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Stéphane Heulot named to top job at Lotto Dstny

UPDATED: Heulot, who wore the yellow jersey during the 1996 Tour de France, is confirmed as new team CEO.

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UPDATED: French ex-pro Stéphane Heulot will become the new CEO at Lotto Dstny.

Team officials confirmed reports from French daily Le Télégramme that Heulot will be named to take over the helm of the long-running Belgian outfit.

“After a thorough search in which all possible options were carefully explored, both the team and Stéphane Heulot concluded that their history and experience in the sport, professional ambition and shared vision towards the future make a perfect match,” a team statement read Friday.

Heulot, who joins January 1, will run both the men’s and women’s teams.

“We are facing a challenging time, but I am ready to take on the responsibility to lead us towards the next chapter,” Heulot said. “Like me, the Lotto Dstny team has always had a strong focus on talent development. Helping the women’s team take the next steps is a challenge I very much look forward to as well. Thanks to its unique structure, Lotto Dstny has a very strong fanbase. Some of our fans are even shareholders. I look forward to meeting each of them in the upcoming general assembly of the Captains of Cycling.”

There’s been an ongoing search for a new CEO after the contract of ex-manager John Lelangue was not extended. Lelangue is now working at the Tour de Pologne organization.

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Andrei Tchmil was among the candidates who were considered but were overlooked for the high-profile job for the beleaguered team.

The Belgian squad lost out on its WorldTour status in the UCI points war over the past three seasons and will race in the second-tier ProTeam category in 2023.

The team already confirmed it will skip the Giro d’Italia next season for the first time in more than 20 years because it wants to chase UCI points in other races and bring a fresh team to the Tour de France.

Heulot is an ex-racer who had his moment in the sun during the 1996 Tour de France when he wore the yellow jersey for three stages. He was forced to abandon in tears at Les Arcs due to knee pain.

After retiring in 2002, he ran a few French pro teams, including Besson Chaussures and Saur-Sojasun. He also worked with Rally Cycling.

“The team wanted someone with a profound knowledge of and experience in cycling, but with proven skills outside the sport as well. Stéphane Heulot is the perfect candidate,” a team statement ready. “After his professional cycling career in France, he moved to the heart of cycling in Belgium, where he further developed himself as a manager.

“Lotto Dstny and Stéphane Heulot have a shared vision on the way a team should be run, talent development and ethics in sports. The team is convinced that he, together with sports manager Kurt Van de Wouwer, Chief Business Officer Yana Seel and all other staff and riders, will get Lotto Dstny back to the WorldTour.”