Ewan, De Buyst and Kluge re-sign already. Two more years with Lotto Soudal.
Lightning sprint train till 2022
Lotto Soudal is pleased to announce that Philippe Gilbert will strengthen the team from next season. The 37-year-old Belgian, currently riding for Deceuninck - Quick Step, signed a three-year agreement. That way, Gilbert returns to the team in which he celebrated his first big successes, such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour of Lombardy, the Amstel Gold Race and the Tour de France opening stage (2011). The world champion of 2012 discusses the choice for Lotto Soudal and is looking forward to starting a second chapter with the team.
Philippe Gilbert: “I still wanted to race, without any doubt. When I learned that I could prolong at my current team for only one year, it was clear to me that I wanted to change. The clearest interest and project was the one of Lotto Soudal. Of course, I know the team, a lot of riders and staff are no strangers to me, I know the spirit and I will again be part of a Belgian project.”
“I am very happy that we reached an agreement quite quickly. I know John Lelangue from my period at BMC as a person who highly values organisation and discipline. I achieved my first big successes together with sports manager Marc Sergeant. Primarily, my goals are to be found in the one-day races and the big Classics. Lotto Soudal gets stronger and stronger, we need to fight against the absolute top teams, not by expressing big ambitions beforehand, but by getting results.”
“The past few years, I watched the team from outside and I think they maybe lacked a real leader in those races. I want to try to lift the team to a higher level, by performing myself but also by making other riders better. It gives me just as much pleasure if they would show themselves important or if they would be able to win. I know a couple of guys from the national team, others like Wellens and Ewan live nearby. Maxime Monfort and I almost have the same age and I have been racing against some others for several years.”
“Discipline and joy are the key factors to stay a pro cyclist for so long. I still leave for training at the same hour, I do what I have to do, I don’t skip training rides,... That and a strong body help to stay competitive at a high level. At the BinckBank Tour, the Vuelta, the World Championships and the Tour of Lombardy, I want to conclude my time at Deceuninck - Quick Step as good as possible, preferably with a victory.”
Sports manager Marc Sergeant is of course happy with Philippe Gilbert joining the team. According to Sergeant, Gilbert his role within Lotto Soudal will be twofold. On the one hand, sharing his wide experience with the teammates, on the other hand, to get nice results himself, for the team.
Sports manager Marc Sergeant: “Of course, we know Philippe from his first period at the team. At that time, I was urging for a transfer to the Lotto team, almost on a yearly basis. He laid the foundations for the rider he did become with us, an achievement that, mainly, only he needs to be credited for. Afterwards, he further built his impressive career and palmares. In the first part of his career, he mainly targeted the Walloon Classics, but when you see that he also added the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix to his palmares… Chapeau! That is important as an example towards others and without any doubt, a lot of people will admire him.”
“Meanwhile, he has so much experience, he won all Monuments, except for one, and he can pass on his experience to the current team, which is hungry for new success. His age is a relative term, you are as old or fit as you feel. He still has that big urge to prove himself and he is go-getter, that is his secret. In terms of race schedule, it has always been a rider who is active from February till October. Certain Flemish and Walloon Classics are perfectly compatible, to play a decisive role himself or to pass on his experience and strengthen the team.”
John Lelangue, general manager at Lotto Soudal, mentions several reasons why Philippe Gilbert means an important addition to the team.
General manager John Lelangue: “There are several reasons why Philippe Gilbert is an important transfer for us. Firstly, he is a complete leader, with his palmares, with the evolution he made throughout his career and with his personality. That is why we really wanted him with us, to highlight the DNA of the team more clearly in the one-day races. Of all the active riders, he has the biggest one-day races palmares; he knows what it takes to win.”
“I worked with Philippe at BMC and I got to know him as a charismatic but human leader of the group and a motivator for the young guys. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to pass on his extensive experience to Bjorg, but other riders can learn a lot from Philippe. He gives his teammates a lot of advice and tries to lead the way for them. And his offensive way of racing is of course also an important factor.”
“Everybody knows that we want to keep on taking a prominent role in the one-day races and during the stages of the longer races, and Philippe has already proven countless times to be successful there. After his crash in the Tour last year, he worked really hard to again reach the highest level, with the victory in Roubaix as the reward. We want to strive for podium places and victories, that’s what it’s all about, nothing else matters. That is why we have to build a team that can do so. And Philippe can be an important factor towards meeting those ambitions.”
Date of birth: 05/07/1982 - Verviers
Living in Monaco
Turned pro in 2003 with La Française des Jeux
1m79 - 69kg
75 pro victories
World champion road cycling - Valkenburg 2012
Tour of Flanders (2017)
2x Tour of Lombardy (2009, 2010)
4x Amstel Gold Race (2010, 2011, 2014, 2017)
3x stage victory Giro d’Italia
1x stage victory Tour de France
5x stage victory Vuelta a España
2x Belgian road cycling champion
1x Belgian time trial champion
Flèche Wallonne (2011), Flèche Brabançonne (2011, 2014), Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (2006, 2008), Clásica San Sebastián (2011), Paris-Tours (2008, 2009), ...