Updated on 2021-08-13 12:19:51
Here are the eight Lotto Soudal riders who will try to take a stage win in the 76th edition of the Tour of Spain: Steff Cras (25), Frederik Frison (29), Matthew Holmes (27), Andreas Kron (23), Sylvain Moniquet (23), Harm Vanhoucke (24), Maxim Van Gils (21) and Florian Vermeersch (22). Kron, Moniquet, Van Gils and Vermeersch will do their first laps in a grand tour. The Vuelta will start with a prologue in the streets of Burgos this Saturday, August 14, and will end three weeks later in Santiago de Compostela with an individual time trial. Sports director Nikolas Maes details Lotto Soudal's selection for the final grand tour of the season.
"With the absences of Caleb Ewan and Jasper De Buyst, we had to change our selection for the Tour of Spain. The team is more focused on the mountains," Nikolas Maes begins. "Boys like Andreas Kron and Harm Vanhoucke have often shown that they are capable of great things when the road gets higher. They will be supported by Steff Cras, Matthew Holmes, Sylvain Moniquet and Maxim Van Gils. With Frederik Frison and Florian Vermeersch, our team will also have two strong riders. Our selection does not have a lot of experience in the grand tours, but they are all high potential riders. I'm sure that each of them will have the opportunity to show themselves in this Vuelta. It's a young group and the riders won't be able to be at the front every day, but I think our goal of winning a stage is very achievable. We are mainly aiming for the transition stages and the summit finishes. On paper, there will be some great opportunities to show up."
Nikolas Maes: "Andreas Kron will be making his grand tour debut, but the young Dane is already showing a lot of maturity and with two wins this season, he has already shown what he is capable of. Andreas will be one of our spearheads in the transition stages and summit finishes. Harm Vanhoucke will leave the general classification of this Tour of Spain aside to focus on stage wins. His second place in the Tour de l'Ain shows that he is currently in very good shape. "
"Florian Vermeersch will also be racing his first grand tour. He will try to get into the fight in the sprints, but without any pressure. Florian will also be there to support his teammates, but he could also play his card in the transition stages. Frederik Frison has always been an added value for our team, he will mostly try to help Florian in the sprints but he could also do a good prologue or go in the breakaway."
"Matthew Holmes has already proven that he can spring a surprise in the long transition stages and he will most certainly have further opportunities to show himself. Maxim Van Gils has impressed with some very good results in his first few months as a professional. He will have some freedom for his very first grand tour. With his punch, he will be very complementary to Andreas Kron in the more difficult finishes. Because of Covid, Steff Cras hasn't been able to race much this season yet but he seemed to be on the rise at the Tour de l'Ain. The Vuelta should suit him perfectly. First grand tour for Sylvain Moniquet too, but like Maxim, there will be no pressure on his shoulders. I expect him to want to show himself though, concludes sport director Nikolas Maes.