Tim Wellens will move up to the WorldTour Lotto Belisol team from their U-23 team. The 21-year-old will thus officially turn pro on July 1, and has signed a two and a half year contract.
He will bring climbing help to the Belgian team. "Tim is a climber and has won an Alp Classic as a junior. In the past years he was able to improve his climbing skills in foreign tours like the Tour of Aosta and the Tour of the Savoie,” said U-23 team leader Kurt Van de Wouwer.
“At the start of the season it was clear I would make the transfer to the pros,” Wellens said. “I was able to train for six months with the youngsters, but I'm sure it's not too early; a couple of people of my age are already pros. The next year-and-a-half will be ideal to learn. I'm curious about what the difference in level will be. Some say it's ok, others find it a big step.
“With my 65 kg and 1.81m height I've always been the climbing type. My time trial has always been a weakness, but I've been working hard on it. I'm really impatient, but I don't have personal ambition for the next months. The Tour of Poland will be a tough start in which I will able to test my climbing skills."
Wellens will be the seventh neo-pro on the team, and “Giving chances to youngsters is not new for us, said general manager Bill Olivier. “Just like with Tosh Van der Sande and Brian Bulgaç this is the result of the good work and co-operation with Lotto Belisol U23. In this way the young riders get the chance to evolve in the shadow of the experienced riders.
“When we look at the evolution in the last couple of months of Tosh Van der Sande for example and the way Brian Bulgaç is riding the Giro, we can say this way of management is more than justified."