A dream come true - SASI graduate Jarrad Drizners signs with Lotto Soudal
South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) graduate Jarrad Drizners has signed a two-year contract with the Belgian professional cycling team, Lotto Soudal.
Lotto Soudal is the oldest pro cycling team in the world, winning more than 1,000 races since it was founded in 1985.
For the 22-year-old, the inclusion in the team will allow him to race in some of the biggest events in the world.
Having the opportunity to join Lotto Soudal came as a shock to Drizners, who grew up admiring the team and their rich history in cycling.
“Lotto is an iconic Belgian franchise that you just dream of riding for growing up - it is pretty amazing to think that I will be riding with them next year,” Drizners said.
“I’m not super intimidated because I know a couple of the guys there and I’m good mates with one of the other Australians.
“It's nice to have that Australian connection going into the team - it’s not so daunting.”
In 2016, Drizners joined SASI on a scholarship and showed his drive to work hard and aim towards perfecting his craft immediately.
The care and resources provided by SASI complemented the talented teenager and his drive to compete on the world’s biggest stage.
“The support they (SASI) gave me from such a young age, it was almost too much, the funding, the trips, it was all just amazing,” Drizners said.
“Now me taking this step and signing with Lotto, I owe it to everyone because of all the continuous support I’ve had.”
Drizners says that his relationship with SASI Head Cycling Coach Brett Aitken has always been something special and that his coaching allowed him to thrive.
Aitken worked with Drizners for many years and credits professionalism to his success.
“The standout for Jarrad was that he was such a professional athlete even at a young age and you could see that he was doing everything that a fully-fledged professional would,” Aitken said.
“SASI has been an integral part in a lot of athletes’ development and it worked well with Jarrad as he was one of those guys who was always in control of his career and was choosing his own destiny.
“When he progressed from SASI he got some good results and then moved up into the academy and national squads and it was a short time later that he decided he wanted to go pro and target the road.”
In the coming months, Drizners plans to sustain his training level, whilst starting preparations for his induction into the team in 2022.
“This next few years I want to establish myself as a pro, be a really good teammate and if I can win a race or have a few good results that would be special, but I more so want to play a part in other victories,” Drizners said.
“If I can be valued as a good teammate, do my job, do my role and whatever personal success comes from that, I mean that’s just an extra bonus.”