Lotto Soudal confirms the rumours about Kevin De Weert becoming performance manager at Lotto Soudal. For three years, the 36-year-old former pro cyclist has been Belgium’s national team coach, a role in which he achieved some very nice results. He will now continue his career within the WorldTour. For De Weert, who retired from pro cycling in 2015, this will mark a new challenge.
Sports manager Marc Sergeant: “Of course, Kevin De Weert coming to Lotto Soudal means a strengthening to our team. A while ago, we informed the Royal Belgium Cycling League, in all openness, of our interest. Everybody who worked with him the previous years, has been praising the way in which he approaches matters. That positive feedback did also reach us, amongst others, through our riders who were part of the Belgian national team. There will always be different opinions about selections and tactics, but his communication and his results were very positive. Kevin and I had a very comprehensive conversation, we also exchanged some ideas. Afterwards, it became clear to me that he could be the right man for us.”
“The role of performance manager at Lotto Soudal – contrary to some other WorldTour teams – hadn’t been filled out, which is in 2019 inevitable. The function includes a range of tasks within the sports department where Kevin will be involved in the development and the search for the perfect equipment, in the support and guidance during altitude camps and in helping our riders in attaining their goals. During the races, he will fulfil a more supportive role, but not quite like a sports director. We haven’t been going through the best period, but now we obviously want to change things. And I think Kevin will be more than able to help us in achieving that.”
Kevin De Weert: “The function which we have discussed, is a more operational role within the sports department. I don’t go to Lotto Soudal with the ambition of replacing somebody, but to fulfil a role that hasn’t been fulfilled in the past. When I will be present at the races, this will be more at the background of the action. I very much look forward to get started and to help the team in trying to exploit every percent to get the best out of both the team and riders. This can be in the more technical area, through the follow-up of certain projects as well as through guiding certain riders (altitude camps, recons,…). I am eager to tackle, together with the other members of the sports staff, the 2019 season.
“I have learnt a lot during the past few years at the Royal Belgium Cycling League. I was given the chance to manage the national team within the framework of the Union, and I would like to thank them for that. It is with great satisfaction that I look back to what I have achieved, but I just had to grab the opportunity to work at a WorldTour level, within the role I described above. I see this as a new step, but I absolutely wanted to prepare for the World Championships in Innsbruck with the same focus and drive, without thinking about my new adventure at Lotto Soudal.”
Photo credits @facepeeters