Jim Aernouts was an outstanding road captain for six years with Baloise Trek
Even among diehard cyclocross fans, Jim Aernouts’ name may not be top of mind.
The 31-year-old Belgian scored junior and U23 national titles in his younger days, and occasionally challenged for podiums throughout his elite career. In 2019, he had one of his best seasons, winning two C1-level races in Slovakia and taking third at Jingle Cross in Iowa City.
Still, on a team with stars like Toon Aerts and Lucinda Brand, he often didn’t receive the spotlight. Inside the Baloise Trek program, however, he is considered a road captain and mentor for younger riders, proving that sometimes it’s impossible to see someone’s importance from the outside.
After six seasons within the Lions organization, Aernouts will be retiring from cyclocross in March to run a restaurant that he bought with his wife, who is a chef. Though Baloise Trek riders and staff will be happy to have a new place to grab team dinners, they are heartbroken to see one of their favorite teammates go.
As a tribute to Aernouts’ contributions to the team, they made a video discussing his legacy. Even if you don’t speak Dutch, it’s easy to see the love he inspires within the team.
Chapeau, Jim! And best of luck on your new adventures.
We know where we’ll be eating next time we’re in Belgium.