What's Cool In Road Cycling

Already a Successful Season for our U23 Team

The U23 team of Lotto Soudal has had a successful season so far, with already more than a dozen victories in club races and also victories in regional races. This year there are eleven first-year U23 riders in the team and seven second-years. The goals for this season were adapted to the fact that it is such a young team, but the riders perform better than expected.

Kurt Van de Wouwer, head sports department U23: “We started this season with a lot of new riders in the team and mainly first-years. The guys surprised us, and themselves, by performing so strong already and by achieving some beautiful victories. When they entered the U23 category they didn’t know what to expect. They are getting better thanks to each other, there is a healthy dose of competition. If your teammates perform well, you want to do that as well. Now and then there is a strong generation and that is the case now with the riders born in 1997. Also the riders born in 1991, among other Tim Wellens, were such a strong generation. We knew that the riders we had signed were capable of something. Stan Dewulf was second at the European Championships for juniors last year, while Aaron Verwilst was fourth, so they already played a role at European level. That doesn’t mean though, that it is easy to do so well in the U23 category. Our riders really exceeded the expectations.”

“Victories that stand out are the stage win and overall victory of Bjorg Lambrecht at the Ronde de l’Isard. He won the first stage and wore the leader’s jersey from start to finish. Harm Van Houcke won a mountain stage at the Tour de Savoie, where also two continental teams were racing. The victory of our team at the Belgian Team Time Trial Championships in the beginning of this month is also a performance we can be proud of. We already gathered the riders (Dewulf, Goolaerts, Leysen, Shaw, Van Gompel and Vanreyten, LTS) a few days before the race to train on the course. A team victory is always nice. Those Belgian Championships were also a race of the Top Competition and with one more stage to go we lead the team classification. This year this wasn’t a goal of us because we have such a young team, but it looks like we will win the team classification for the fifth consecutive year.”

“There are some nice goals still coming up. On 14 August the Belgian Road Race Championships take place and we have a chance to win with fast riders like Edward Planckaert, Milan Menten and Enzo Wouters. I also expect that riders of our team will be selected for the World Championships. There are also some more beautiful stage races on the calendar like the Valle d’Aosta (13 – 17 July), the Tour de Liège (18 – 22 July) and Tour d’Alsace (27 – 31 July).”

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