Lotto-Soudal Team (Belgium) – In 2018 and 2019 Lawrence Naesen will ride in the shirt of Lotto Soudal. The 25-year-old Belgian was part of WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect this year and in June he conquered a nice third place in Ride Bruges, behind Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. Naesen won three national races this year. Lawrence is the younger brother of Belgian champion Oliver Naesen.
Lawrence Naesen: “It’s a dream for each sportsman to perform on the highest level. That dream is coming true for me and that’s wonderful. It’s going fast, because I only started cycling when I was twenty. It was my brother who instigated me to get on the bike and I immediately enjoyed it. Oliver also helped me to find my first team. My brother played an important role in the fact that I have become a cyclist. I have deliberately chosen not to ride with him in the same team though. I want to have my own pro career.”
“There are several reasons why I wanted to sign a contract with Lotto Soudal. Riding in a Belgian team is special for a Belgian rider. I also know several riders in the team and that will help me to set this new step.”
“Next season, I will be able to learn a lot in the races at the highest level. The past years I set some big steps and I want to keep on working to make progress. I can survive tough races and I’m fast at the finish. I have proven that I can play along for victory in 1.1 races and I want to show that next year too. It’s a motivation to do as good as Oliver and to even do better. For the spectators it is nice to see us battle against each other.”
Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “Lawrence hasn’t been racing that long, but he has already shown he has guts. And let that be something we missed in the first part of this season. We hope that someone like Lawrence can give a boost to the team. Of course we will give him sufficient time to grow. He has the capabilities to become a valuable WorldTour rider. He nor we know his limits, but we didn’t want to let him slip through our fingers. Of all riders that weren’t part of the World Tour the past season, he is one of the riders who has shown the most potential. I am very glad to have him in our team next year. First of all to reinforce our team in the spring, but Lawrence is capable of riding a very broad programme and we’ll see where that takes us together.”