WorldTeam Steff Cras and Matthew Holmes stay with Lotto Soudal
Climbers Steff Cras and Matthew Holmes will stay at Lotto Soudal next year. The 25-year-old Belgian and 27-year-old Brit both signed a contract extension of one season. This way, Cras and Holmes will start their third season at the Belgian cycling team.
The 25-year-old Belgian Steff Cras has been with the team for two seasons. In that period, the talented climber was at the start line of the Tour, Vuelta and the cycling Monument Il Lombardia. After several setbacks, Cras is determined to perform at full strength next year.
“I really felt at home with the team the past two seasons”, says Steff Cras. “The future is looking bright with this young and talented group. Personally, my contract extension is a mental boost after two seasons, which were marked by bad luck. In 2020, I was forced to abandon at the Tour due to back problems, which jeopardized the rest of my year. Also this year, the first part of the season went up in smoke due to a Covid infection. That is why I am really looking forward to a year in which I can ride at full strength. I want to focus again on riding a good GC in short stage races and winning a Grand Tour stage. Besides, I want to assist the team the best I can. And the second part of this season gave me confidence for what’s to come.”
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Also for Matthew Holmes, 2020 marked his first season at the Belgian cycling team. The Brit immediately impressed at the Tour Down Under, where he won the queen stage to Willunga Hill. In the 2020 Giro d’Italia as well as the past Vuelta a España, Holmes again showed his fine climbing legs.
Matthew Holmes: “It feels really nice to go into my third year with Lotto Soudal. I can’t wait for next year, especially after the recent team days, where we worked at everything else involved around the bike such as new equipment and training methods. After two seasons of getting to know everyone and making friends, Lotto Soudal really feels like ‘my’ team. It’s a professional environment and it feels like I’m fully part of the team now.”
“Overall, I look back on the past two seasons with great pleasure. Maybe this year has not fully gone to plan, but I still won a WorldTour race during my first pro contract. It’s an achievement which I’m still really proud of. On a couple of occasions, I’ve also been close to a Grand Tour stage win, which really gave me confidence to go and try to win one next year. In my head, I know it’s doable. Now that I know what I can and can’t do in the WorldTour, I’ve got a much clearer view of which races I’ll go for. The main focus will be to target different kinds of breakaway opportunities in Grand Tours and other stage races”, concludes Holmes.