Lotto Soudal have announced that Philippe Gilbert will ride for the team from next season. The 37-year-old Belgian, currently riding for Deceuninck – Quick Step, has signed a three-year agreement.
Gilbert returns to the team in which he celebrated his first big successes, including Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour of Lombardy, the Amstel Gold Race and the Tour de France opening stage in 2011. The 2012 World Road Race Champion outlined why he was returning to the team.
Philippe Gilbert: “I still wanted to race, without any doubt. When I learned that I could prolong at my current team for only one year, it was clear to me that I wanted to change. The clearest interest and project was the one of Lotto Soudal. Of course, I know the team, a lot of riders and staff are no strangers to me, I know the spirit and I will again be part of a Belgian project.”
“I am very happy that we reached an agreement quite quickly. I know John Lelangue from my period at BMC as a person who highly values organisation and discipline. I achieved my first big successes together with sports manager Marc Sergeant. Primarily, my goals are to be found in the one-day races and the big Classics. Lotto Soudal gets stronger and stronger, we need to fight against the absolute top teams, not by expressing big ambitions beforehand, but by getting results.”
“The past few years, I watched the team from outside and I think they maybe lacked a real leader in those races. I want to try to lift the team to a higher level, by performing myself but also by making other riders better. It gives me just as much pleasure if they would show themselves important or if they would be able to win. I know a couple of guys from the national team, others like Wellens and Ewan live nearby. Maxime Monfort and I almost have the same age and I have been racing against some others for several years.”
“Discipline and joy are the key factors to stay a pro cyclist for so long. I still leave for training at the same hour, I do what I have to do, I don’t skip training rides,… That and a strong body help to stay competitive at a high level. At the BinckBank Tour, the Vuelta, the World Championships and the Tour of Lombardy, I want to conclude my time at Deceuninck – Quick Step as good as possible, preferably with a victory.”
Sports manager Marc Sergeant is happy with Gilbert joining the team. According to Sergeant, Gilbert his role within Lotto Soudal will be twofold. On the one hand, sharing his wide experience with the teammates, on the other hand, to get nice results himself, for the team.
Lotto Soudal Sports manager Marc Sergeant: “Of course, we know Philippe from his first period at the team. At that time, I was urging for a transfer to the Lotto team, almost on a yearly basis. He laid the foundations for the rider he did become with us, an achievement that, mainly, only he needs to be credited for. Afterwards, he further built his impressive career and palmares. In the first part of his career, he mainly targeted the Walloon Classics, but when you see that he also added the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix to his palmares… Chapeau! That is important as an example towards others and without any doubt, a lot of people will admire him.”
“Meanwhile, he has so much experience, he won all Monuments, except for one, and he can pass on his experience to the current team, which is hungry for new success. His age is a relative term, you are as old or fit as you feel. He still has that big urge to prove himself and he is go-getter, that is his secret. In terms of race schedule, it has always been a rider who is active from February till October. Certain Flemish and Walloon Classics are perfectly compatible, to play a decisive role himself or to pass on his experience and strengthen the team.”
World champion road cycling – Valkenburg 2012
Tour of Flanders (2017)
2x Tour of Lombardy (2009, 2010)
4x Amstel Gold Race (2010, 2011, 2014, 2017)
3x stage victory Giro d’Italia
1x stage victory Tour de France
5x stage victory Vuelta a España
2x Belgian Road Race Champion
1x Belgian Time Trial Champion
Flèche Wallonne (2011)
Flèche Brabançonne (2011, 2014)
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (2006, 2008)
Clásica San Sebastián (2011)
Paris-Tours (2008, 2009)