10-hour work shifts before training: What it took for Oliver Naesen to turn pro at 25

'If they'd given me a contract for 10 years I would have signed it,' says the Belgian, as he re-lives his journey to becoming a cyclist for a living

"There's this thing in Belgium where if you're aged 22 or older and you're not pro yet it's not going to happen. I won my first race at 22, the smallest race you can imagine, that's not going to cut it with getting a pro contract somewhere."

Oliver Naesen is now one of the first names on peoples' lips when they draw up a shortlist of winners for one-day races, but it wasn't always that way.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.