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Vervloesem and Moniquet sign two-year deals with Lotto Soudal

Sylvain Moniquet, riding for the Belgian national squad, at the 2019 Grand Prix de Wallonie
Sylvain Moniquet, riding for the Belgian national squad, at the 2019 Grand Prix de Wallonie (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Lotto Soudal have announced the signing of young Belgian riders Xandres Vervloesem and Sylvain Moniquet, who will both join the WorldTour squad on two-year contracts from next season.

Vervloesem already rides for the Lotto Soudal under-23 development squad, and took the overall title at the Ronde de l'Isard stage race last week, while Moniquet has spent this season at the Groupama-FDJ Continental Team – a feeder squad to the French WorldTour outfit.

Moniquet had been leading the Ronde de l'Isard since stage 2a, only losing the leader's jersey to Vervloesem, and dropping to seventh overall, on the final stage. Now the compatriots – who already know each other from riding for the Belgian national team – will join forces as part of Lotto Soudal's WorldTour squad.

"I knew from my period as a junior that I could climb, but this was just my second race in the real mountains in two years as under-23 rider," said 20-year-old Vervloesem in a press release. "I've ended the dream of Sylvain Moniquet, but that's sport. Right now, Sylvain is still riding for the Groupama-FDJ Continental Team.

"[Teammate] Henri Vandenabeele and I tried to isolate Sylvain in that last stage, and we succeeded. Next year, Sylvain and I will work together, but for now we don't," continued Vervloesem, who was with the Sunweb development team before joining Lotto Soudal's feeder team this season.

"To win this prestigious stage race is good for my confidence, and a nice thank you to my future team. They've contracted me based on my good test results, even before I won the Tour de l'Isard," he said.

French-speaking Belgian rider Moniquet said: "I'm ready for this new step in my career, and I'm really happy to join Lotto Soudal. I know the other young riders, I speak some Dutch, and I'm prepared to work hard for the big guns of the team.

"My time will come later. It's an exciting opportunity and one that I feel has come at the right time," the 22-year-old said.

"We plunged into our own market to sign some talented young riders," added Lotto Soudal general manager John Lelangue. "It's a deliberate choice to rejuvenate the team and to focus not only on the Classics but on stage races as well. We needed some more climbers. With Harm Vanhoucke, Viktor Verschaeve, Filippo Conca, Sylvain Montiquet and Xandres Vervloesem, we aim to get results in the medium term. We've already recruited Sébastien Grignard as well.

"It's nice to see that Kurt Van de Wouwer's Lotto Soudal development team is functioning extremely well. Now we can avour the fruits of his hard work," Lelangue said.

Lotto Soudal also announced the signing of 22-year-old Australian Harry Sweeny from the team's under-23 squad last week.