WorldTour team Lotto Soudal will welcome Bjorg Lambrecht and Harm Van Houcke onboard from 2018 with the duo graduating from its U23 team. In total, eight riders from the 2017 team will move into the professional ranks.
With the announcement of Lambrecht and Van Houcke, Lotto Soudal also confirmed its 25-rider roster for its U23 team which welcomes 11 new riders in 2018.
The U23 Lotto Soudal sports manager Kurt Van de Wouwe explained the 2017 season was one of the team's best and he isn't surprised to see riders moving onto to bigger and better things. 2017 was a very good year for Lotto Soudal U23. The team won the top competition for the sixth consecutive season and the riders were competitive in all major races," Van de Wouwe said.
"Thanks to these good results, eight riders will step up to the professional level next year, and this underlines how strong the 2017 team was. Bjorg Lambrecht will ride for the elite team of Lotto Soudal, just like Harm Van Houcke who will start on the 1st of July. Five riders will go to Sport Vlaanderen next season: Robbe Ghys, Milan Menten, Emiel Planckaert, Mathias Van Gompel and Aaron Verwilst. Senne Leysen will be part of Veranda's Willems-Crelan for the 2018 season."
The Lotto Soudal WorldTour team has also signed Victor Campenaerts (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Lawrence Naesen (WB Veranclassic Aquality Protect), and Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott)from the 2018 season
For 2018, the team has singed Belgian U23 time trial champion Sebastien Grignard who also claimed bronze in the same event that European championships. Compatriot Loran Cassaert, who was second in the U23 time trial and road race nationals, also joins the team. Fellow Belgians Maxim Van Gils, Kobe Goosens, Rune Herregodts, Arne Marit, Julian, Ward Van Hoof and Aaron Van Poucke have also been signed. Rounding out the roster is Dutchman Stijn Daemen and Briton Jacob Vaughan who follows in the footstpes of compatriot James Shaw who now rides for the WorldTour team.
With the new signings and riders who have been retained, Van de Wouwe anticipates another successful season for his U23 squad.
"Lotto Soudal U23 can count on many talented riders who will stay with the team in 2018. Stan Dewulf, for example, will start his third season with the U23 and he is a very promising rider for the future," he said. "Gerben Thijssen, who finished third in the U23 Paris Tour on Sunday, will also be part of the Belgian squad for 2018."
Lotto Soudal U23 squad for 2018: Ruben Apers, Loran Cassaert, Jonas Castrique, Alex Colman, Stijn Daemen, Alfdan De Decker, Sander De Pestel, Stan Dewulf, Kobe Goossens, Sébastien Grignard, Mitch Groot, Steff Hermans, Rune Herregodts, Laurens Huys, Ward Jaspers, Arne Marit, Julian Mertens, Gerben Thijssen, Ward Van Hoof, Harm Vanhoucke, Maxim Van Gils, Brent Van Moer, Aaron Van Poucke, Jacob Vaughan and Thomas Vereecken.