Eduardo Sepúlveda was facing a future without racing in the wake of the collapse of Drone Hopper-Androni at the end of this season.
So the Argentine took the web to hunt for a job, posting appeals for employment.
That tactic paid off after Lotto-Dstny confirmed his arrival, along with German rider Johannes Adamietz, to join the roster for 2023.
“These two riders will give our team more bodies in races with a lot of altitude meters,” said sports manager Kurt Van de Wouwer on Wednesday. “Maybe they are not the two most striking names, but they are more than worth their spot in our team. Sepúlveda has a lot of experience and is very ambitious to get results in difficult races. He also knows what it means to work for a leader. Adamietz has shown himself as a continental rider amongst the pros.”
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Facing the collapse of his team, Sepúlveda posted a message on Twitter this fall indicating his services were available.
He said he decided to take his plight public after things were slowing in a bid to find a new team during the fall window when teams start filling their rosters.
“I am looking for a team for next year. Cycling is my passion. I still have a lot of kilometers on my legs, and I am very motivated,” he wrote, asking the public to spread the message.
The appeal was re-Tweeted more than 700 times, which might have helped when negotiations started with Lotto-Dstny.
A pro since 2013, Sepúlveda raced 2018-2020 with Movistar before moving across the Gianni Savio’s Drone Hopper project in 2021 at the second-tier ProTour league.
The veteran Italian manager’s team collapsed this fall, however, after the title sponsor didn’t come through with payments. It appears Savio will be able to cobble together a team to race in the third-tier continental league, but the team’s top riders were told to look elsewhere.
“I am extremely motivated to become a part of Lotto-Dstny,” Sepúlveda said. “This team has a beautiful history. It will be my first time in a Belgian team and I am looking forward to meeting everyone. I am ready to help my teammates achieve good results and fight for victory myself.”
Lotto-Dstny — rebranded from Lotto Soudal — is facing likely relegation out of the WorldTour going into 2023, though the team will see invitations to the major races after being ranked just outside the top 18-ranked teams.
Top names such as Caleb Ewan, Arnaud De Lie, and Thomas De Gendt are staying, while Jacopo Guarnieri (Groupama-FDJ) and Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma) join.
The team also continues its search for a new general manager to take over for the departing John Lelangue.
The Belgian squad recently shot down a bid by ex-pro Andrei Tchmil to take over the reins, and a search continues. Lotto Soudal is currently led by sports manager Van de Wouwer and chief business officer Yana Seel.
Astana Qazaqstan extends with two riders
Two Kazakh riders, Andrey Zeits and Gleb Brussenskiy have prolonged their contracts with Astana Qazaqstan for one more season for 2023, officials said Wednesday.
Andrey Zeits, 35, the most experienced Kazakh rider in the peloton, has spent a solid season in the team being part of the squad at the Tour de France, where he provided a good support to Alexey Lutsenko.
Gleb Brussenskiy, 22, also stays on for one more season.
The team isn’t seeing a lot of action on the rider market, with only Luis León Sánchez (Bahrain Victorious) and Martin Laas (Bora-Hansgrohe) as the major signings.
Vincenzo Nibali retired and Stephan De Bod moves to EF Education-EasyPost.