WorldTeam Lotto Soudal targets stage success at 104th Giro d’Italia
Lotto Soudal will be at the start of the 104th Giro d’Italia with the following eight riders: Jasper De Buyst (27), Thomas De Gendt (34), Caleb Ewan (26), Kobe Goossens (25), Roger Kluge (35), Tomasz MarczyÅski (37), Stefano Oldani (23) and Harm Vanhoucke (23). The Giro starts with an 8-kilometre opening time trial in Turin. After three weeks of racing in Italy, the curtain falls on the Giro with another individual test against the clock towards the city centre of Milan. Sports director Mario Aerts talks us through the Lotto Soudal Giro line-up.
“With these eight riders, we have a mix of experience and youth. We should be able to compete on almost every terrain with this eight-man squad, except for the general classification. The aim is to go for at least one stage win and we also want to show ourselves in the front line”, starts Mario Aerts.
Mario Aerts: “Caleb Ewan is one of the world’s fastest sprinters and already won three Giro stages in the past. This year, there are some five sprint opportunities for Caleb, but at Milan-Sanremo he really impressed uphill. So, depending on the race situation, there could be a few more chances. Of course, we will do everything we can to bring Caleb in the best possible position towards the final sprint. That is why Jasper De Buyst and Roger Kluge are part of the Giro team, because they act as the regular lead-outs for Caleb. In the run-up to the Giro, they have also raced together as much as possible to really work on the automatisms. The sprints at the Giro are often chaotic and quite technical, so we need to give Caleb full support.”
“Due to a crash at Paris-Nice, Kobe Goossens was out for quite a while, but at the Tour de Romandie, he proves to be back at a really good level. He did a great job at the Vuelta last year, which was his first Grand Tour”, continues Mario Aerts. “We give him all the freedom to discover how far he can go in the general classification, but we don’t put any pressure on him. We’ll take it day by day. Harm Vanhoucke already showed his fine climbing legs the last months. Harm won’t go for the overall, but rather aims for a stage win. With a third place atop the Etna last year, this certainly is a realistic goal.”
“In general, the Giro is perfectly suited for stage hunters. Thomas De Gendt needs no introduction and if his legs are good, he will definitely go for a stage win. The Giro also helps him to improve the shape a little more towards the Tour. Tomasz MarczyÅski showed good form at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and with two stage wins at La Vuelta, he already proved he can finish off an early breakaway. Our Italian Stefano Oldani already showed himself a couple of times at last year’s Giro and is really motivated for three weeks of racing in his home country. He will be part of the sprint preparation for Caleb, but Stefano also has a strong sprint in the legs and can go uphill really well”, concludes Mario Aerts.
Line-up Lotto Soudal Giro d’Italia: Jasper De Buyst, Thomas De Gendt, Caleb Ewan, Kobe Goossens, Roger Kluge, Tomasz MarczyÅski, Stefano Oldani and Harm Vanhoucke.