WorldTeam Lotto Soudal targets stage victories at La Vuelta
Lotto Soudal will be hunting stage successes at the 76th Vuelta a España with the following eight riders: 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 all make their Grand Tour debut. This Saturday, August 14, La Vuelta kicks off with a prologue in Burgos. The final Grand Tour of the season will be drawn to a close with an individual time trial towards Santiago de Compostela. Sports director Nikolas Maes explains the Vuelta line-up of Lotto Soudal.
“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.”
“Even though it will be Andreas Kron’s first participation in a Grand Tour, our young Dane already has a lot of maturity and with two stage wins under his belt this season, he already showed what he’s made of. Andreas will be one of our spearheads in the transition stages and tricky finishes. Harm Vanhoucke will not be aiming for the general classification, but rather for a stage win. His second place at the Tour de l’Ain already showed that the form is there.”
“For Florian Vermeersch, it will also be his first Grand Tour. He will try to get involved in the sprints, but we’re not putting any pressure on him. Florian will also help his teammates but can also seize opportunities in the transition stages. Frederik Frison has already shown his value for the team countless times and will mainly support Florian during the sprint stages, but Frederik is also keen on riding a good prologue and can certainly join a breakaway.”
“Matthew Holmes has already proven that he can surprise and Matthew will certainly get the chance to show himself during the tough transition stages. Maxim Van Gils impressed during his first months as a pro and will therefore be starting La Vuelta in a free role. Due to Covid consequences, Steff Cras has not been able to race that much so far this season but he did really well at the Tour de l’Ain. La Vuelta should definitely suit him. Sylvain Moniquet will also be starting his first Grand Tour but like Maxim, we won’t put any pressure on him. However, I think he will definitely show himself a few times”, concludes sports director Nikolas Maes.
Line-up Lotto Soudal Vuelta a España: 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).