Lotto Belisol continues to strengthen its squad for the 2014 season, signing talented Belgians Kris Boeckmans and Sean De Bie. Both riders have signed two-year contracts. The Belgian team has already secured the services of Andre Greipel and his lead out train for the next two years and signed Tony Gallopin for the Classics.
Boeckmans, 26, joins from Vacansoleil-DCM, but rode for the Lotto U23 team in 2009. While he has no wins on his palmares, Lotto Belisol noted that what they describe as had a “remarkable” Tour de France in 2012, finishing in top tens on three stages, including a fifth place on the final stage on the Champs Elysees.
“This year he was less in the picture, partly because of the very heavy programme that was imposed on him,” said Lotto Belisol team manager Marc Sergeant. “I think we can make an even better rider of him, also because of an optimal support through Energy Lab, a good programme and a Belgian team where he definitely will feel at home."
Boeckmans said he was “very satisfied” with the deal. “This will certainly give a boost to my career. There is trust on both sides. The Belgian atmosphere is motivating, “ he said. “I have fast legs and I want to further develop that asset within Lotto Belisol. This is the right choice to do that. To begin the classic season will be important next year, I look forward to riding Milan-Sanremo."
A future star
De Bie, 21, will be make his WorldTour debut with Lotto Belisol in 2014. Currently riding with the Leopard-Trek Continental team, he is the U23 European road race champion, having won the sprint of an eight-man group in the Czech Republic last month. In 2012 he won the first stage of the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux.Two of his uncles are Belgian national cyclo-cross coach Rudy De Bie and former cyclo-cross rider Danny De Bie.
De Bie is “part of a cycle family, can be effective on different kinds of terrain but is someone with a preference for the Classics and isn't slow in a sprint finish,” Sergeant said.
“I'm definitely proud that Lotto Belisol has succeeded in taking him on. The competition was high but giving chances to talented Belgian young riders is part of our vision and with this we've proved it."
De Bie said he was ready for the step up.
“I feel I've become physically and mentally stronger. Now my career can really begin. It means a lot to me that Lotto Belisol has offered me this opportunity. I'm very grateful.”
“I will try to get some good results. I also want to help the team and hope to become a key part of it. One day races and short hills suit me the best.”