Maes becomes sports director at Lotto Soudal

Lotto Soudal’s Nikolas Maes at the 2020 Milan-San Remo
Lotto Soudal’s Nikolas Maes at the 2020 Milan-San Remo (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Nikolas Maes – who rode his last race as a professional at the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne in October – will take on a new role as a sports director at Lotto Soudal in 2021. The 34-year-old has ridden for the Belgian WorldTour squad for the past four seasons, and will now use his expertise and knowledge to work with the younger members of the team.

During his 14-year career, Maes rode for Chocolade Jacques and QuickStep – often in the service of Tom Boonen at the latter – and then joined Lotto Soudal for the 2017 season. Although he mainly rode as a domestique, the Belgian also won a stage at the 2009 Vuelta a Burgos and took the overall classification at the two-day World Ports Classic in 2013.

"I'm already preparing for my second career in the construction and real estate industry, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to lend a hand to Lotto Soudal," Maes said in a press release on Monday. "Cycling is, and will always be, my passion."

Maes has talked about how much he enjoyed mentoring younger riders later in his career, and will get that opportunity once more in his new role.

"The Classics are my field," he continued. "The team is counting on my experience, but I'm also looking forward to integrating all those many young, new and youthful talents into the team. This is a project that I'm looking forward to getting started in, and so 2021 will be a very instructive year for me."

Lotto Soudal's general manager, John Lelangue, added: "We love not to waste the expertise we have in-house. We're continuing what we started last year with [former rider] Maxime Monfort – our new performance manager. Nikolas will be deployed in the spring and will take care of the youth in the team.

"He has plenty of experience, and knows the team like the back of his hand. Over the past four seasons, Nikolas has shown himself to be an indispensable link at Lotto Soudal during the spring Classics," said Lelangue.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.