Tim Wellens has extended his contract with Lotto Soudal for two seasons and will remain at the Belgian team until at least the end of 2020.
The Belgian rider, who turns 27 during the upcoming Giro, is a product of the Under 23 team of Kurt Van de Wouwer and in 2012 he transferred to the pro team. In the past few years he has gathered 20 victories, including two overall victories at the Eneco Tour, Tour de Pologne, Tour of Guangxi, Ruta del Sol, Grand Prix de Montréal, Brabantse Pijl and stages in Paris-Nice, the Giro d’Italia, Eneco Tour, Tour de Pologne and Tour of Guangxi.
Tim Wellens: “I love stability. For the first time in my career my contract was about to end and that creates the opportunity to listen to other teams, to hear what they have to offer. That flattered me, but I think I’m good here at Lotto Soudal and I want to be part of the plans that Paul De Geyter and Marc Sergeant have.
“I want to further develop myself. Of course the one-day Classics will be marked in my agenda the next years too because they suit me very well, but I also want to evolve in stage races of five to ten days. I think I still have the potential to become a better time trialist, and the team has agreed to further work on that aspect. Time trialling is crucial in many stage races.”
“I think I can be satisfied with my victories in Mallorca and Ruta del Sol, but especially with Paris-Nice and the four Ardennes races. After Liège-Bastogne-Liège I started preparing for the Giro, my only Grand Tour of the season. In that rather short time I try to do sufficient extensive trainings, but maybe I will have a lack of intensity at the start of the Giro.
“I hope to use the first stages to get some intensity and then I hope to be able to play along for stage wins afterwards, as I did in 2016. But also further down the season I have goals set: Tour de Suisse, Tour de Wallonie, Eneco Tour and the Canadian races.”
Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “This is extremely good and important news. Tim is “our own product”, he was part of the U23 team of Kurt Van de Wouwer, who succeeds year after year in delivering talents for our team or other pro teams. Not every U23 rider can immediately set the step to WorldTour level, but many riders do make it to the highest level in the end. The Lotto Soudal U23 team is an example, nine Belgians in our WorldTour team were once riding for the U23 team.”