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"The Tour of Flanders remains one of my main goals in 2016. If everything goes well next year, I will participate for the first time in a Grand Tour. These perspectives give me enough motivation to give 100 percent this winter."

Photo: Lotto Soudal






07.10.2015 @ 09:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After the previous announcements of contract extensions of several riders, Sean De Bie (24) and Stig Broeckx (25) also extended their agreement with Lotto Soudal. Both have been with the team since 2014 when they made their transfer to the professionals.


In August 2013, Stig Broeckx, who was part of the Lotto Cycling Talent Project, began a traineeship with the pro team of Lotto Belisol. During this internship, he managed to greatly impress the team. In the World Ports Classic, he became eight in the general classification and was winner of the youth classification. In the other races, he did a good job for the team. In his first Tour of Flanders (2014) with the pros, the 24-year-old animated the race with his 170km attack. In 2015, Broeckx surprised by finishing sixth in a bunch sprint in the Giro d’Italia.


“In general, I’m pretty happy with my season. I rode my first Grand Tour and it was a nice experience;," he said. "Apparently, my body is able to cope with such a Tour as my results became better and better towards the end. I needed the Giro to take a next step in my development as a rider. During the past two years, I’ve gathered a lot of experience and I had to pay a tuition fee. I’ve learned some new things about racing and about training methods, that definitely will be useful in the next races.


"With this contract extension, I get two more years to prove and develop myself. Especially the Spring Classics suit me well. Next year, I will try to show my capabilities in these races.”


Sean De Bie also made his pro debut with Lotto Soudal in 2014. In 2013, he became European U23 champion. This 23-year-old talent, part of a big cycling family, got his best results in his first season in the Tour of Denmark, where He finished sixth in the general classification. De Bie is strong in short time trials, is good on short hills and is pretty quick in the sprint from a smaller group. In the general classification of the Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde 2015, he was fifth. His first professional victory was in the fourth stage at the Tour of Luxembourg. Also in GP Impanis he went home with the win.


“My first year as a professional wasn’t good," he said. "I couldn’t find the good feeling on my bike which resulted in bad performances. Since the beginning of this season, I’ve rediscovered the joy of racing and things are going good again . I take most pride in my Tour of Flanders selection. In our team, it isn’t easy to get a spot in this selection. Thanks to my fifth place in the Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde, I could enforce my selection. Also the way I was able to win GP Impanis was fantastic.


“Next year, I hope to keep my level constant throughout the season. The Tour of Flanders remains one of my main goals in 2016. If everything goes well next year, I will participate for the first time in a Grand Tour. These perspectives give me enough motivation to give 100 percent this winter .”


For manager Marc Sergeant, the contract extensions of De Bie and Broeckx are a logical decision.


“Over the past two years both riders have gained a fixed spot in our core team although their paths are concurring," he siad. "Stig made a name for himself in his first Tour of Flanders, but that led to high expectations. During the past season, he noticed that making constant progress is anything but easy . But Stig is strong and showed that he’s the perfect teammate. For me it was a logical decision that he stays put and continues his carrier with Lotto Soudal.


“Sean had a difficult first year. He made the step to the professionals with a hallmark of “big talent” and that wasn’t easy. After the first half of the season, he found his place in the team and from that moment on, things started going better. First, he was valuable for the team but this year we saw that Sean also can ride finals. We are giving Sean the opportunity to continue developing in our team.”



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