Lotto prime Gilbert and Van den Broeck for success

Omega Pharma-Lotto hope to start the 2010 racing season in strong fashion after a successful end to their 2009 campaign. The Belgian ProTour team, then known as Silence-Lotto, didn't win a race until the end of March in 2009, but ended the season with a series of wins thanks to Philippe Gilbert and Cadel Evans scooping the rainbow jersey.

“I hope we continue the momentum from the end of 2009,” team manager Marc Sergeant told, from the team's training camp on Mallorca.

The team is preparing for the season “in a tranquil atmosphere,” he said. “We go over the programme for each rider and which races they will ride.”

Gilbert, who ended 2009 with four top victories, will ride the Spring Classics, as will Greg Van Avermaet and Jurgen Roelandts. “Greg Van Avermaet is eager to forget 2009 and that certainly applies to Jurgen Roelandts, too. One of those three will be our top man this spring.”

In 2009, the team looked to Cadel Evans at the Tour de France, but the World Champion chose to leave for BMC Racing Team this year. “We worked well together for five years,” Sergeant said. “I still regret his departure.”

Omega Pharma-Lotto will now have Jurgen Van den Broeck as its head man in France. “Jurgen has proved that he can do something. He can finish in the top ten or win a mountain stage.”

The 26-year-old finished fifteenth in the Tour last year, although the team had hoped for a higher placing. “We have to believe,” Sergeant said.

The team had hoped to sign Roman Kreuziger for this season, but the 23-year-old had an ongoing contract with Liquigas. The Czech rider, who finished ninth in the Tour de France in 2009, would have been the Tour captain.


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