Lotto Soudal have completed its 27-rider 2016 roster with the signing of Frederik Frison from its U23 team. Marc Sergeant, the Belgian WorldTour team manager, explained the ongoing recovery of Kris Boeckmans from his Vuelta a Espana crash was one of the reasons for adding a further rider to his squad. Frison rode as a stagiaire with the team this season, helping Andre Greipel to final day stage win at the Tour of Britain in August.
"I found it really important that we could sign a 27th rider. Because of the rehabilitation of Kris Boeckmans and the Olympic dream of Jasper De Buyst we had only 24 riders we could count on to ride a double or even triple race programme of a high quality, and that's not enough," Sergeant said. "That's why I plead to let Frederik join the team. He was a trainee at our team as of August this year. At the Tour of Denmark and Tour of Britain he proved his skills. The riders that he worked for often said he could be a useful asset and so he will be now."
Sergeant added the addition of Frison continues the team's strong Belgian core of both riders and sponsors.
"Frederik is a rider for different terrains and can help several riders and I am 100 per cent sure that he'll do everything he can to serve the team the next two years. He's a rider from our U23 team," Sergeant said. "Of the eighteen Belgians we now have in the team, nine come from our own team. For all parties, like the National Lottery and the team itself, this has to be an incentive to continue on the same path and to keep offering opportunities to young riders to set the step to our WorldTour team or a Pro Continental team to maybe reach the WorldTour level later."
A promising junior rider, Frison has several top-ten results earlier in the season while riding for the U23 team before being called up to the WorldTour team. When no contract was forthcoming, Frison explained he remained focus on his dreams rather than worrying about what 2016 would bring.
"This is a really nice new year's present. I am really satisfied that I can become pro after a season as elite without contract," Frison said. "It's very difficult to get in a WorldTour team, so it's even more fantastic when you can make your début as professional in such a team. This makes me very happy. All winter I took care of myself really well, so I'm not panicking. I am really pleased to set this next step within the Lotto Soudal team. The youth programme has evolved the past years and is more close to the WorldTour team now. I've always had the chance to ride a nice programme and they prepared me for this step. I learned a lot the past three years, from Kurt Van de Wouwer for example."
"Describing himself similar in characteristics to Stig Broeckx, Frison added that he will look to improve on his time trialing while equally playing a team role, "You can count on us to work for the leaders of the team. I am a rider for the spring races," he said.
2016 Lotto Soudal roster: Sander Armée, Lars Ytting Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Kris Boeckmans, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Jasper De Buyst, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Debusschere, Gert Dockx, Frederik Frison, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Gregory Henderson, Pim Ligthart, Tomasz Marczynski, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Rafael Valls Ferri, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert, Louis Vervaeke and Jelle Wallays.