Florian Vermeersch to candidate in local elections in Belgium: "It is my ambition to move up a gear in politics after my career"

We know Florian Vermeersch as a powerful rider at the Classics with a podium from 2021 Paris-Roubaix. However, Vermeersch is also politically active and socially involved besides cycling. For example, the Belgian classic cyclist will be on the electoral list in October when elections are scheduled in the municipality of Lochristi-Wachtebeke.

Vermeersch is on the list on behalf of the liberal party Open Vlaanderen. He has been a councilor in the municipality of Lochristi, which is merged with Wachtebeke, for six years. "I have been a municipal councilor since 2018," he tells HLN. "A fun and educational period, but when they recently asked if I wanted to do it again, I hesitated. I am recovering from a fractured femur and would like to do a lot of races in the autumn, just around the time of the elections."

And yet Vermeersch is back on the list. A conscious choice for the long term, he says. "It is my ambition to move up a gear in politics only after my career. If I were to leave now and have little involvement for six years, I would have missed a large amount of information and file knowledge within six or twelve years."

While the Flemish is politically active, his colleagues are often a lot less so, says the Lotto Dstny rider when asked whether he ever talks about politics with riders.

"Sometimes. During my altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada, I watched 'The Conclave' together with Brent Van Moer and Cedric Beullens. The leaders were quite enthusiastic about it. Then we discuss it and you notice that everyone has a different point of view. But I think most of them are barely interested in it and don't have a good image of my colleagues. I sometimes feel like I have to justify myself. My goal is to help people."

Vermeersch also thinks that many colleagues vote on the right. "They often think that cyclists pay too much tax. And yet politics is not just about money."

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