Now the cycling season is over Lotto Belisol manager Marc Sergeant analyses 2014.
Marc Sergeant about the victories
"With 29 victories we are sixth in the team ranking and Greipel has the most victories of the international peloton. But I would have loved to swop some victories in the Europe Tour for victories in the WorldTour. Because the eight WorldTour victories and the two national titles make our season, the other wins are soon forgotten."
Marc Sergeant about the spring
"The biggest gap in our season are the Flemish spring races. A sixth place for Gallopin in Harelbeke, the same for Debusschere in Waregem and a victory in Nokere for Dehaes is not enough. We didn't play a role in the opening weekend; in Ghent-Wevelgem, the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix we had bad luck."
Marc Sergeant about the one-day races
"With eleven top ten spots on a total of fourteen WorldTour one-day races we can be satisfied, apart from the cobblestone classics. Vanendert got second in the Amstel and sixth in San Sebastián, Gallopin third in Montréal, fifth in San Sebastián and sixth in Harelbeke, and Wellens fourth in Lombardia and sixth in Plouay. If Roelandts can join them next year we're good."
Marc Sergeant about the stage races
"The victory of Wellens in the Eneco Tour was outstanding. Van den Broeck became nicely third in the Dauphiné. Generally we had hoped for more in the Grand Tours and the stage races of one week. Top ten in Giro, Tour and Vuelta was never in the cards and also in other stage races we didn't battle for the prizes."
Marc Sergeant about Tour 2014
"There was lots of reaction about the performances of Gallopin. Then it becomes clear again which impact the Tour has. He loved the feeling to stand on the podium in the yellow jersey more than winning the stage, but that victory was a very strong performance according to me. Greipel wins in Reims, the only time he didn't really have a lead-out, after it hadn't gone smoothly the days before. ‘I risked my life', he told that evening, but that's sometimes necessary to win in the Tour."
Marc Sergeant about Lotto Soudal
"It's exceptional in cycling that the most important partners commit themselves for such a long time to a project. With Lotto, Soudal, Ridley and Vermarc four very important partners have done that. That gives peace of mind, but brings also responsibility with it. The partners have expectations and ambitions, it's up to us to fulfil those."
Marc Sergeant about Jurgen Van den Broeck
"Jurgen was always a member of the Tour selection the past years, for 2015 that's not certain yet. But that doesn't mean he won't ride either. The next few weeks we'll talk with the riders about their programme. I will talk very openly with him, take all things into account that play a role in it and see which route we will take with him. Maybe we will only make the final decision after the first part of the year, after we had Paris-Nice or the Tirreno, Catalunya, País Vasco and Romandie."
Marc Sergeant about Jürgen Roelandts
"Jürgen never was at his best in 2014. Problems with his teeth, bad luck and crashes, inflamed sinuses,... There was always something wrong. We believe in him. He will extend his contract soon. I told him that he had to forget everything, we will monitor his problems and if he has a good winter he will be able to grow towards his best shape. The idea not to send him to Australia and build up to the Flemish races more gradually, is a consequence of that."
Marc Sergeant about Tim Wellens
"This year he has set a big step forward, bigger than we had expected. I think he's ready to be the leader in certain races next year. Normally he will make his debut in the Tour. Not for a GC, but to show nice things with his offensive racing style in some stages. We will see if he will become a rider for the Grand Tours or the smaller stage races and classics. He's the exponent of a nice generation of youngsters who knock on the door, with among other Broeckx, Vervaeke, Benoot, Vallée, De Buyst and De Bie. They have to form the basis of our future."