22 year-old Tiesj Benoot and Lotto Soudal have extended their agreement until the end of 2019 adding another two years onto the rider’s previous contract.
In 2015, Tiesj Benoot had a remarkable first pro season, with his fifth place at the Ronde van Vlaanderen as the most stand-out result. In addition, he also finished 2nd overall at the Tour of Belgium 3rd in the Handzame Classic, 4th at Paris–Tours and 5th at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal.
The past season, the young Belgian was struck by bad luck in the Ronde, and he subsequently struggled for the remainder of the spring classics campaign. Prior to Flanders, he had achieved some solid results including 3rd at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and 8th at Strade Bianche
Marc Sergeant, Sports Manager: “The long-term agreement we have with our main sponsors enables us to focus on the future of our team. The confidence the sponsors have in this team, makes it possible to extend the contract of Tiesj Benoot until the end of 2019.”
“It pleases us that Tiesj finds this team the best to further develop himself. He had a very promising start of his career in 2015, as Tiesj already showed his skills quite soon. At first, he continued on the same path in 2016. Just think about his good results at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche and E3 Harelbeke.”
“Unfortunately, he crashed during the Ronde van Vlaanderen. That was a huge disappointment for him. Due to the consequences of his crash Tiesj wasn’t able to set good results anymore during the spring. But it’s a fact that Tiesj will be one of the key riders in our team the next three years.”
“By this time we already know his strong points, but not yet his limits. We are very curious to see him develop further. In our team Tiesj finds the perfect environment to grow.”
Tiesj Benoot: “My first season as a pro went well, with my fifth place at the Ronde van Vlaanderen as a highlight. The Ronde is a race that appeals to everybody, so everyone remembers that performance. This year, I also set some good results: I got third at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, eighth at Strade Bianche and seventh at E3 Harelbeke where I finished in a group that sprinted for the third place.”
“Afterwards, I crashed in the Ronde where I wanted to set another good result. The crash was the start of a hard time for me. Now I look back on it, I realize it had a positive twist to it as well. That period taught me a lot mentally and it’s good to go through something like that at a young age. It has made me stronger. The past season I actually learned more than last year.”
“Why shouldn’t I extend my contract with Lotto Soudal? I get a role at the side of Jürgen Roelandts and Jens Debusschere in the Classics. Lotto Soudal gives me an excellent guidance. All factors are present to let me grow at the right pace and to aim for the best possible results.”
“In 2017, I will start my season the same way as I did the past two years. I will ride eight one-day races in the first half of the season. I will definitely race the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche. Then I will choose three races from this quartet: Milan-Sanremo, Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem.”
“Afterwards, I will take part in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and then probably in the Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race. Next year, I will ride my first ever Grand Tour. When the spring goes as hoped, that will be the Tour de France. It was already decided earlier to participate for a first time in a Grand Tour in 2017.”
“Of the Grand Tours the Tour is the one which matches my other goals best. The course looks nice, although I realize that a first Tour will mainly be focussed on learning.”