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Ewan and Gilbert spearhead Lotto Soudal at Tour de France

TERNI ITALY MARCH 09 Caleb Ewan of Australia and Team Lotto Soudal celebrates at finish line as stage winner during the 57th TirrenoAdriatico 2022 Stage 3 a 170km stage from Murlo to Terni TirrenoAdriatico WorldTour on March 09 2022 in Terni Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Caleb Ewan will lead Lotto Soudal at the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Caleb Ewan will lead Lotto Soudal in pursuit of stage victories at the Tour de France, while Philippe Gilbert will make his twelfth and final appearance in the event.

Lotto Soudal’s Tour selection is built around Ewan’s sprint, and his lead-out train will include Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Frederik Frison, Florian Vermeersch and Brent Van Moer.

Tim Wellens, who was denied Baloise Belgium Tour victory in controversial circumstances at the weekend, and Andreas Kron complete the eight-man roster.

Lotto Soudal are fighting to maintain their place at WorldTour level in 2023 and they currently lie in the relegation zone, although Arnaud De Lie’s recent run of wins has bolstered their chances of survival. The 20-year-old neo-professional is not in the Tour squad.

“With these eight we can play our part on almost every terrain in this Tour de France,” Lotto Soudal CEO John Lelangue said in a statement released by the team on Wednesday.

“With Caleb Ewan we have one of the fastest riders of the peloton. He is our biggest chance on a stage win and therefore we have made sure he is well surrounded with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Frederik Frison, Florian Vermeersch and Brent Van Moer.”

Ewan’s lead-out train in France is markedly different to the one at his service on the Giro d’Italia, where he was guided by Roger Kluge, Rüdiger Selig and Michael Schwarzmann.

The Australian has won five races so far in 2022, but he endured disappointment at the Giro when he crashed while sprinting for the first maglia rosa of the race in Visegrad on the opening day.

He would later place second in Scalea before abandoning in the second week. His lone outing between the Giro and Tour came at Elfstedenronde Brugge, where he placed second to Fabio Jakobsen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl).

Ewan won a hat-trick of Tour stages on his debut in 2019 and he added two more in 2020, but he was forced to abandon last year’s race after breaking his collarbone in a crash in the bunch sprint in Pontivy.

Selection for the Tour caps a remarkable turnaround for Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, who feared his professional career was over following the demise of the Qhuebka NextHash team last winter. The South African only signed for Lotto Soudal in late April and he was forced to miss the recent Baloise Belgium Tour through illness.

Gilbert, who is riding his final season as a professional, will celebrate his 40th birthday during the Tour. Together with Vermeersch and Van Moer, he will hope to shine on the cobbled run to Arenberg on stage 5. Gilbert made his Tour debut in 2005 and his finest moment on the race came in 2011, when he won the opening stage atop Mont des Alouettes.

"Philippe Gilbert, Andreas Kron and Tim Wellens have proven the last weeks to be in a very good shape," said Lelangue. "They will definitely be active in the more difficult stages and be present in breakaways."

Lotto Soudal for the 2022 Tour de France

  • Caleb Ewan
  • Philippe Gilbert
  • Andreas Kron
  • Tim Wellens
  • Florian Vermeersch
  • Brent Van Moer
  • Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
  • Frederik Frison

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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.