With Lennert Van Eetvelt the Lotto Soudal Development Team delivers yet another talent to the WorldTour team. The 20-year-old Belgian has signed a contract for 2023 and 2024. The reigning Belgian U23 time trial champion, who got second this weekend in the U23 version of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, wants to further develop his qualities on all levels at Lotto Soudal.
At the moment, there are 13 riders in the Lotto Soudal WorldTour team with a history in the Development Team. The Development Team has been the final step-up to a professional career for many Belgian and foreign riders. Lennert Van Eetvelt will follow in the footsteps of amongst others Tim Wellens, Florian Vermeersch and Arnaud De Lie.
Best preparation for a pro career
“Our Development Team plays a crucial role within Belgian cycling”, says Lotto Soudal CEO John Lelangue. “The best U23 riders of the country can prepare themselves in a professional environment and in the toughest races at their level to make that final step to the pros. The three years in our Development Team will look good on Lennert Van Eetvelt’s resume for the rest of his career.”
Ready for the WorldTour
Van Eetvelt is known as a puncheur with a good time trial. “He is definitely ready for the step”, says Kurt Van de Wouwer, manager of the Lotto Soudal Development Team. “Van Eetvelt joined us in 2020, the ‘Covid year’. It was a season with few races for the U23s, which made it hard for them to show themselves. In 2021 he took a big step forward, with amongst others the Belgian time trial title, a 3rd spot at the Belgian road championship, a 5th spot at the European road championship and also an 8th spot in the Tour Alsace. This year he showed himself even stronger, with a 6th spot in Tour de Normandie, and last weekend a 2nd in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23. He is more than ready for the WorldTour.”
Van Eetvelt: ‘Lotto Soudal knows how to help young riders’
Van Eetvelt himself is looking forward to next year, but is still aiming for nice results at the U23s this season. “This is my third year at the Development Team now. I have already joined a training camp of the WorldTour team”, says Van Eetvelt. “Stepping up to the pros feels very natural and smooth. All those riders who have been there before me, show that Lotto Soudal knows how to help young riders when they turn pro.”
The third-year U23 rider hopes to further develop his qualities on all levels. “I am a puncheur, but can go a long way uphill too and I also have a good time trial. What type of rider I will become at the pros, I am yet to discover. But I am looking forward to developing myself into a strong pro rider.”