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Dutch champion Pascal Eenkhoorn signs with Lotto Soudal for 2023

The 25-year-old is set to get more freedom with the Belgian team after five years on Jumbo-Visma.

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Lotto Soudal — soon to be named Lotto Dstny — has snapped up Dutch road race champion Pascal Eenkhoorn for the 2023 season.

Eenkhoorn is the third signing for the Lotto Dstny team ahead of next season with lead-out man Jacopo Guarnieri and neo-pro Lennert Van Eetvelt set to join the squad in January.

The 25-year-old, who has previously won at Heistse Pijl, Coppi e Bartli, and a stage of the Colorado Classic, joins after five years with the Jumbo-Visma squad. With his switch to the Belgian team, he’s looking to find more freedom in his racing.

“My biggest motivation is to win races. I want to get the maximum out of my career,” Eenkhoorn said. “I have had a lot of talks with everyone at the team: about the performance department, the style of racing, and the division of roles. At this team I can chase my own ambitions and will receive more freedom during races. The style of racing, with this young and talented group appeals to me. I have a very good feeling about this move.

“I have been a pro for 5 years now and have learned a lot at my current team. Some of those things I can take with me to Lotto Dstny. But I have a need for more freedom in races. Now is the time where I can still make the decision to change and follow my own ambitions.”

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Eenkhoorn has claimed just seven wins in his five years as a pro, but his victories have come on varied terrain. He won over a mountainous course at the Colorado Classic in 2018, in a group that contained top talent such as Neilson Powless, Joe Dombrowski, and Matteo Jorgenson. His Heistse Pijl win came on flatter terrain and saw him beat Yves Lampaert and Jonas Rickaert to the win.

During his time at Jumbo-Visma, he has been largely used as a support rider, backing up the likes of Sam Oomen and Koen Bouwman at the Giro d’Italia earlier this season. Lotto Soudal team manager John Lelangue believes that Eenkhoorn can flourish if he is allowed to ride a different race program.

“He is a rider who has already proven that he can win races. With a bit more freedom and an altered racing program, we think he can prove that more often,” Lelangue said. “Moreover, he is a very versatile rider: he can play his role in almost any classic and can go far in breakaways in grand tours. We are looking very much forward to our collaboration with him.”