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Caleb Ewan, Philippe Gilbert lead Lotto-Soudal in packed spring classics ambitions

Belgian team targets at least one monument in 2022 and is backing Paris-Roubaix sensation Florian Vermeersch across the cobbled classics.

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Lotto-Soudal is throwing everything at the spring classics in 2022 in hopes of bringing home a major monument victory.

The Belgian outfit came close in 2021, and wants to go one step higher in the season’s major one-day races.

Its treble of classics capos — Caleb Ewan, Philippe Gilbert and Florian Vermeersch — confirmed their spring ambitions.

It’s no surprise that Ewan, twice a runner-up at Milano-Sanremo, will put the opening monument at the center of his spring. Gilbert is going all-in on the Ardennes in his final classics campaign, while Paris-Roubaix runner-up and young sensation Vermeersch will be out to prove that his podium spot was no fluke in the Flemish classics.

Ewan, who also confirmed he will chase stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, said he hopes his number will come up first after clearing the Poggio.

“My two earlier second places prove that I can come a long way in Milan-Sanremo,” Ewan said. “The team has helped me to prepare myself perfectly this winter, so I believe that we can deliver a top performance this year again.”

Races for Caleb Ewan: Saudi Tour, UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France. 

Philippe Gilbert Tour de France
Gilbert will target the Ardennes in his final season. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Gilbert, meanwhile, will not race the Flemish classics, instead putting all of his energy into preparing for the Ardennes in his final season in the bunch.

He will also race Milano-Sanremo alongside Ewan, but admitted the Italian monument will prove challenging to win though he’s already won four of the other five monuments during his career.

“I am very motivated to end my career in a positive way,” Gilbert said. “It is nice to be able to do all the races in which I have had so many good moments once again. If I see how hard we have worked with all the team and everyone around it, I think we will have a very nice spring season.”

Races for Philippe Gilbert: Challenge Mallorca, Tour de Provence, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Le Samyn, Paris-Nice, Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Catalunya, Volta Limburg Classic, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallone, Liège-Bastogne-Liège. 

 

Florian Vermeersch was the sensation of the 2021 Paris-Roubaix with second. (Photo: Tim De Waele/Getty Images)

Vermeersch, who surprised many with second in the first wet and muddy Roubaix in two decades last year, will be out to prove it was no fluke.

The 22-year-old will anchor the team’s ambitions across the cobbled classics.

“Last year’s Paris-Roubaix was a dream, a wonderful day,” said Vermeersch, who recently prolonged his contract at Lotto Soudal until 2024.

“Although Paris-Roubaix of 2021 is not even that long ago, I am very eager once again for the spring classics of next season. I think everything is there in our team to make it a good one. I will be doing most spring Classics this year, although we will be monitoring very closely how fit I am. Depending on that, some races may be left out of my actual calendar.”

Races for Florian Vermeersch: Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Brabantse Pijl, Paris-Roubaix, Vuelta a España.