The Italian rider Matteo Trentin sprinted to victory on the last stage of La Vuelta. Chris Froome won the GC. As La Vuelta has come to an end it’s time to look back on the past few weeks. Lotto Soudal came to the start in Nîmes with one objective: to win a stage. Twenty-one stages later, the team has achieved way more than its original goal. Tomasz Marczynski took the pressure off the team’s shoulders when he claimed his first stage win in Sagunt. He did it again one week later on the twelfth stage, after an impressive solo to the line in Antequera. In the third week, Sander Armée and Thomas De Gendt won back to back on the eighteenth and nineteenth stage, which brought Lotto Soudal’s number of stage wins to four!

The team rode aggressively throughout the race and was ultimately rewarded. The team will come home with nice memories, but also with some disappointments. Jens Debusschere crashed out of the race on the ninth stage and Jelle Wallays crashed on the fourth day, but he could continue the race. Maxime Monfort was forced to abandon the race in the third week, due to illness. How does sports director Mario Aerts look back on La Vuelta?

Mario Aerts, sports director La Vuelta: “My general feeling after the race is of course very positive. We would have been happy with one stage win, and we now have four. It doesn’t get any better than that. I expected De Gendt to be able to win a stage, but the three other victories came as a very pleasing surprise. Debusschere’s and Monfort’s withdrawals were for sure two disappointments for the team, but these things happen in races and we had to accept it. When Jens crashed, it was immediately clear that he couldn’t go on as his knee was too severely hurt and when Jelle Wallays hit the deck, it didn’t look good either. But fortunately, Jelle is a very tough rider and he was able to finish the race. Hats off to him. This edition of La Vuelta featured only a few opportunities for the sprinters, so Jens’s withdrawal had only a small impact on the team’s tactics. We had previously said that we were here to try to win out of the breakaways. We certainly had less chance in the sprints, but for the rest we were able to keep attacking.”

“After Tomasz’s first stage win, everyone stayed focused because all nine riders wanted to try to win a stage. The more we won, the more we wanted to win. We really had the grinta: we kept fighting and trying. Adam Hansen extended his Grand Tour record, as he now has completed nineteen consecutive Grand Tours. Thomas De Gendt completed his trilogy; he has now won a stage in Giro, Tour and Vuelta. This gives also a special dimension to our Vuelta campaign, especially for Thomas. It made his stage win even more special.”

“Rémy Mertz rode his first Grand Tour ever and his main objective was to learn as much as he could and to cross the finish line in Madrid. He had some tough times but that’s perfectly normal in a three-week race where the pace is really high every day. I think he learnt a lot during this Vuelta and he managed to finish the race, so mission accomplished.”