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 "He's always been a figurehead, an example whom everybody looks up to. He never disappoints and the latest tests prove that his values ​​are better than last year."

Photo: Sirotti




15.01.2016 @ 13:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a fruitful 2015, Lotto Soudal will also try to win in 2016. Sporza spoke to manager Marc Sergeant after the second team training camp in Mallorca about four trump cards in the Belgian team: Jelle Wallays, Tiesj Benoot, Tim Wellens and André Greipel.


Jelle Wallays: "He must do more than be in the early break”

Marc Sergeant: "He is the type of rider we were looking for: a Belgian that is not afraid to give too much. That has not done him any harm because he has already won races.


"But Wallays must still do more than trying to be in the first breakaway. He can go on for hours and can open the race. He is eager to do that.”


Tiesj Benoot: "Give him some time if it does not work"

Marc Sergeant: "The races should prove his status. My riders know well what they need to do. Look at Niki Terpstra who also does too much and attacks too soon but can win because he has enough teammates. It is now also possible for us.


"Tiesj has skipped a number of steps: he is already in the finales. Whether we can compare him with Van Avermaet? Don’t put too much pressure on him. He knows what he has to do but give him some time if it does not work out.


"In the classics, he can follow in the footsteps of Greg. A win will be the turning point for Tiesj. He can fail big time and still be alive. That's what you need to bring the Flemish classics to a successful conclusion."


Tim Wellens: "He has learned what is happening behind him"

Marc Sergeant: "I loved how he reacted after the Tour. After the stage to Huy, I told him that he might have placed the bar too high.


"He has subsequently handled his support role perfectly and has refused to abandon before Paris. After that, he was completely emoty but he has done it the hard day. 14 days later he won the Eneco Tour. And he also won in Canada and I have heard that this was one of the worst races of the year.


"Whether he learned a lot from that Tiur? He knew he was not as good as hoped and had to ride along for another two weeks. That's not easy. He had to help the team and then also realized what others do for him. This is important. He has learned what is happening behind him."


André Greipel: "His tests are better than last year"

Marc Sergeant: "André has always been the backbone of this team I am very pleased that he won four stages in last year's Tour. That was liberating.


"He's always been a figurehead, an example whom everybody looks up to. He never disappoints and the latest tests prove that his values ​​are better than last year.


"What I think of the competition? If Kittel gets back to his previous level, he is the toughest rival. I don’t know Cavendish. He's in another team and his automatisms are not there yet. And he is also riding on the track. But Kristoff is also on the list.”


The conclusion: "I hope the wind is favorable"

Marc Sergeant: "I hope the wind is favorable for us in 2016. We are better armed than in previous years and guys like Debusschere, Roelandts, Benoot and Wallays feel that something is to come.


"After our brilliant season, everyone thought: Basically we can have such a super year again. At the first training camp, I felt that it was good. Everyone works in training and is ambitious. I want the best during this season.”



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