As from the first of August, three Lotto Soudal U23 riders will be a trainee at the pro team for the remainder of the season. The three are Senne Leysen, Emiel Planckaert and Mathias Van Gompel.

Senne Leysen is in his third year at the U23 level, in which he showed his time trialling capabilities. Last May, he was crowned Belgian champion against the clock for U23 riders and he finished third in the time trial in a strong field in the Giro d’Italia U23. Next to that, he has also shown his classics capabilities by finishing ninth in Paris Roubaix for Espoirs.

Emiel Planckaert is a third-year Espoir as well, just as Senne Leysen. He is the true definition of an all-rounder, as he is able to compete in both the Flemish and the Walloon classics. Next to that, he has proven himself in stage races as well. In the tough Tour de l’Isard, he finished seventh overall after two top ten places.

In his final year at U23 level, Mathias Van Gompel has repeatedly shown his qualities in the prestigious Lotto Top Competition for Espoirs. He rode at a very high and constant level, which results in a current second place in the overall standings, with one race remaining. He has a lot of power which makes that he can still go strong at the end of a race.

Kurt Van de Wouwer, head department of sports Lotto Soudal U23: “It will be the first time these three riders will compete at the professional level. This is an opportunity for them to show their qualities in the pro peloton. They are given a unique chance, which they should grasp with both hands.”

“The trainees won’t participate in WorldTour races, but there are plenty of races on the calendar in August and September, so they will definitely get their chance. We chose for these three, as they are ready to compete. Their profiles and their programme fit the team perfectly for the upcoming races this fall.”

“The goal for Senne, Emiel and Mathias is to acquire as much experience as possible during this period. It’s a way for them to see how a race is ridden in the pro peloton and it is an opportunity to measure themselves against the pro riders, to check if they are ready for the professional level. We don’t expect them to compete for the race victory, but it is important that they do what is asked from them, whether that is pulling at the front of the peloton or trying to be in an early breakaway. If it would result in a nice outcome, that would be all the better.”