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Jens Voigt's final pro bike – complete with 'shut up legs' mantra
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Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard) soloed to victory at the Clasica San Sebastian after attacking on the final climb.
Frenchman pens two-year deal
Gallopin enjoyed two solid seasons at RadioShack and he crowned his progress with a fine victory at the Clasica San Sebastian last week. The 25-year-old rode in support of Fabian Cancellara in the Classics during his time at RadioShack but he is hopeful of having a leadership role next spring with Lotto Belisol.
“My choice for Lotto Belisol is inspired by many arguments. I'll be in a team with tradition, with leaders who have already proven themselves and where I will be able to take my own chance in the races that suit me well,” said Gallopin. “The entire period from Paris-Nice until Liège-Bastogne-Liège is marked in my agenda. My favourite race is the Tour of Flanders, but I see myself as an all-rounder who can perform in different types of races.”
Lotto Belisol manager Marc Sergeant pointed out that Gallopin’s arrival ought to add greater strength in depth to his team’s Classics challenge. While Jurgen Roelandts was consistent in the cobbled Classics, injuries took their toll on the team by the time the Ardennes week came around.
“For the past year and a half, the team has tried to get maximum output from the potential that was present,” Sergeant said. “We succeeded in large part, like in the Ardennes in 2012 with [Jelle] Vanendert, in last year's Tour with Greipel and Van den Broeck and with Jürgen Roelandts as leader in the Classics.
“But when one of our leaders wasn't able to perform on his best level, like Roelandts after he broke his vertebra in 2012, Vanendert last spring or Van den Broeck after his crash in the Tour, we performed less well. With Tony Gallopin we reinforce our core considerably.”
A professional since 2007, Gallopin claimed the Coupe de France during his final season with Cofidis in 2011, before joining his uncle Alain Gallopin at RadioShack the following year. Gallopin began his RadioShack career with an impressive third place at the Tour of Oman, and continued to perform reliably in stage races and one-day races alike.
“He's only 25, in the past few years he has shown impressive examples of his talent and there is still room for progression,” Sergeant said. “Tony is a rider who can be put into action on many terrains. Of course there are the French races like Paris-Nice, but he can also play an important role for Lotto Belisol in the Classics.”
Although a Belgian team, Lotto’s French co-sponsor had also made it clear that it wanted to sign a high-profile French rider for the 2014 season. “We have never made a secret of the fact that the presence of a French rider in the Lotto Belisol core is an important asset to us,” said Belisol general director Nicolas Thiel.
Incidentally, Gallopin’s girlfriend, former French champion Marion Rousse, rides for the Lotto Belisol Ladies team.