Lotto Soudal has announced the signing of European time trial champion Victor Campenaerts on a two-year deal. The 25-year-old rode with Lotto Soudal's U23 team in 2013 before turning professional with Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise. He spent two seasons with the Pro-Continental squad before moving to LottoNL-Jumbo on a two-year deal.
Campenaerts returns to his roots in 2017, explaining it was the right decision to have left in 2013 and is ready for life in the WorldTour with Lotto Soudal.
"When I could become pro in 2014, Kurt Van de Wouwer (head sports department Lotto Soudal U23, LTS), advised me to go to Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise because I would get the time and space to grow within that team," Campenaerts said. "It turned out to be the right choice and I am very grateful to Kurt for that good advice. The past years I could keep working on my time trial skills and now I can return to the team with results."
The former Belgian national time trial champion added that his move back to the team is exciting as he links up again with former teammates such as Tiesj Benoot. Having developed his time trialing skills with LottoNL-Jumbo, Campenaerts laid out his aims for 2018 with an added focus on GC results.
"Now I want to win time trials for Lotto Soudal as a pro and set results in overall classifications in stage races of one week like the BinckBank Tour, Belgium Tour and Tour of Britain, stage races where you can end high on GC if you ride a good time trial," he said. "And of course I aim for more time trial titles. I also hope to inspire the team in team time trials. With riders like Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens the team has high potential and I would like to share my knowledge with the team."
Lotto Soudal's manager Marc Sergeant added that Campenaerts will fill the current void of time triallists in the squad and believes he will be a key addition to the squad from 2018.
"Victor has made a lot of progress since he turned pro. The past years he invested a lot in time trialling and he can now benefit from all his work," Sergeant said. "Victor is also ready to win stage races of one week or less, in which a time trial has a big influence on GC, like the Tour of Britain where he finished fourth. Victor is very passionate. I am convinced he will be an asset to our team in a discipline for which we don’t have a top rider at the moment."
Campenaerts is the first confirmed signing for 2018 with Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jürgen Roelandts (BMC Racing), Kris Boeckmans (Vital Concepts), and Louis Vervaeke (Team Sunweb) all exiting at the end of the season.