‘OLD MAN’ GILBERT JOINS LOTTO SOUDAL
Philippe Gilbert, the 2012 road-race world champion, will return to Lotto Soudal next season at the age of 38 on a three-year contract, the team announced on Monday. Gilbert, who is in his third season at another Belgian team, Quick-Step, made his mark in his first spell at Lotto from 2009-11.
The Belgian, who won the Paris-Roubaix race earlier this summer, said on the team website that the length of the contract had helped persuade him.
“I still wanted to race, without any doubt,” he said. “When I learned that I could prolong at my current team for only one year, it was clear to me that I wanted to change.”
“I know the team,” he said. “And I will again be part of a Belgian project.”
Gilbert reached the world No.1 ranking with Lotto in 2011, a season when he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Amstel Gold, the Fleche Wallonne, the Tour de Lombardy, the first stage of the Tour de France and the Saint-Sebastien Classic.
“He can pass on his experience to the current team, which is hungry for new success,” said team manager Marc Sargent, who also oversaw Gilbert’s first stint at the team. “His age is a relative term, you are as old or fit as you feel.”
TOM DUMOULIN TO JUMBO VISMA
Former world champion Tom Dumoulin, second to Geraint Thomas in the 2018 Tour de France, joined Team Jumbo Visma on Monday, quitting Sunweb after eight years. The 28-year-old Dutchman, who was forced to sit out this year’s Tour de France with a knee injury, had two years to run on his Sunweb contract.
Jumbo-Visma said its goal was to win a Grand Tour with Dumoulin, a former Giro winner, in its ranks for the next three years.
“I’m looking forward to contributing to that goal, winning a Grand Tour”, Dumoulin said on his new team’s website.
Earlier, Sunweb announced the 2017 world champion was quitting the team “after an incredible eight-year journey filled with countless successes…”
Dumoulin was forced to sit out this year’s Tour de France due to an injury that cut short his Giro challenge. While away from the action he began to think about his future and the “great” offers coming his way.
“After the disappointment of missing the Tour and finding myself sitting at home, I started to consider that a new environment could be refreshing,” he said.
“There were great offers and this phase of my career felt like the right time to take it.”