself. I started cycling when I was 13 years old. I won 68 times in the amateurs. I could have become a professional in a small continental team, but at the same moment I just passed my exam to join the police. I made the choice to go for the job at the police, but if I hadn’t passed my exam there the story probably would have been different.”
“I already knew some of the staff members here, as I had raced with some of them, like mechanic Kurt Roose. I like both going with the team as a soigneur or driving the camper, it gives a lot of variation as they are two totally different jobs. Being away from home isn’t a big problem for me, although now I’m happy I don’t do a Grand Tour anymore after having done six editions Giro, six of the Vuelta and two of the Tour. Four weeks is long, and it is also difficult to combine this with my job at the police.”
Through good and bad moments
“Every win is fantastic, and of course, last year’s Tour de France with Cav was phenomenal. The most difficult moment was the Tour of Poland in 2020, with the crash of Fabio. The first days we had to wait for news, it was very hard and emotional, and it’s really something to see him where he is at this point in his career having overcome such a difficult moment. I have good contact with all riders, I feel appreciation and respect but it’s also something that I built a bit myself, if it’s really messy in the camper I tell them that.”
“Cycling is and will always be a passion. If next week they ask me to do the same job in a football team, I wouldn’t do it. I’m also organising the Gullegem Koerse, my dad is the head of the organisation. It helps that I also work in cycling as I can talk to riders about coming to the race. Next to that I like to travel with my wife and discover beautiful places, it’s my way of relaxing and recharging the batteries.”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel