Bart De Clercq will ride for Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert for the next two seasons, the Pro Conti team announced Sunday afternoon. The 31-year-old Belgian has been with Lotto Soudal his entire professional career, since 2011.
In those years, De Clercq rode 11 Grand Tours, finishing eight. He won a stage at the 2011 Giro d'Italia and finished 14th overall at the Vuelta a Espana in 2015. That same year he finished second overall in the Tour of Poland, having won a stage.
"I look forward to working with young talent like Guillaume Martin. In the coming two years I will make a combination of going for my own chances and on the other hand assisting riders like Martin in the mountain," De Clercq said in the team press release.
"Since my studies of sports science and teacher physical education I am very interested in training and nutrition. I often read about it and would like to pass on such things to younger riders.
"The past year was a disappointment for me, because of problems with my right thighs. I could never reach the level I wanted. But physically I am still at at a decent level. I am definitely not worn out. Especially in hard stage races I want to show me next year. "
Wanty sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren called his new signing "a rider with a wealth of experience in Grand Tours. Over there we want to play him out as a big help for Guillaume Martin in the mountains of the Tour."
"In addition he is able to attack in the third week of a Grand Tour, a type of rider we missed in the past Tour. He can certainly fulfill that role. But I am also convinced that we can make more of him in a lot of other races, including in the final of the Ardennes classics."
It is the team's fourth new signing for the coming year. Odd Eiking, Boris Vallée and Timothy Dupont will also join the team.