Preview Six Days of Ghent with De Buyst and Van der Sande
"With my past, I can’t stand at the start without the ambition to win."
Now the final racing kilometres have been covered at the Tour of Guangxi, the 2018 season has come to an end for Lotto Soudal. The WorldTour team gathered 25 victories this year. An overview.
Lotto Soudal could celebrate early, thanks to two stage wins of André Greipel at the Tour Down Under. The German sprinter won the first and last stage in Australia. After he had been out of competition for several weeks due to a crash in Milan-Sanremo, Greipel made a successful comeback at 4 Jours de Dunkerque, where he also won two stages. On stage five Greipel didn’t win a sprint, but he won from a breakaway! It was his second solo victory ever. Next, the former German national champion won two stages in the Belgium Tour and also at the Tour of Britain in September Greipel claimed two stage wins.
On March 3 Tiesj Benoot won Strade Bianche in an impressive manner. He finished solo on Il Campo in Siena at the end of a wet and muddy edition of this young Classic.
Tim Wellens was responsible for seven of the 25 Lotto Soudal victories. After winning one of the Trofeo’s of the Challenge Mallorca, he won a stage and the GC of the Ruta del Sol a few weeks later. In spring, Tim Wellens conquered the highest podium spot at the Brabantse Pijl. Tiesj Benoot joined him on stage that day as third. In May, Tim Wellens sprinted uphill to victory on the fourth Giro stage, his second stage win ever in this Grand Tour. In July, Wellens triumphed at Tour de Wallonie, claiming a stage win and the overall classification. Jens Debusschere was the fastest in the fifth stage of the Tour de Wallonie.
As mentioned earlier, André Greipel won twice for Lotto Soudal at the Belgium Tour, but also Jelle Vanendert won one of the five stages. Vanendert – who finished third at Flèche Wallonne one month before - was the best in the Ardennes stage, his second pro victory after winning a Tour stage in 2011. Jens Keukeleire completed the team’s success by winning the GC of the Belgium Tour. While his teammates won in the team’s home country, neo-pro Bjorg Lambrecht took his first pro win in Norway, as he won the third stage of Tour des Fjords.
The last Lotto Soudal victory of 2018 was conquered by Jelle Wallays, who successfully finished off an early breakaway on the eighteenth Vuelta stage. It was the second win of the season for the Belgian rider, after winning the sixth stage of the Vuelta a San Juan in January. Not only Wallays delivered success at the Vuelta; Thomas De Gendt won the KOM classification. De Gendt couldn’t win a stage at the Vuelta, but he did win a stage at the Volta a Catalunya and Tour de Romandie.
Lotto Soudal’s WorldTour team also has a Belgian national champion in the team since this summer. Victor Campenaerts was the fastest at the Belgian Time Trial Championship. In August he prolonged his European time trial title. At the Worlds in Innsbruck Campenaerts set the third time in the time trial, conquering a bronze medal. Also his Lotto Soudal teammate Bjorg Lambrecht could take a medal home. He got second in the U23 road race.
Take a look at the photo album here
The 25 victories
1. Tour Down Under Stage 1 (2.UWT) - André Greipel
2. Tour Down Under Stage 6 (2.UWT) - André Greipel
3. Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana (1.1) - Tim Wellens
4. Vuelta a San Juan Stage 6 (2.1) - Jelle Wallays
5. Ruta del Sol Stage 4 (2.HC) - Tim Wellens
6. Ruta del Sol GC (2.HC) - Tim Wellens
7. Strade Bianche (1.UWT) - Tiesj Benoot
8. Volta a Catalunya Stage 3 (2.UWT) - Thomas De Gendt
9. De Brabantse Pijl (1.HC) - Tim Wellens
10. Tour de Romandie Stage 2 (2.UWT) - Thomas De Gendt
11. Giro d’Italia Stage 4 (2.UWT) - Tim Wellens
12. 4 Jours de Dunkerque Stage 2 (2.HC) - André Greipel
13. 4 Jours de Dunkerque Stage 5 (2.HC) - André Greipel
14. Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 1 (2.HC) - André Greipel
15. Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 2 (2.HC) - André Greipel
16. Tour des Fjords Stage 3 (2.HC) - Bjorg Lambrecht
17. Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 4 (2.HC) - Jelle Vanendert
18. Baloise Belgium Tour GC (2.HC) - Jens Keukeleire
19. Belgian Time Trial Championship - Victor Campenaerts
20. Tour de Wallonie Stage 2 (2.HC) - Tim Wellens
21. Tour de Wallonie Stage 5 (2.HC) - Jens Debusschere
22. Tour de Wallonie GC (2.HC) - Tim Wellens
23. Tour of Britain Stage 1 (2.HC) - André Greipel
24. Tour of Britain Stage 4 (2.HC) - André Greipel
25. Vuelta a España Stage 18 (2.UWT) - Jelle Wallays