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Tour de France

Lotto Soudal sends bolstered squad to support Caleb Ewan at Tour de France

The Belgian team on the hunt for stage victories as it remains locked in tight WorldTour relegation battle.

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Lotto Soudal is sending a strengthened roster to support Caleb Ewan at the Tour de France as the team goes in search of stage victories.

Ewan will have new signing Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Frederik Frison, Florian Vermeersch, and Brent Van More at his disposal next month.

The three remaining spots on the team will go to Philippe Gilbert — who is riding his final season as a professional — Andreas Kron, and Tim Wellens. The trio will be dedicated to making it into breakaways, and with the balance between sprints, hills, and the mountains, Lotto Soudal hopes it has covered all its bases for the Tour de France.

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“With these eight we can play our part on almost every terrain in this Tour de France,” Lotto Soudal CEO John Lelangue said. “With Caleb Ewan we have one of the fastest riders of the peloton. He is our biggest chance on a stage win and therefore we have made sure he is well surrounded with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Frederik Frison, Florian Vermeersch, and Brent Van Moer.

“Those last two will also definitely have highlighted the cobbled stage to Arenberg. Furthermore, Philippe Gilbert, Andreas Kron, and Tim Wellens have proven the last weeks to be in a very good shape. They will definitely be active in the more difficult stages and be present in breakaways.”

Lotto Soudal is one of several teams locked in a battle to avoid relegation from the WorldTour at the end of the season. Currently, it is below the cut-off line that would mean it is relegated if it remained there, though it is not far behind the likes of BikeExchange-Jayco and EF Education-EasyPost.

The team has had a strong run in recent weeks and will be looking to continue that form with a haul of stage victories.

Ewan has only raced once since he abandoned the Giro d’Italia ahead of stage 2 following a disappointing run that saw him miss out on a stage win. He finished second to Fabio Jakobsen, who he will face at the Tour de France, at the Elfstedenronde earlier this month.