Lotto Soudal: Four riders extend their contract
Several riders have already announced the agreement on a longer stay at the Lotto Soudal formation and now it’s up to Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert, Sander Armée and Thomas Marczynski to do the same. Vanendert, Armée and Marczynski have signed an one-year agreement, Van der Sande extended his contract with two more years.
This year, Tosh Van der Sande won his first professional race.
Tosh Van der Sande: “I preferred Lotto Soudal. It’s always fine to stay with a team where you are for a long time; you know everyone and we are all like a family. I want to thank the team for the confidence they give me and for the opportunity to sign for two more years. I have to share my sprint chances with Greipel, Debusschere and Roelandts, but I really don’t mind. They are faster than me and we each have our own races. Usually I get my chance in the difficult stage races like during the Vuelta this year.”
“It’s a pity that I didn’t get more out of the Vuelta this year. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with my season. I won my first race with the pro’s and that gave me a boost. Also at the end of the season I feel good. In the races after the Vuelta, I either obtained good results or I played a role in the final. Paris-Tours is also an opportunity that I cannot let pass.”
Jelle Vanendert will start his ninth season with the team.
Jelle Vanendert: “When I arrived eight years ago, I was injured. The team believed in me and they kept on doing so. Lotto Soudal has given me all the opportunities in my career and that created a bond and mutual respect. Last season, I worked a lot for the team and besides that I also obtained some good results. Each year it’s getting more difficult to win a race, but I keep on believing.”
“Next season, I will continue working for my teammates. It makes me feel good and it takes the pressure off my shoulders. I don't have to perform necessarily well in certain races, but off course I would like to win a classic or a stage in a Grand Tour next year. I remain ambitious and I believe that I can grab an opportunity when it’s there.”
After a good season with a victory in the mountains classification at the Tour de Romandie, the team rewards Sander Armée with a contract extension.
Sander Armée: “Lotto Soudal was definitely my first choice for next year and I’m glad the team felt the same. I enjoy working with the team and apparently they are happy with my results and the efforts I do for them. I know the riders and the staff pretty well by now. In stage races you spend a lot of time together and you get pretty close. Everyone gets along well and that gives an extra boost while racing together.”
“It will be my fourth season with Lotto Soudal and they know me. The team knows what I’m capable of and gives me the opportunity to have a go of my own now and then. In the start of the season we always talk about a possible programme. That way I know what Grand Tours I’ll race and when I have to be in shape. Of course sometimes there are unexpected situations. That was what happened in the Tour de Romandie. At one point I was able to take the lead in the mountains classification. I really appreciate the fact that that the team gave me this chance and trusted me so much.”
For Tomasz Marczynski, 2016 was the first year with Lotto Soudal, unfortunately a virus caused some health struggles for him but he could help the leaders in the one-week stage races.
Tomasz Marczynski: “I’ve enjoyed this year so much. The team is amazing! I love the team spirit, the way everybody treats each other. Everyone is so nice. Of all the teams I have been part of, this one is definitely the best match for me. We all understand each other, the riders and staff. It’s nice that one of the biggest teams in the world has such a nice atmosphere.”
“Personally, this year hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve struggled a lot with my health and in the end they’ve discovered a virus. However I always gave 100% for the team and I’ve tried to be the best possible teammate. That’s probably why they give me another chance and signed me again for next year. I see it as another opportunity. The team understood the health problems I had and that I couldn’t perform as well as I wanted to. My season finished early and now I’ll just focus on getting better. I hope that I can start my preparation for next season in December. Once I’ve beaten the virus, I’ll be able to perform much better.”
“For next season I only have one goal: become healthy and come back on my top level. I like working for my teammates and if I feel good enough I might aim for a personal result. This year I wasn’t in an optimal shape because of the virus. So next year I just hope to enjoy cycling and do my job as good as possible. I just want to be a part of the team and do what I love.”