Lotto Soudal at the Vuelta

With helmets and Ekoï glasses

Lotto Soudal at the Vuelta
Published on 2021-08-13 12:13:23
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.


Guillaume Martin wins the Tour de l'Ain

with Ekoï Gara helmet and Ekoï Premium 70 glasses

At the start of this 2nd stage of the 34th edition of the Tour de l'Ain, 142.5 km were on the program. 4 difficulties were listed including 2 passage up the Col de Portes and a finish after a final descent to Lagnieu. The Cofidis team had already worked the day before during the sprint to protect Guillaume Martin, allowing him to arrive in the peloton and thus not lose time on the favorites. A revenge on bad luck It was a small breakaway that formed early in the stage. It was quickly controlled so that the favorites could play for victory and the overall classification. At the briefing, the plan was precise : Start riding and displaying their ambitions on the 3rd climb of the day, the Côte de Seillonnaz to put Guillaume Martin in orbit. Around him, Ruben Fernandez, François Bidard and then Rémy Rochas (victim of a fall without gravity during the 1st stage) did not count their efforts to support their leader. In the last kilometer, Guillaume Martin produced his effort in turn. His acceleration is decisive: the Norman can raise his arms, finally, as an illustration of the collective strength of the team. Everyone knows that the taste of victory is rare in cycling, making victory even more beautiful. Guillaume Martin had not won since the Mercan'Tour Classic last year, and now has 8 professional successes to his credit. This moment of joy is also a revenge on bad luck, a few weeks after his hasty departure from the Tour de France due to a positive test for Covid-19. Now, the team will work hard, again, to defend its leader's jersey and give Cofidis another stage race victory this season. They said Guillaume Martin: "I'm obviously very happy to have been able to...

A stage on the GIRO for Thomas De Gendt

with EKOÏ AR14 helmet and EKOÏ TWENTY glasses

Thomas De Gendt adds another memorable victory to his list. In the eighth stage of the Giro, with departure and arrival in Naples, De Gendt, with his teammates Harm Vanhoucke and Sylvain Moniquet, was part of a breakaway of more than twenty riders. On a difficult circuit around Monte Procida, the early breakaway gradually thinned out and after some tactical play five riders broke away, including teammates De Gendt and Vanhoucke. The five riders never got much ahead of the first pursuers and in the last kilometers, the Van der Poel - Girmay duo almost came back. It was finally Vanhoucke who started the sprint for De Gendt to finish the job. This is his second stage victory in the Giro, ten years after his first on the legendary ascent of the Stelvio. "Today I really had a great day and with three teammates in the breakaway we were able to play a bit," said De Gendt afterwards. "We played perfectly. Due to illness and bad luck, I haven't been able to achieve the performances I wanted in recent years and that's why this win feels maybe even more special than the one on the Stelvio." "I even doubted that I would come to the start of this Giro in good shape. But this victory proves that I am back. This stage reminded me of Barcelona's stage during the Volta a Catalunya. The succession of climbs where it's hard to recover suits me well, so I rode at a tight pace the whole time to really give no one a break." "I know I'm fast after a stage like this, I still felt strong and I bet on the sprint. Harm played the team game perfectly in the last kilometers with Van der Poel and Girmay who were really getting closer. Three hundred meters from the finish, I gave it my all and that...


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