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"Of course, the World Tour will be a step higher. I already raced some one-day races on this level, but when it comes to stage races I only raced the Eneco Tour. This certainly will give me some new experiences."

Photo: ASO/B.Bade






29.09.2015 @ 13:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It isn’t a surprise that Jelle Wallays will join the Lotto Soudal team for the next two seasons. The oldest of the Wallays brothers will make the switch to the WorldTour after being part of Topsport Vlaanderen for the last five years. In those years, he proved that he’s ready for the next step in his career, with wins in Dwars door Vlaanderen, Paris-Tours, Omloop van het Houtland and the World Ports Classic.


“Joining a WorldTour team is a dream come true," he said. "The past five years I rode for Topsport Vlaanderen. A period where I built up a good relation with the staff and riders. I achieved some good results and everyone grants my transfer to Lotto Soudal.


"I already had some contact with Lotto Soudal, but after this spring the interest became serious. Already at the first meeting I had a good feeling, because my expectations and their vision matched. Obviously, I will help the team leaders every now and then, but I also get the chance to ride a Grand Tour, so I can become stronger. When the opportunity comes, I am allowed to take my own chances in a team that showed that an attractive way of racing pays off.


"Of course, the World Tour will be a step higher. I already raced some one-day races on this level, but when it comes to stage races I only raced the Eneco Tour. This certainly will give me some new experiences, but the fact that I signed for two years gives me the opportunity to get used to the new situation and find my place in the team. I will strive to be meaningful in every race and it will be a pleasure to support riders like Jens Debusschere or André Greipel.”


“When we searched on the Belgian market to find some strong riders who fit well in a WorldTour team, Jelle Wallays quickly grabbed our attention," manager Marc Sergeant said. "Topsport Vlaanderen is anyway an important development team for young talented riders, but in the past years Jelle evolved into a rider who can ride finals.


"It will be quite logical that his role at Lotto Soudal will be different than his role at Topsport Vlaanderen, but his style of racing can remain the same. He rides with a lot of doggedness, is a go-getter and this is essential in the types of races he likes. He will certainly get the time to adjust himself. If he feels good, he will be there, I’m sure. “


Two riders who are already part of the team, will extend their contract. Sander Armée and Gert Dockx will try to confirm the trust from the team in 2016. For Dockx, it will be his sixth season with the team. Armée starts his third year in January.


“I haveen already been part of Lotto Soudal for two years and I didn’t regret it for one moment,"Armee said. "That’s why I’m very happy with this contract extension. The Grand Tours are races I always look forward to. Thanks to Lotto Soudal, I already rode three Grand Tours in my career and they are my favourite races. My body recovers quickly and without many problems I can fulfil my role in the team.


"Next to the Grand Tours, I really like the Walloon races. As a U23 rider, I rode my best results in these races. Also as a pro, I can assist the team leaders in the final of the hilly races.


"I don’t make myself any illusions. Also in 2016 I will be a helper. My objective is to assist the team leaders as long as possible. I will do everything I can to make sure that I am in top condition in April and May. If there is a chance for me to do my own thing, than I will go for it. This year I managed to win the Heistse Pijl. Winning is always nice and I hope to do it again in 2016.”


“I can describe this season in two words: bad luck," Dockx said. "The first races went perfect. I started the season in the Tour Down Under. In Australia and also in the Flemish races, the feeling was good. Everything went perfect until the E3 Harelbeke. There I crashed and bruised my tailbone. Because of this bruise, my spring campaign was over.


"When I got back to racing, I crashed again, this time in the Dauphiné. This was both mentally and physically a big blow: I broke my collarbone and elbow. Now, four months later, I still feel some pain. After a long period of doubt I finally received a “go” to race again. In the last races, I started to feel better. I would like to finish off my season with a good feeling before going into the winter.


"Next season, I would like to show what I’m really worth. A whole season without bad luck would be nice. I would like to show myself in races like the Dauphiné and the Flemish classics. This contract extension is a sign of confidence from the team. It’s nice to hear some good news after all these setbacks.”



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