Teams & Riders Lotto Soudal Cycling Team

Couldn't find a team thread for Lotto Soudal so I took the liberty of making one.

Describing themselves as "the oldest pro cycling team in the world", Lotto has been a main sponsor since 1985 with Soudal coming on board in 2015 (although the latter are set to move over to Deceuninck–Quick-Step in 2023). Since the founding of the team they have won over a thousand professional races.

Caleb Ewan recently extended his contract until 2024 but there's been some unfortunate news out of the team in the last couple of days with Harry Sweeny breaking his collarbone at the Tour of Denmark yesterday, while Ewan is not yet fully recovered from his collarbone break at the TDF so will miss the Vuelta. Jasper De Buyst had been previously ruled out after a collision with a car while training a fortnight ago and the team have now announced a young lineup with an average age of 24 and a focus on hilly and mountain stage hunting.



“Due to the absence of Caleb Ewan and Jasper De Buyst, we needed to adjust our Vuelta line-up, which is now more focused towards the hilly and mountain stages”, says Nikolas Maes. “Guys like Andreas Kron and Harm Vanhoucke have already proven that they can obtain some nice results. They will be supported by Steff Cras, Matthew Holmes, Sylvain Moniquet and Maxim Van Gils. With Frederik Frison and Florian Vermeersch, we have two powerhouses in our team. Overall, our selection doesn’t have a ton of Grand Tour experience yet, but they all have big potential. I am convinced that each one of them will prove himself at La Vuelta. With these young guys, we certainly can’t expect them to be there every day, but our ambition is to win a stage, which is in my opinion more than justified with this team. We will mainly be aiming at the transition stages and the tough uphill finishes. On paper, there are some really nice opportunities to show ourselves.”

 
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You could say it's a pretty weak team without Ewan or Wellens, but it's a quite interesting one. It misses a young sprinter, but with Vanhoucke, Krön and Van Gils there's a lot to look forward to in the harder stages. Krön has already proven he can win, Vanhoucke still waits on his first pro win but when he has good legs we all know he can climb like the best and Van Gils has been flying a bit under the radar this season, but had good performances in Suisse, Wallonie and San Sebastian, definitely knowing he was off the bike for a whole month due to a serious Covid infection after the Volta a Catalunya. Then there's Moniquet who is probably the first Walloon rider in a long time that didnt just get his WT contract because he's from that part of Belgium and Cras, who has been one of the unluckiest young pros in the peloton the last few seasons. Also interesting to see what Vermeersch can do in the TTs.

Good that there's finally a thread, I know not a lot of people are very interested in the Lotto team, probably cause it isn't the most sexy team and they haven't been performing very well the last 2 seasons, but I'll be posting in here quite often probably.

It's gonna be interesting to see what's gonna happen to the team after next year tho. Do they find a new sponsor? Will they stay in the WT? If they want to they're gonna need a good 2022. They're struggling to get into that top 18 that's necessary to make the sportive criteria to get a WT license for 2023 and onwards. I'm comlpletely fine with sitting out of most GC's because it's just way too expensive to get a good GC leader, but they're not getting enough points in classics, both big or small. Gilbert and Degenkolb were fails from Lelangue which makes the team miss out on the big points and they're just missing another fast man after Ewan who can rack up those points in smaller Belgian races that often ends in sprints from a reduced bunch. Lotto always races aggressively and good in those races, but in the end there's a sprint and they don't even make top 10. I expect 18y old Arnaud De Lie can fill up that gap in the upcoming years. He's that good that I wouldn't be surprised if he wins immediately as a pro next year. In the bigger races I wouldn't expect too much of next year either. They have Van Moer and Vermeersch who have the talent, but they're not explosive riders. Degenkolb leaves and let's be honest Gilbert won't get a good level anymore. I fear that they don't have the money to get another leader, plus I don't think there's anyone on the market who fits the team anyways. For now it looks like a lot of riders are leaving (Oldani, Vandersande, Goossens, Thijssen, Degenkolb, Marczynski and almost noone is coming in (apart from Selig and De Lie).
 
Dont forget Matt Holmes, he did well in breakaways in last year's Giro, could well do similar in the next three weeks.
I,m sure he will do more than forever be 'that guy who beat Richie on Wolloguha hill'.
 
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You could say it's a pretty weak team without Ewan or Wellens, but it's a quite interesting one. It misses a young sprinter, but with Vanhoucke, Krön and Van Gils there's a lot to look forward to in the harder stages. Krön has already proven he can win, Vanhoucke still waits on his first pro win but when he has good legs we all know he can climb like the best and Van Gils has been flying a bit under the radar this season, but had good performances in Suisse, Wallonie and San Sebastian, definitely knowing he was off the bike for a whole month due to a serious Covid infection after the Volta a Catalunya. Then there's Moniquet who is probably the first Walloon rider in a long time that didnt just get his WT contract because he's from that part of Belgium and Cras, who has been one of the unluckiest young pros in the peloton the last few seasons. Also interesting to see what Vermeersch can do in the TTs.
Just so you know, it's just 'Kron', no need for any German letters. ;)
 
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I mean they did have a good start last year too, but stopped getting good results and points when the actual (Flemish) classic season started. But it's definitely good for the moral. UCI points wise the next 2 weeks could be pretty bad for them tho if they don't get some GC results.

I expect 18y old Arnaud De Lie can fill up that gap in the upcoming years. He's that good that I wouldn't be surprised if he wins immediately as a pro next year.
I just realized I'm a genius
 
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Because they get absolutely no GC results which grants a lot of UCI points. They actually get quite a bit of wins compared to other teams in the bottom of the classification, but the point system is a bit messed up imo.
It's not the lack of GC results (they get a few in races like T-A, Poland and Benelux), it's the smaller one day races they haven't performed in or haven't gone to in the last 2 years while teams like Wanty, Arkea and Cofidis focus on them a lot. Pure WT wise they had 1000 more points than Wanty last year for example, but on the UCI ranking Wanty had 1000 more. Thats means Wanty made up 2000 points in non WT level races. It's insane. There's a million coupe de france races noone is interested in apart from some French teams and Wanty where you can get a lot of points and then there is some Belgian races too (even tho way more WT teams participate there) but they often end in a sprint and LTS didn't have a decent sprinter that participated in those.

If you want an example. Almeria this sunday gives 200 points for the winner. It's probably gonna be a sprint and you should look at the start list. Basically free points for a team like Arkea or Wanty if they send a sprinter there. LTS doesn't participate. At the same time they're getting a good amount of wins in stage races like you said, but they give you way less points even tho winning a stage in P-N or T-A for example is way harder than winning the Schaal Sels or Almeria.

Basically you get UCI points by getting lucky going to races where max. 3 or 4 WT are participating in but give you more points than winning stages in WT races. LTS focusses on WT (cause they're a WT team yk), but they're not a big budget team so they struggle to get lots of good results in those, thus end up without big points.

Obviously a season with 2 2nd places in monuments and 8 WT wins is way better than teams who have no decent GC result in an important race, 0 good results in monuments and 0, 1 or 3 WT wins, but the UCI ranking doesn't work that way.
 
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Me making a thread for De Lie or Van Gils will jinx their whole career. I'll be waiting till they win a monument and grand tour.

Very important - kinda unexpected - points if Van Gils holds on tmrw tho.
Well, i made the thread for Lambrecht so there could be worse things than jinxing their career. But maybe someone else is game.

Not sure the points are unexpected, listening to his interview, it was clearly the plan to go for GC from the beginning. Perhaps Lotto has been prepping these guys to snatch a lot of points early season when the others are still hibernating.
 
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Well, i made the thread for Lambrecht so there could be worse things than jinxing their career. But maybe someone else is game.

Not sure the points are unexpected, listening to his interview, it was clearly the plan to go for GC from the beginning. Perhaps Lotto has been prepping these guys to snatch a lot of points early season when the others are still hibernating.
With unexpected i ment getting first place, so 125 points (almost 150 in total with wins). I did hope for/expect a top 5 from Van Gils.

Yeah could be the case. Would be a smart move tbh. Also helps that LTS is riding more "smaller" races with some climbs in it (Saudi, Provence, Turkey, Hungary, etc.) giving their young climbers actually chances at winning or podium'ing a GC. Its been hard for a young GC rider to come in the WT at LTS in the past cause they were basically only riding WT stage races.

Anyways I do think it's a bit too early to make threads for them, especially Van Gils (De Lie will be an actual winner imo). This team thread is a good place to post about them for now I think.
 
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