Gerben Thijssen in stable condition
Lotto Zesdaagse Gent
On Saturday 24 August, the 74th Vuelta a España will be kicked off with a team time trial in Torrevieja. Lotto Soudal will be at the start with these eight riders: Sander Armée (33), Thomas De Gendt (32), Carl Fredrik Hagen (27), Tomasz Marczyński (35), Tosh Van der Sande (28), Brian van Goethem (28), Harm Vanhoucke (22) and Jelle Wallays (30). This team of attackers will hunt for stage success in Spain. In the past, Armée, De Gendt, Marczyński and Wallays have been able to win one or multiple stages in La Vuelta. Hagen, van Goethem and Vanhoucke will make their Grand Tour debut.
Sander Armée will ride the Vuelta for the fifth time in his career. During the 2017 edition, the 33-year-old super domestique captured his first and at the moment only professional victory by completing an early breakaway and finishing solo in Santo Toribio de Liébana. Armée will undoubtedly want to show his aggressive style of racing and climbing abilities once again this year.
After the Giro and Tour, Thomas De Gendt will be at the start of his third Grand Tour of the season. Last year, his never-ending urge to attack was rewarded with the mountains jersey; that way, he became the eighth Belgian to take home this jersey after a Grand Tour. Following a first stage victory at the Vuelta in 2017, the breakaway king will for sure target new successes.
Carl Fredrik Hagen sees a strong first season at Lotto Soudal rewarded with a Vuelta selection. The 27-year-old Norwegian will ride his first ever Grand Tour and will find the ideal terrain to show his climbing qualities. Also youngster Harm Vanhoucke makes his Grand Tour debut at La Vuelta and will be able to gather experience on his favourite mountainous terrain. Just like Hagen and Vanhoucke, Brian van Goethem will for the first time get a taste of what it’s like to be racing for three consecutive weeks.
Jelle Wallays will head towards La Vuelta for the fourth time, a race in which he took a sensational win last year. During stage eighteen - on the way to Lleida - the 30-year-old Belgian defended together with his two breakaway companions a small advantage all day long, but a strong and smart Wallays played it cool, resisted to the chasing peloton and triumphed. Tomasz Marczyński will be at the start of La Vuelta for the fourth time. The Polish climber could celebrate twice in the 2017 edition; Tomasz won both the sixth and twelfth stage. This year’s Vuelta will be the fifth participation for Tosh Van der Sande. The 28-year-old Belgian can rely on his strong sprint at the end of a hard day, which already resulted in various top ten results in the final Grand Tour of the season. Tosh already proved to be in excellent shape with his recent stage victory in the Tour de Wallonie.
Line-up La Vuelta Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Thomas De Gendt, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Tomasz Marczyński, Tosh Van der Sande, Brian van Goethem, Harm Vanhoucke and Jelle Wallays.