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Great start of the season for Lotto-Belisol on their Ridley Bikes
In January, the Lotto-Belisol team was active on 4 different continents: Europe, Australia, Africa and South America. The sometimes long journeys clearly had no effect on their performance, as they always competed for the win!
The Australian campaign of Lotto Belisol can't be called anything but 'successful'. The victory in the People's Choice Classic (criterium) and three stages in the Tour Down Under showed that the team around sprinter André Greipel has laid a good foundation for the classics and the tour.
Sports director Herman Frison: "We couldn't do much more than this. Only our goal to place one of our riders in the top ten didn't succeed; Adam Hansen finished sixteenth. But the way we rode here and dominated the sprints, was impressive. A lot of people that were present here were enthusiastic about our performances. We didn't lay the foundation of our successes in a few weeks time. We are working on this project for more than two years and since last year our train is on the rails. But each time we try to do better and refine every detail, so we repeat a lot on training."
While Greipel and his mates began the competition in Australia, Van den Broeck and co were riding their first kilometers in Argentina. With a fifth (VDB) and ninth (De Clercq) place in the GC of the 'Tour de San Luis', with big names at the start, this stage race can also be called a success
Sports director Mario Aerts: "Generally I think we rode well, certainly as a team. I had loved to go home with a stage win, but with a lot of strong riders present and the good performances of the South-Americans, this was not easy. And we didn't have a sprinter with us here (laughs)."
It was the first time the Lotto-Belisol team participated in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo or 'Tour du Gabon'. It has been a very successful race in Gabon with four stage wins (two for Gert Dockx and two for Fréderique Robert), a third place in the GC (Gaëtan Bille at 14" of Yohann Gène) and the first place in the team classification.
For races like the Tour of Gabon, People's Choice Classic and the Tour Down Under, the Lotto-Belisol team uses the Ridley Noah Fast and the Ridley Helium SL. In the following months they will also use the Ridley Fenix for the cobble classics like the 'Ronde van Vlaanderen' and Paris-Roubaix.