After we already informed you that André Greipel and Marcel Sieberg have extended their contracts, we can now announce that Jürgen Roelandts and Jens Debusschere have also signed for two more years.
Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, sports director: "The Tour de Suisse didn't bring us what we had expected."
Bart Leysen, sports director: "The team has worked well this race. André Greipel proved he's good. The results he set here are good for his confidence. Unfortunately there was no victory."
Debusschere finished the stage and went to hospital afterwards, where a fracture of his right radius was concluded. It's a clean and stable fracture. His arm will be in plaster for three to four weeks.
After we already informed you that André Greipel and Marcel Sieberg have extended their contracts, we can now announce that Jürgen Roelandts and Jens Debusschere have also signed for two more years. Jürgen Roelandts has ridden at this team ever since he was a pro and is our trump card for the Flemish classics. Last year he missed his favourite races after a crash in the Tour Down Under, but the team kept believing in its leader; this year Roelandts became third in the Tour of Flanders after a very strong and exciting final. He also gave the team a victory in the Tour Méditerranéen. The almost 28-year-old rider is also an important link in Greipel's sprint train.
Jens Debusschere is also a member of the team since his first year as a pro: 2011. When he was a junior he won the Tour of Flanders 2007. This season, for example in Ghent-Wevelgem, he showed that he will be able to play his role at the pros as well. Debusschere can also position himself in a sprint. This year he became fourth in a bunch sprint in the first stage of Paris-Nice.
Manager Marc Sergeant: "After the extended stay of André Greipel - and the running contract of Jurgen Van den Broeck - we hold on to another key figure. It's the sixth season of Jürgen in our team and he still can make progress. Next to that he's also an exponent of our vision and an example for our young riders. As a 23-year-old rider he arrived at the team, he got the chance to develop himself and as a leader he's an important part of our team. In the first part of the season the team stands behind him as one, he has an important role in the sprint train and also in the final part of the season we can rely on him. Also when Jürgen had a difficult time because of bad luck we have always kept believing in his qualities."
"The new commitment with Jens Debusschere is a logical choice as well. He still has to become 24 and he can help the team in different domains. This season he showed in Ghent-Wevelgem and other races that in the future he might play a prominent role in the classics. Also in the races where he can take his own chance, like Dwars door Vlaanderen this year, we count on him. And he isn't slow at the finish; especially when there is a finish with a small group he has opportunities."
Jürgen Roelandts: "It's important to me that, at Lotto Belisol, I can take my chance in the classics. My focus stays on the Flemish spring races for the next few years. Last year I was out for four months and I missed the first part of the season, but the team immediately gave me confidence when I returned in competition and selected me for the Tour de France. On top of all that we have an excellent sprint train. There are hardly any other teams that can ride such a strong two to three final kilometers. Of course that motivates us, especially for the upcoming Tour. It's a nice group here at Lotto Belisol, we have fun. Because I'm already riding here for several years I also have bonded with the whole staff and if you're feeling good in a group, you'll perform better."
Jens Debusschere: "Ever since the first year the team has believed in me. There is appreciation from both sides. I have never thought about riding elsewhere. I feel good at Lotto Belisol and the team offers me a lot of opportunities. I get the chance to search my way; I can participate in the classics as well as getting a go in the sprint. It's good that I can try everything. That's what I need."
An individual time trial of 26,8 km, with start in Bad Ragaz, closed the Tour de Suisse. There had to be climbed today as well, because the finish was on the Flumserberg and that meant an average gradient of 9% in the final 10 kilometers. Rui Costa set the best time and snatched the overall victory away from the Swiss Mathias Frank, who was leading the GC since the third stage. The Portuguese Costa successfully defended his title.
Lotto Belisol finished this Tour de Suisse only with five of the eight riders. Fréderique Robert and Brian Bulgaç got ill. The fifth day also Jens Debusschere had to quit. He crashed 30 km from the end, finished the stage, but tests in hospital showed a fracture of the radius. His right arm will now be in plaster for three to four weeks. The day before his crash he became 8th in the sprint. Tosh Van der Sande also participated in the sprints, he just got back after an injury. In the fifth stage he became 12th and a day later he was 6th of the peloton, which meant a tenth place. The team went to Switzerland to search for a stage win and to get a good classification with Francis De Greef. He became 25th at 17'04".
Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, sports director: "The Tour de Suisse didn't bring us what we had expected, partly because of bad luck. De Greef didn't have enough power on the crucial points uphill and the opponents were very strong. Olivier Kaisen was in the escape in stage four, but he still has consequences of his crash in the Tour of Turkey. That's why he had to let go of his two companions. Tosh Van der Sande on the other hand made a very good comeback after the fracture of his collarbone, we were glad he could get back in competition so soon. Only a few days before the start he was given the all-clear and he immediately takes part in the sprints at the end. That definitely gives confidence for the Belgian national championship next week."
Four out of six early escapees could stay ahead in the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer which started in Gerwen and finished in Boxtel. Pim Ligthart won the stage. The peloton was only a few meters behind. Because of a puncture for Theo Bos just before the final ten kilometers, there wasn't any support anymore from Blanco, so the peloton was too late. André Greipel won the group sprint. In the overall classification he's second behind Lars Boom. Greipel started with a tenth place in the prologue on Wednesday. Then he became two times second, each time just before Mark Cavendish. On the second day he finished behind the Dutchman Theo Bos, Friday Marcel Kittel was faster. The preparation for the sprint was disturbed that day because of a crash, Jürgen Roelandts was one of the riders involved.
The stage on Saturday was ridden in Belgium, from Verviers to La Gileppe. Adam Hansen animated the stage. The Australian rider of Lotto Belisol was part of a break of eight and he stayed ahead the longest. In 2010 he won that same stage. Greipel became sixth now, Lars Boom jumped away on the final climb and created a small gap. Besides a second place in GC, all these results yielded Greipel the points jersey as well. In the top ten of the GC Lotto Belisol has three riders. Marcel Sieberg became 7th, Jürgen Roelandts 9th. Sports director Bart Leysen is very satisfied about the team, but regrets there was no stage win.
Bart Leysen, sports director: "The team has worked well this race. André Greipel proved he's good. The results he set here are good for his confidence. Unfortunately there was no victory. But his sprints were strong and he ended before Cavendish in those sprints. Indeed, Marcel Kittel beat him once, and he'll meet him in the Tour as well, but yesterday he was dropped on the climb in the final."
"Because of the crash on Friday Jürgen Roelandts couldn't give everything in yesterday's stage, but luckily the damage isn't too bad. He's 9th in the overall classification, Sieberg 7th and Greipel 2nd and that shows the whole team is good. On top of that we take points, which is very important. We'll definitely be able to rely on our guys in the Tour, that's for sure."
Continental, the German tyre supplier of Lotto Belisol for our bikes and car park, launches an action this month to get cycling fans enthusiastic about their car tyres. With the slogan "Get the grip", there is a cash back action and a free competition with which one can win fun cycling gadgets.
People that live in Belgium or Luxembourg and buy two Continental summer tyres in June, July or August get back up to forty euro. Cycling fans can also participate in a free competition to win cycling gadgets. A signed cycling outfit of Lotto Belisol or a jersey signed by the four leaders in our team are part of the prizes. People only have to answer some questions on the site.
Thomas Vanautgaerden, communication manager at Continental: "Through our partnership with the Lotto Belisol team we want to reach the big cycling community in our country. We already have a very good image in it with our premium bike tyres. With the "Get the grip" action we want to put attention to our high tech car tyres and let the fans of Lotto Belisol and cycling lovers in general make the link between our different product groups. Our approach is: if guys like jürgen Roelandts and André Greipel have faith in us, you as a driver can do that as well."
"On top of that we launch a free competition in which several cycling gadgets can be won. We hope of course that our action is extra successful thanks to the good performances of Lotto Belisol in the Tour de France. At Continental we'll keep our fingers crossed for the team and we hope for stage wins of André Greipel and a good classification of Jurgen Van den Broeck."
This weekend, on Saturday 1st of June, for the second year in a row the Belisolpijl was organized in Roeselare. And it was a success. About 500 people had registered beforehand and received a goodie bag, with a Belisol bidon as one of the gifts. Another 130 turned up extra. The profits of this event goes entirely to the vzw OK - Ontmoeting & Ontspanning Kanker.
The participants could choose between a tour ride of 25 km, 75 km or 105 km, all mapped out by the Funbikers from Kuurne. The longest route, with the Kemmelberg on the course, was the most popular one. Afterwards everybody could get their strengths back at the hotdog stand and the bar. They could also take part in a tombola, with a Ridley bike being the main prize.
Of course also riders of the team paid a visit. André Greipel and Marcel Sieberg rode along, just like Dirk Bellemakers, Jens Debusschere, Tosh Van der Sande and Frederik Willems. Marijn de Vries and Ann-Sophie Duyck represented the Lotto Belisol Ladies. Also our new Flemish champions Jesse Vandenbulcke and Fenna Vanhoutte were there, it turned out to be the perfect preparation for the Flemish championship one day later.
Griet Hemeryck, head Planning at Belisol: "It was the second edition of the Belisolpijl and it was a big success. We had more participants than last year, when the event took place in October. We had good weather Saturday: it was dry and the sun started shining after a while. There was a fun atmosphere and the people could ride with people of the team and that was a nice extra. Also the meet and greet afterwards was a big success. Every person had to pay five euro to participate, this is entirely for vzw OK - Ontmoeting & Ontspanning Kanker, just like the profits of the tombola. This organization was given a building by the city Roeselare. This has to be renovated and Belisol will place the windows. People with cancer and those who take care of them will be welcome there. This Belisolpijl was a success."