Currently enjoying a prolonged stint in the yellow jersey at the Criterium du Dauphine via Thomas de Gendt, Lotto Soudal is aiming for similar success at the Tour de Suisse. Both WorldTour stage races are key warm-up events for next month's Tour de France.
At the Tour de Suisse (June 10-18), Lotto Soudal will start the race with the ambition of stage wins starting with Jürgen Roelandts in the stage 1 time trial. Tim Wellens is the team's main rider for the mountains with the Belgian aiming to add to his Majorca Challenge wins and Ruta del Sol stage success.
"Our main objective is to win a stage in this Tour de Suisse and we are less focused on a good result in the GC. I think we can obtain a good result in almost every stage with this versatile line-up. Jürgen Roelandts can get a good result in the prologue, since he finished second last year. In the two subsequent stages, there are also some chances for him," said sports director Frederik Willems.
"This year's Tour de Suisse is yet again another very hard race. This might be an advantage for Tim Wellens, as he always puts up good results in tough circumstances. Apart from Wellens, we also have Maxime Monfort and Louis Vervaeke for the mountain stages, but it remains to be seen how well Monfort has recovered from the Giro d'Italia."
Roelandts enjoyed a day in the leader's yellow jersey last year and the Belgian is aiming for more success at the race as he also fine tunes his form ahead of the national championships on June 25. A race he won back in 2008.
The prologue will be my first objective in this Tour de Suisse. Normally, a time trial of six kilometres is perfect for me, but this year's course suits me less. The prologue is on predominantly flat roads and is also less technical than last year, with only four corners. Nevertheless, I aim for a good result," said Roelandts.
"Next to the prologue, there are also some other stages which suit me, with some short climbs along the way. I am on my best in this type of stages, when a small group can make it to the finish. For the remainder of the Tour de Suisse, I hope to finish the mountain stages with a good feeling, to prepare myself in the best possible conditions for the Belgian Championships."
Jens Debusschere is also aiming for a second tricolour jersey but has decided to skip the race due to a lingering back injury. Tomasz Marczynski is the only non-Belgian rider in the squad for the Tour de Suisse which is completed by Bart De Clercq, Nikolas Maes, Louis Vervaeke, Jelle Wallays and Tim Wellens.
"The team has performed very well over the past weeks with stage wins in the 4 Jours de Dukerque, the Belgium Tour and the Critérium du Dauphiné. We want to continue this streak in the upcoming Tour de Suisse," added Willems.
Lotto Soudal for the 2017 Tour de Suisse: Bart De Clercq, Nikolas Maes, Tomasz Marczynski, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Louis Vervaeke, Jelle Wallays and Tim Wellens.