Lotto Soudal has confirmed its Tour de France line-up with the intention of targeting stage wins once racing gets underway.
Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan will form a major part of the Belgian team's strategy, the 27-year-old will lock horns with Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma) in the hunt for victories on the race's sprint stages.
“With Caleb Ewan we have one of the fastest riders of the peloton, he is our biggest chance on a stage win," explained Lotto CEO John Lelangue. "Therefore we have made sure he is well surrounded with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Frederik Frison, Florian Vermeersch and Brent Van Moer," he added.
The five-time Tour de France stage winner's 2022 successes include stage wins at the Tour of Turkey, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Saudi Tour. With Lotto currently facing World Tour relegation, Ewan's performance will be crucial to the team in the months ahead.
There are also places for Philippe Gilbert, Tim Wellens and Andreas Kron who will all target the hillier stages, where the likes of Ewan will be out of contention.
Looking at the Tour de France 2022 route, with stage five's cobbles finishing in Arenberg, Florian Vermeersch and Brent Van Moer also make the team.
Vermeersch finished second to Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) at the 2021 Paris Roubaix and will certainly be one to watch on stage 5. South African rider Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Frederik Frison also make the cut for the team.
Lelangue highlighted the strength in depth of the Lotto squad and their ability to be involved on varied terrain “With these 8 we can play our part on almost every terrain in this Tour de France.” he said. The team are expected to be competitive throughout the Tour with a particular eye on stage 5.
Lotto will be looking at getting riders into good breakaway opportunities meaning the focus isn’t all on Ewan to perform.
He added: "Those last two will also definitely have highlighted the cobbled stage to Arenberg. Furthermore, Philippe Gilbert, Andreas Kron and Tim Wellens have proven the last weeks to be in a very good shape. They will definitely be active in the more difficult stages and be present in breakaways.”
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1