"I think this is an ideal team for me," De Plus said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Team LottoNL-Jumbo has proven to work well with young riders and to be able to develop them further. Seeing how the team rode in the Tour de France motivated me. This is a unique opportunity for me to develop further and hopefully to be able to perform well later on in Grand Tours. The good atmosphere at Team LottoNL-Jumbo is also very important to me.”
De Plus turned professional with Quick-Step in 2016 after enjoying a fine under-23 career on Lotto Soudal’s development squad. He underlined his ability as a climber by placing second overall at both Ronde de l’Isard and the Giro della Valle d’Aosta in 2015.
As a 21-year-old neo-professional, De Plus impressed sufficiently to earn selection for the Belgian squad for the road race at the Rio 2016 Olympics. He made his Grand Tour debut in 2017, placing 24th overall at the Giro d’Italia.
De Plus’ progress has been hindered by crashes over the past year. He fractured his knee when he crashed on the descent of the Sormano at Il Lombardia last October, and suffered further ill fortune when he and teammate Petr Vakoc were hit by a truck while training in South Africa at the start of this year.
That incident left De Plus with a broken pelvis, and kept him out of racing until Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn – Frankfurt on May 1. He has since raced the Tour of California, Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Pologne, and is set to ride the Vuelta a España, which gets underway on Saturday.
LottoNL-Jumbo have enjoyed a fine 2018 campaign, most notably at the Tour de France, where Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk placed 4th and 5th overall, respectively, while Dylan Groenewegen won two stages.
Directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman hailed the arrival of the 23-year-old De Plus as an investment for the future of the team.
"Thanks to Jumbo’s long-term commitment, we are able to look to the long term," Zeeman said. "We would like to have the greatest talents in our team and therefore we scout intensively in the age category 22 to 25 years. That is the new generation of leaders. We will gradually guide guys like Laurens in this process: from support for our current leaders to opportunities to take the lead themselves."
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