Tim Wellens extends contract with Lotto-Soudal: I heard what other teams had to offer
May 02 2018 01:52 am CET

Tim Wellens extends contract with Lotto-Soudal: I heard what other teams had to offer
Tim Wellens extends contract with Lotto-Soudal: I heard what other teams had to offer
Photo of Tim Wellens (c)Lotto-Soudal

Tim Wellens has extended his contract with Lotto-Soudal. The Belgian rider is set to stay with the squad at least until the end of 2020.

Wellens, who was product of the U23 team of Kurt Van de Wouwer and transferred to the pro team in 2012, has 20 wins on his palmares including victories at the Eneco Tour, the Tour de Pologne, the Ruta del Sol and in stages of Paris-Nice, the Eneco Tour and the Giro d'Italia, among others.

"I love stability. For the first time in my career, my contract was about to end and that creates the opportunity to listen to other teams, to hear what they have to offer," the rider commented. "That flattered me, but I think I’m good here at Lotto Soudal and I want to be part of the plans that Paul De Geyter and Marc Sergeant have.

"I want to further develop myself. Of course, the one-day Classics will be marked in my agenda the next years too because they suit me very well, but I also want to evolve in stage races of five to ten days. I think I still have the potential to become a better time trialist, and the team has agreed to further work on that aspect. Time trialling is crucial in many stage races."

After signing his new contract, the Belgian can focus on his immediate future. "I think I can be satisfied with my victories in Mallorca and Ruta del Sol, but especially with Paris-Nice and the four Ardennes races," Wellens explained. "After Liège-Bastogne-Liège I started preparing for the Giro, my only Grand Tour of the season.

"In that rather short time I try to do sufficient extensive trainings, but maybe I will have a lack of intensity at the start of the Giro. I hope to use the first stages to get some intensity and then I hope to be able to play along for stage wins afterwards, as I did in 2016. But also further down the season I have goals set: Tour de Suisse, Tour de Wallonie, Eneco Tour and the Canadian races."

Sports manager Marc Sergeant is also pleased with the news. "This is extremely good and important news. Tim is 'our own product', he was part of the U23 team of Kurt Van de Wouwer, who succeeds year after year in delivering talents for our team or other pro teams," he commented. "Not every U23 rider can immediately set the step to WorldTour level, but many riders do make it to the highest level in the end. The Lotto Soudal U23 team is an example, nine Belgians in our WorldTour team were once riding for the U23 team."

"Tim is a perfect rider for a team as Lotto Soudal. A perfect Belgian, bilingual, a Flemish father and a Walloon mother, an attractive style of racing, a sensible guy with an opinion, who also pushes the team to a higher level... Guys like him and Tiesj (Benoot) are riders who should be the foundation of our team the next years."




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