WorldTeam Lotto Soudal aims for stage success in 77th Vuelta a España

Thomas De Gendt and Maxim Van Gils preview La Vuelta.
Race 19 August 2022

This weekend, the Netherlands will be the setting for the start of the 77th Vuelta a España, where in Utrecht the three weeks of racing will be kicked off with a team time trial. On Monday 22 August, the peloton will head to the Spanish Basque Country, where the second leg of the Grand Tour begins. Lotto Soudal will be targeting stage victories with a balanced team of offensive riders. Thomas De Gendt and Maxim Van Gils look ahead.

Thomas De Gendt has already been successful in the Giro this season, where he won stage eight in Naples. In Utrecht, the 35-year-old Belgian will be at the start of his 23rd Grand Tour , in which he again aims for stage success. “Following a long period of training and only the Tour de Pologne in between, I am now really looking forward to my 8th time La Vuelta. As an experienced rider, I am part of a young and talented group. I already got a lot of questions from my teammates and I expect a lot more are to come in the next few weeks. The atmosphere is good and everyone is motivated to battle for stage wins.”

With a stage win in 2017 and overall winner of the KOM classification during the 2018 La Vuelta, De Gendt can already look back on plenty of nice moments in Spain. The breakaway king, who recently extended his contract at the Belgian WorldTeam until the end of 2024, is also keen on creating new memories this year.

“That Giro stage win gave me a new boost and I feel ready to try and take another day success in La Vuelta. It’s never getting easier but when – like in the Giro – everything falls into place, it’s definitely possible. In any case, the legs and head are ready. In 2017, I was able to take a stage win, in 2018 I returned home with the KOM jersey. Those are really nice memories and it’s really motivating to create some more this year”, concludes Thomas De Gendt.

After his first La Vuelta participation last year, the 22-year-old Maxim Van Gils will again be at the start of the Spanish Grand Tour this year. For the stage and overall winner of the Saudi Tour, the opening weekend will be extra special, with a course close to his home and training roads.

“This will be my second Grand Tour and a second participation at La Vuelta. I want to use last year’s experience to go stage hunting this year. The focus is on learning how to best deal with an early breakaway and how to finish it off successfully. With Thomas De Gendt, we have a really good mentor in the team, who shares his broad experience with us. I feel well prepared for this Vuelta with lots of climbing kilometres in the legs during several altitude training camps. So in the first place, I will be focusing on the stages that are suited to breakaways and include lots of altitude metres. I have already marked several. Which ones? I’ll keep that a secret for now”, says Van Gils.

Images: Photo News.

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