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"Apart from supporting the young riders in the team, I still want to set a good overall result in one of the Grand Tours myself. When I have a good preparation, I am convinced that top ten is definitely still possible for me"

Photo: Sirotti






19.09.2015 @ 15:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Lotto Soudal team for 2016 is slowly taking shape. Today the team can announce that Maxime Monfort (32) and Tosh Van der Sande (24) have extended their contract, for two and one year respectively.

Maxime Monfort joined the team last season after the Belgian rode eight years for foreign teams. This season he took part in two Grand Tours: Giro and Vuelta. He was eleventh overall at the Giro. During the Vuelta he changed his plans after a few stages and took his chance in breakaways. In the nineteenth stage he finished third .


“Last season it took some time to adapt to racing in a Belgian team after I had raced for foreign teams for several years. This year I really found my place within the Lotto Soudal team and I feel at home. It’s the best choice for my career to stay two more years," he said.


"This season things ran smoothly and I’m now acquainted with the customs of the team. At the Giro I could live up to the expectations as GC rider, in the Vuelta I had to change tactics when I noticed a top place on GC wouldn’t be possible. Then I joined breakaways to try to win a stage.


“Within the team we have spoken about giving me a role as road captain in the future, a role in which I will pass on my experience to a GC rider like Bart De Clercq and our young riders like Louis Vervaeke. Although, I already do that now actually; I like to pass on tips. I don’t come from a cycling family myself so they couldn’t give me any tips.


"Apart from supporting the young riders in the team, I still want to set a good overall result in one of the Grand Tours myself. When I have a good preparation, I am convinced that top ten is definitely still possible for me. Apart from that, there are many other events where I can race more aggressively like at the recent Vuelta."


Just like Maxime Monfort Tosh Van der Sande rode the Vuelta. The Belgian sprinted to a top ten place five times. He has a pair of fast legs which can certainly lead him towards personal success, on the other hand he is also a real team player on whom the team can count on different terrains. He has been riding for the team since 2012, his first season as a pro.


“I’m looking back on the Vuelta with a positive feeling. I got some nice top ten results, only the victory is missing. That would have been the icing on the cake. I was close a few times. Anyway, this boosts my confidence for the upcoming races," he said. "At the Vuelta I realized I had talen a step forward. Since I became pro I have been making progress every year and hopefully the evolution continues. As I get the chance to grow in this team, I am very pleased I can stay another year.


“I feel good in this team because it’s Belgian. The team offers me a nice race programme and I appreciate that a lot. I can take my chance and I hope to do that even more next year in the tougher stage races. When I get that first victory my confidence will be even bigger.


"Who knows, I could still get that first win this season. Next week I’ll race in Vichte and Lichtervelde and afterwards I’ll probably take part in the Eurométropole Tour. In the past I was always good after I rode a Grand Tour and I hope that will be the case now as well.”


“The Vuelta taught us that Maxime and Tosh are two riders who can live up to our expectations," manager Marc Sergeant said. "For Maxime that was an adaption, after he had been the leader in a Grand Tour for many years or had ridden for a team leader. At the Tour de Pologne he had sacrificed himself to defend the good position of Bart De Clercq on GC and also in Spain he did that when he could. Apart from that, he decided to try to join breakaways, which was successful a few times.


“For the next years, I expect a further evolution of him in that role. Last season, it was difficult for him to find his place in the group, but this season we saw a different Maxime. He reads the race well, is a strong rider and has the capacities to boost the confidence of other guys and make them perform better. He speaks Dutch, French and English and can be a very good ambassador of the team, not only in Wallonia. At the age of 32 and with that positive attitude I think that both parties can benefit a lot from this cooperation.


“Tosh keeps taking steps forward each year and deserves to stay in the team. He has a very positive attitude, gives himself for the full hundred per cent for the team and tries to seize the opportunities he gets himself. He’s still waiting for his first pro victory, but that will definitely come; he doesn’t have to obsess about it. He creates a good atmosphere in the team, but maintains his professional focus, more than he used to. I expect him to play that role again next year and believe he will keep making progress. His fighting spirit at the Vuelta charmed me. He achieved good results in bunch sprints and joined a breakaway a few times. That’s the way I like it.”



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