Lotto Soudal announces plans for 2022: Ewan targets Sanremo, Gilbert the Ardennes and Vermeersch the cobbles
During the annual press day of Lotto Soudal the plans of the team leaders were announced. Sprinter Caleb Ewan aims for stage wins in Giro and Tour again, Philippe Gilbert hopes to end his career in style and will be present in all the hilly Classics and Florian Vermeersch hopes to excel in the Flemish Classics.
Caleb Ewan (5 stages in the Tour de France and 5 stages in the Giro d’Italia on his palmares) targets the Tour and Giro yet again this year. “I really appreciate that the team is giving me the confidence again to go for stage wins in those big races”, says the Australian top sprinter. “Last year the guys did a great job helping me get two stage wins in the Giro. I was unlucky in the Tour, but I am ready to show myself again this year amongst the best riders in the world.”
Also in cycling monument Milan-Sanremo Caleb Ewan hopes to achieve a good result. “My two earlier second places prove that I can come a long way in Milan-Sanremo. The team has helped me to prepare myself perfectly this winter, so I believe that we can deliver a top performance this year again.”
Races for Caleb Ewan: Saudi Tour, UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France.
In his last year as a professional rider, Philippe Gilbert focuses again on the races he has excelled in throughout his career. “I am very motivated to end my career in a positive way”, says the winner of 4 out of 5 cycling monuments. “It is nice to be able to do all the races in which I have had so many good moments once again. If I see how hard we have worked with all the team and everyone around it, I think we will have a very nice spring season.”
Races for Philippe Gilbert: Challenge Mallorca, Tour de Provence, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Le Samyn, Paris-Nice, Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Catalunya, Volta Limburg Classic, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallone, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Florian Vermeersch, second in last year’s Paris-Roubaix, looks forward yet again to the cobbled Classics. “Last year’s Paris-Roubaix was a dream, a wonderful day”, says the 22-year old rider, who recently prolonged his contract at Lotto Soudal until 2024. “Although Paris-Roubaix of 2021 is not even that long ago, I am very eager once again for the spring classics of next season. I think everything is there in our team to make it a good one. I will be doing most spring Classics this year, although we will be monitoring very closely how fit I am. Depending on that, some races may be left out of my actual calendar.”
Races for Florian Vermeersch: Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Brabantse Pijl, Paris-Roubaix, Vuelta a Espana.
Victor Campenaerts returned to Lotto Soudal this winter. He left as a time trial specialist and came back as a Classic rider. “This year I will focus mainly on the Classics with a status just under the monuments. Le Samyn, Dwars door Vlaanderen: those are races fit for me. But also in the biggest races I hope to achieve great results with the team. We are here with a very young and eager team, and I am looking forward to race together with them.”
Races for Victor Campenaerts: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Bredene Koksijde Classic, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Paris-Roubaix.
For Thomas De Gendt this year, again it is all about the tough days in stage races. “A lot of hard work has been put in with the team until now”, says the winner of stages in all three week stage races. “The atmosphere at camp is very positive, I am looking forward to race again. Paris-Nice, the Tour of Catalunya and also the Giro d’Italia are all races where I have shown myself. Hopefully this year I can do it again.”
Races for Thomas De Gendt: GP la Marseillaise, UAE Tour, Paris-Nice, Tour of Catalunya, Giro d’Italia.
Whenever the road rises, Andreas Kron is in his element. The 23-year-old Danish rider won stages in Catalunya and Suisse last year and will focus on the hill Classics and a possible Tour debut this year. “The team places a lot of confidence in me and I am very motivated to return their trust with good results. I am confident that not only me, but the whole team will have a very good season.”
Races for Andreas Kron: Challenge Mallorca, Jaén Paraiso Interior, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Tour de l’Ardeche, Drôme Classic, Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallon, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Brent Van Moer was a stage winner in last year’s Dauphiné. This year his first targets are the Classics. “Nokere Koerse, Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Flèche Brabançonne: those races suit me and I want to show myself there. The team sticks together very well and I feel that we will achieve nice things.”
Races for Brent Van Moer: Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Flèche Brabançonne, Paris-Roubaix.
For Tim Wellens the hill Classics remain his favourite terrain. “I am doing the races that I love to ride and that suit me best. As always, I hope to be good from the start of the season. But my main goals will come after Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Races for Tim Wellens: Challenge Mallorca, Jaén Paraiso Interior, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta Limburg Classic, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallon, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Arnaud De Lie goes into his first pro season with good hope. Without pressure he can get acquainted with the Classics at Lotto Soudal. “It would be nice to be able to ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen in my first year as a pro. My participation will depend on how I react on my first pro races. Anyhow I am very happy with the chances I get at the team and the plan that we have made together.”
Races for Arnaud De Lie: Challenge Mallorca, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, GP Jean-Pierre Monseré, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs.