- Age 27
- Joined team in January, 2023
Justine Ghekiere is a 26-year-old Belgian cyclist with a unique back story. She only started racing two years ago, in 2020, but has already shown that she has the necessary talent to achieve great performances, especially when it comes to uphill.
For Ghekiere, sport and exercise have always been an important part of her life. She studied physical education at VIVES University, was a lifeguard at the coast of Knokke-Heist and active as a personal coach in a fitness centre in Roeselare. During the lockdown period she decided to express her sporty side in a different way.
“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.”
Although that is an understatement, because Justine adapted very quickly to her professional cycling life. She received a contract by Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire in 2021 and rode her first UCI race on March 2, 2021, Le Samyn. That season she rode almost all Belgian cycling classics.
After the 2021 season, she left the team, and found a new employer in Plantur-Pura for 2022. 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. For 2023 has signed a two-year contract with AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step.
"AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step 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.”