WorldTour Team Lotto Soudal has reached an agreement with two young Belgian riders, Florian Vermeersch and Viktor Verschaeve. Both U23 riders currently ride for the Lotto Soudal development team. Vermeersch will join the WorldTour team on June 1st 2020, Verschaeve will do the same on January 1st 2021. Both riders signed a contract until the end of 2022.
National U23 champion Florian Vermeersch (20) was extremely delighted with the agreement. “This is a perfect way to join the WorldTour team. I will still be able to show my champion’s jersey in the first months of the season. On the other hand, I can prepare my step to the highest level in a non-rushed way. I am convinced that this will boost my development as a rider. Now, at our training camp in Mallorca, I ride together with champions like Philippe Gilbert, Caleb Ewan, John Degenkolb and Tim Wellens. I knew those guys only from TV. Now we live together. I learn already so many things from them. I had always dreamt of becoming a pro rider. A dream has come true.”
“Florian is strong, is a big talent with a huge potential”, says General Manager John Lelangue. “2019 was just his first year as real road cyclist. Earlier he was a successful cyclocross rider (and multiple national champion). Last season we could see already the potential of some other cyclocross riders. Florian convinced us, not only with his national road title, but in many other races, including the Tour de Moselle, where he won three of the four stages and the GC. He can start with us in a slow, smooth way, most likely in the Baloise Belgium Tour. Later he can do some other small stage races. Our young talents, formed by Kurt Van de Wouwer, will get the chance to grow, without any rush.”
Viktor Verschaeve (21) is another such talent. In 2019 Verschaeve finished second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 as well as top ten in the U23 Giro d’Italia and Ronde de l’Isard.
“Yes, with just 60 kg, I am more a climber, let’s say a puncher-climber”, explains Viktor Verschaeve. “No search for a team, 2020 can and will be a year without stress, but a year with a lot of ambition. In Mallorca, together with the pro riders, I am impressed already every day. Everything is here so professional. Nutrition, the bikes, specific trainings, so many details. I cannot wait to start the season.”