Tim Wellens wins stage 5 in Vuelta a España and extends his contract
Well deserved for our attacking rider
Team Lotto Soudal recruited two more young talents for their WorldTeam. Belgian riders Xandres Vervloesem (20) and Sylvain Moniquet (22) have signed for the Belgian team on a two-year deal. Both riders did excel in last week’s Ronde de l’lsard, a stage race in the French Pyrenees. In yesterday’s final stage, race leader Moniquet lost his yellow jersey to his future teammate Xandres Vervloesem. Four years after Bjorg Lambrecht, Lotto Soudal again won the overall in the Tour de l’Isard, as well as all other classifications.
“Honestly, I am pleasantly surprised”, explains Xandres Vervloesem. “I knew from my period as a junior that I can climb, but this was just my second race in the real mountains in two years as U23. I’ve ended the dream of Sylvain Moniquet, but that’s sport. For the moment Sylvain is still riding for Groupama-FDJ Continental Team. Henri Vandenabeele and me, we tried to isolate Sylvain in that last stage and we succeeded. Next year, Sylvain and I will work together, but now we don’t. To win this prestigious stage race is good for my confidence and a nice thank you towards my future team. They’ve contracted me, based on my good test results. Even before l’Isard…”
As a junior rider, Vervloesem won the Overall in the Ain Bugey Valromey Tour and finished 4th overall in the Giro della Lunigiana as well as in the Oberösterreich Rundfahrt, where he won the mountains classification as well. In his first year as U23 a kidney infection ruined his season. Corona thwarted 2020 until now.
Also Sylvain Moniquet is a climber. Last week he excelled in the Ronde de l’Isard on Port de Balès, Hospice de France, Col du Chioula, Ax-3-Domaines and Col de Latrape and wore two days the leader’s jersey.
“Just a bad day on the last day. I really wanted to win, but that’s sport. I can live with Xandres as overall winner. We know each other from the national team”, said Sylvain Moniquet.
Earlier this season, Sylvain Moniquet finished 8th overall in the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc. Last year he won the Triptique Ardennais and was 6th overall in the Tour de la Paix.
“After my third year as U23, I had the opportunity to join a UCI ProTeam but I preferred to wait one year longer, hoping that a WorldTeam would have faith in me, which happened. I am ready for this new step in my career and I am really happy to join Lotto Soudal. I know the other young riders, I speak some Dutch and I am prepared to work hard for the big guns of the team. My time will come later. It’s an exciting opportunity and one that I feel has come at the right time.”
“We plunged into our own market to sign talented young riders”, said Lotto Soudal General Manager John Lelangue. “It’s a deliberate choice to rejuvenate the team and to focus not only on the classics but on stage races as well. We needed some more climbers. With Harm Vanhoucke, Viktor Verschaeve, Filippo Conca, Sylvain Montiquet and Xandres Vervloesem we aim to get results in the medium term. Earlier we’ve recruited Sébastien Grignard as well. It’s nice to see that the Lotto Soudal Development Team of Kurt Van de Wouwer functions extremely well. Now we savour the fruits of his hard work.”