Team Lotto-Ridley is keen to stick with a maximum number of Belgian cyclists in its 2012 squad
Team Lotto split with Omega Pharma in 2011 in order to develop a Belgian team. The team comprises of a number of foreign riders but its nationality is still Belgian.
Marc Sergeant, sports director of the team, said, “Our project will remain Belgian, but if you want to count in the World Tour, you also need foreigners. It’s that simple at the top of the game”.
The main reason behind the separation of the two teams was to give a chance to the Belgian ridersto come in the mainstream.
The team’s Administrative Manager, Bill Olivier, told Sportswereld, “That’s still the case. With Tosh Van der Sande, Gaetan Bille, Jonas Vangenechten, Sander Cordeel and Dennis Vanendert there are five Belgian neo-pros on the team. It’s not that we are ignoring
the youth. On the contrary, young riders remain key for Lotto- Ridley”.
Sergeant also mentioned that it is not possible to have a complete Belgian squad considering the current competition. He stated that Andrei Greipel (German) scored the highest number of points for the team and it was necessary to include him for the next
Olivier revealed that it is important to have international stars in the team to groom the young Belgian riders. He also added that the combination of Belgian and non-Belgian riders in the squad will be beneficial for the team.
A total number of 18 Belgian cyclists are included in the squad of 27 riders. Olivier mentioned that team has done pretty well to form the perfect combination for the coming season.
All the existing non-Belgian riders in the team are: Andre Greipel, Adam Hansen, Vicente Reynes, Marcel and Sieberg.
New inclusions in the team consist of Lars Bak, Brian Bulgac, Greg Henderson, Mehdi Sohrabi and Joost Van Leijen, all of whom are non-Belgians.
The team might sign a few more riders for the coming season. The current 27 cyclists have already been given their new contracts.
Belgian riders in the 2012 Lotto squad are: Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx, Bart De Clercq, Francis De Greef, Jurgen Roelandts, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Jurgen Vandewalle, Jelle Vanendert, Frederik Willems, Olivier Kaisen and Maarten Neyens.
Six new Belgians were given an opportunity in the new squad, namely, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert, Jonas Vangenechten, Gaetan Bille, Sander Cordeel and Frederique Robert.
With a majority of Belgians in the squad, Team Lotto-Ridley is sticking to its Belgian origin.