Lotto-Soudal Cycling Team (Belgium) - Press Release: 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.
“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.