Belgian deputy prime minister, David Clarinval, has allocated a further €90,000 (£79,000) of national lottery money to the Lotto Soudal Ladies team to assist them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Belgium's national lottery – Lotto – already sponsor the ladies team and the men's Lotto Soudal WorldTour outfit, but this extra subsidy from Clarinval, whose responsibilities include overseeing the national lottery, comes at a vital time.
"Women's sport, including cycling, is something I see as very important," said Clarinval, according to a Het Nieuwsblad report on Monday.
"The Lotto Soudal Ladies team plays an important role in the growth opportunities of many young, talented cyclists. It is a great initiative, and that's why I think it's important to support this."
The squad includes 2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Christina Siggaard, Belgian time trial champion Lotte Kopecky and Belgian road race champion Jesse Vandenbulcke, as well as British riders Abby-Mae Parkinson and Dani Christmas.
Kopecky, in particular, had enjoyed a very successful 2019 season, sprinting to victories at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Feminas and the MerXem Classic, as well as taking her national TT title. The 24-year-old Belgian also finished third at this season's Le Samyn des Dames, on March 3, which proved to be the last major women's race before the enforced shutdown of competition.
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