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Look who's back: Victor Campenaerts returns to Lotto Soudal for 2022

Lotto Soudal's Victor Campenaerts sets a new 5,000-metre track record of 5:51:00 at the t'Kuipke velodrome on the final night of the 2019 Gent Six Day
Victor Campenaerts riding for Lotto Soudal on the track at the 2019 Gent Six Day (Image credit: Getty Images)

Victor Campenaerts will return to Lotto Soudal in 2022, leaving the troubled Qhubeka NextHash team to return to the Belgian WorldTour team he raced for between 2016 and 2019. 

He broke the UCI Hour Record and won the European time trial title while with Lotto Soudal and will bolster their Classics squad after John Degenkolb opted to move to Team DSM

Several teams were interested in signing Campenaerts when Qhubeka NextHash’s financial problems emerged and riders were given the freedom to find new teams.

Cyclingnews saw Campenaerts in talks with Lotto Soudal manager John Lelangue on the eve of Il Lombardia and a return to the Belgian team seemed a logical move.

Lotto Soudal announced Campenaerts return via an amusing video. He walked into a Belgian bar where his teammates were gathered, with them cheering his return to the fold. Campenaerts then signed a kind of contract with Lelangue.  

“Obviously I was charmed by the great interest from different teams, but the interesting project and the clear ambitions of Lotto Soudal were the deciding factor,” said Campenaerts. 

“I immediately felt confidence and it is of course also nice that in addition to a few riders, I also know many staff members well. I'm really looking forward to contributing to Lotto Soudal's attractive way of racing, it's really exciting!

"I look back with great pleasure on the past two years at Team Qhubeka. It is more than a cycling team. I will always have a warm heart for the charity associated with the team – giving children a chance for better education by bicycle.”

Campenaerts has evolved from a time trialist to aggressive Classics rider. He won a stage at the Giro d’Italia and was third overall at the Benelux Tour. 

“I have lost my heart to the spring classics and I want to continue on the momentum of last season,” he explained. 

“That means attacking races, but also achieving results. The two also often go hand in hand, because that way you can sometimes create a race scenario from which you can win. And with a lot of young people such as Van Moer and Vermeersch, there is an enormous amount of talent present. We can certainly play in the finals.”

“I myself have taken a step back in time trial, but of course I still have a lot of know-how. I would also like to pass this on to young people with ambition in stage races. I want to be a pioneer for the younger riders to sharpen their racing courage. But also vice versa I can learn a lot within Lotto Soudal from, among others, Philippe Gilbert, who will drive his last season next year.”

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