Team will start in Tour of Britain, sponsor Soudal is very pleased
Six Lotto Soudal riders cross the Channel to take part in the Tour of Britain as of Sunday 6 September. This is an eight-day Europe Tour stage race. André Greipel already rode this race once, in 2010, and won three of the eight stages then. In this edition his opponents are among other local hero Mark Cavendish, Moreno Hofland and Elia Viviani. Apart from Greipel Lotto Soudal has another fast guy in the team: Jens Debusschere.
The Tour of Britain visits Wales, Scotland and England. The final stage takes place in London. It’s definitely not an easy course and there are opportunities for adventurers. What are the expectations of sports director Bart Leysen?
Bart Leysen: “We aim for a stage win in Great-Britain, the GC isn’t a goal for us. It’s most likely that Jens Debusschere or André Greipel will win a stage. For André this is the last straight line towards the World Championships. Jens Debusschere made a strong impression on the tough course in Plouay, he can definitely aim for a victory on the more selective courses in Great-Britain. We won’t be riding defensively. Sean De Bie and Pim Ligthart are perfectly suited to join a breakaway. Our trainee Frederik Frison is also free to attack on days that we won’t aim for a sprint. We want to offer him opportunities to show himself.”
“It’s difficult to compare the Tour of Britain to another stage race, it probably is most comparable to the Tour de Luxembourg. Almost every day the peloton races on what you can call a classic Ardennes course, often on narrow roads where it’s not easy to control. Especially the finish of the fifth stage is hard. The London criterium is nice to finish this race, it’s perfect for the sprinters.”
The two successful Grand Départs – of the Tour 2007 in London and the Tour 2014 in Leeds – showed the huge interest of the people across the Channel in cycling. This is the twelfth consecutive edition of the Tour of Britain. In June there was already a Women’s Tour in which the Lotto Soudal Ladies participated. Sponsor Soudal, for which the UK is an important consumers’ market, is enthusiastic about the attendance of Lotto Soudal in the Tour of Britain.
Marko Heijl, Sponsoring and PR manager Soudal: “For Soudal it’s important that Lotto Soudal races in Great-Britain as the United Kingdom is one of our fastest growing consumers’ markets, we are represented all over the country. That’s why we are so pleased to hear that Lotto Soudal takes part in the Tour of Britain. Great-Britain has lots of potential in cycling, that was already proven in the past with the Tour start in Yorkshire, the success of the Women’s Tour and the previous editions of the Tour of Britain. The crowds are huge, it’s also good for the sport that cycling broadens its horizons. As a name sponsor of Lotto Soudal, with interests in the UK, we are very satisfied that the team has such a strong representation for the Tour of Britain, in a race of such a high level. Soudal hopes the team will continue its successful season on British soil.”
Selection Lotto Soudal:
Sean De Bie, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Pim Ligthart and Marcel Sieberg.
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Marc Wauters.
Stage 1: Sunday 6 September: Beaumaris – Wrexham (177.7 km)
Stage 2: Monday 7 September: Clitheroe – Colne (159.3 km)
Stage 3: Tuesday 8 September: Cockermouth – Floors Castle (216 km)
Stage 4: Wednesday 9 September: Edinburgh – Blyth (217.4 km)
Stage 5: Thursday 10 September: Prudhoe – Hartside Fell (166.4 km)
Stage 6: Friday 11 September: Stoke-on-Trent – Nottingham (192.7 km)
Stage 7: Saturday 12 September: Fakenham – Ipswich (227.4 km)
Stage 8: Sunday 13 September: London – London (86.8 km).