Lelangue looking forward to taking the reins at Lotto Soudal

Lotto Soudal's new general manager, John Lelangue, says he expects to be a "real general manager" when he joins the Belgian WorldTour team in the role in mid-November.

Lelangue will replace former team manager Paul De Geyter, who parted ways with the team earlier this month "by mutual agreement", according to the team.

De Geyter's departure was allegedly as a result of the team's failure to sign up-and-coming Belgian road star Wout Van Aert when he became available, as well as a failure to attract new sponsors to the squad.

Lelangue was almost immediately announced as De Geyter's replacement, and says that he'll start his new job in mid-November.

In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, Lelangue also said that he has admired the team's set-up since it was formed as Lotto-Merckx-Campagnolo for the 1985 season, and was a fan as a teenager of the squad that had today's Quick-Step Floors manager Patrick Lefevere as an assistant manager in the mid-80s.

"That first team in 1985: on Eddy Merckx bikes, Walter Godefroot at the helm, Jef Lieckens in the red intermediate jersey at the Tour de France..."

If the now 47-year-old Belgian's ability behind the scenes is as good as his knowledge of history, Lotto Soudal is surely in good hands.

Indeed, Lelangue headed up both the now defunct Phonak team in 2005 and 2006, and then BMC Racing from 2008 until just after the 2013 Tour de France – when he left "for personal reasons" – and has since worked as a senior advisor to the UCI, having also previously worked for Tour organisers ASO.

Speaking from the Tour of Guangxi in China, where he was working as liaison between the race organisers, the Chinese cycling federation and the UCI, which was the last race of the 2018 UCI road season, Lelangue told Het Laatste Nieuws that he will move to Belgium on November 15, and will officially join Lotto Soudal then.

"It'll be a comprehensive job, giving me a global overview of the team," Lelangue said of his new role. "I'll work in a number of different areas: structural, organisational, communications, sporting... But also in the fields of marketing and budget management, too.

"It's a real general manager's role, which every self-respecting team, whether in cycling or football, has somebody working in," he said.

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