Tim Wellens - winner of April’s Brabantse Pijl and a stage and the overall classification at the Ruta del Sol in February - has decided to stay with the Lotto Soudal team, re-signing for a further two seasons.
“I think I’m good here at Lotto Soudal, and I want to be part of the plans that [team managers] Paul De Geyter and Marc Sergeant have,” Wellens said in a statement.
The Belgian heads into this year’s Giro d’Italia - the only Grand Tour he’ll race this season - with the confidence that a new contract in his back pocket brings. He’ll be on the hunt for stage wins, looking to add to the stage victory he took there in 2016.
“But I also want to evolve in stage races of five to 10 days,” Wellens continued. “I think I have the potential to be a better time triallist, and the team has agreed to work further on that aspect. Time trialling is crucial in many stage races.”
Lotto Soudal manager Marc Sergeant was thrilled that Wellens had chosen to stay with the Belgian outfit, especially as he had graduated to the elite team in 2012 via the under-23 development squad.
“This is extremely good and important news,” said Sergeant. “Not every U23 rider can immediately make the step up to WorldTour level, but many riders do make it to the highest level in the end.
“The Lotto Soudal U23 team is an example, with nine Belgians in our WorldTour team who once rode for the U23 team,” Sergeant added. “Tim made a strong debut as a neo-pro, but he kept evolving year after year, too.”
Since 2012, Wellens’ palmarès also includes a stage win at Paris-Nice, the overall title at the Tour of Poland, the Grand Prix de Wallonie, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, and the Eneco Tour twice.
His new contract ties him to Lotto Soudal until the end of 2020.