Sports director Mario Aerts explains Vuelta line-up
A team of attackers will aim for stage success.
While the Tour de France is coming to an end, another part of the Lotto Soudal team goes to the French speaking part of Belgium to participate in the GP Pino Cerami and the Tour de Wallonie. On Tuesday 25 July, the GP Pino Cerami takes place and on Saturday 27 July the Tour de Wallonie - a five-day Europe Tour stage race through the Walloon hills – starts. Sports director Bart Leysen looks ahead.
GP Pino Cerami
Bart Leysen: “Tuesday we start again with the GP Pino Cerami. For many riders, that’s the first race of the second part of the season. This race can be compared to the GP Le Samyn, because it’s also not that hard. There are some little hills, but mostly a big group heads to the finish line. The GP Pino Cerami is something for riders who are extremely motivated and who already have good legs. With Enzo Wouters and Gerben Thijssen, who by the way rides his first race as a pro, we have two fast men in our team. If it would come to a group sprint, we certainly got the right arms to fight with.”
“We always try to get the best possible result. We appear at the start with only one goal and that is winning. I will make sure that riders who feel good that day will get as much support as possible. There’s not really one man in particular considered to be the leader. It will rather be a matter of having a fast rider left in the finale.”
Tour de Wallonie
Bart Leysen: “The Tour de Wallonie consist of five stages of which the first one, in my opinion, is the hardest. That’s a stage through the Flemish Ardennes in which the riders have to conquer Hameau des Papins, Côte de Beau Site and the Kruisberg. I expect an immediate first selection there. The fourth stage to Lierneux is also one for the riders who are aiming for the overall win.”
“As for our team I rather think about the general classification than about stage wins. Tosh Van der Sande can handle that classification and he also has fast legs. Furthermore, we also have riders like Jelle Vanendert and Tomasz Marczyński who are in full preparation for the upcoming races. Another factor is that the race is in Belgium, so there won’t be any lack of motivation. The Wallonian region is becoming increasingly popular and the Tour de Wallonie isn’t considered as a small race anymore.”
“We have a team to race aggressively. We might not have the best finishers and that’s why we love to make the race as hard as possible. On the one hand the good results of our colleagues at the Tour de France take away the pressure, but on the other hand it pushes us more to perform equally well.”
Line up Lotto Soudal GP Cerami: Frederik Frison, Nikolas Maes, Rémy Mertz, Gerben Thijssen, Jelle Vanendert, Brian van Goethem and Enzo Wouters.
Line up Lotto Soudal Tour de Wallonie: Stan Dewulf, Frederik Frison, Nikolas Maes, Tomasz Marczyński, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Brent Van Moer.
Sports director: Bart Leysen.
Tuesday 25 July: Saint-Ghislain – Frameries (210 km)
Tour de Wallonie
Stage 1 Saturday 27 July: Le Roeulx – Dottignies (186.4 km)
Stage 2 Sunday 28 July: Waremme – Beyne Heusay (170.4km)
Stage 3 Monday 29 July: La Roche-en-Ardenne – Verviers (194.2 km)
Stage 4 Tuesday 30 July: Villers-le-Bouillet – Lierneux (178.2 km)
Stage 5 Wednesday 31 July: Couvin – Thuin (186.7 km)