On Thursday 15 November, John Lelangue officially started as Lotto Soudal’s new General Manager. By means of introduction the 48-year-old Belgian shares his vision for the first time. Once he has got to know every team member, his idea of how he wants to manage the Lotto Soudal team will become more and more clear. In the first place John Lelangue emphasises four important pillars.
John Lelangue: “First there are the sporting aspects which are already and will obviously remain the heart of the team. I have never worked together with Marc Sergeant before, but we have known each other already for several years. I am thus very satisfied I can work together with such a personality with an impressive record. It goes without saying that Marc will be the one who takes the sportive decisions. Of course, we will consult with each other but within Lotto Soudal Marc is best placed to decide on that topic . Marc has a team of directors sportive around him who each have their own responsibilities. In addition, Kevin De Weert will join that team. As a performance manager, he will have some specific tasks. With his background, he will certainly be a major asset to Lotto Soudal.”
“The structural and organisational aspect is the second pillar. There is obviously already a solid structure within Lotto Soudal since it is an organisation that has been competing at WorldTour level for several years now. But I want, together with all the people within Lotto Soudal, to strive to take a closer look at each aspect of the team (training, medical supervision, nutrition, material, …). In that way we can determine where there is still margin for improvement with the existing resources. In that sense we can, obviously through dialogue, optimise the structure.”
“A third pillar is the hallmark of Lotto Soudal, namely the Belgian identity. This does not only concern the WorldTour team, who is to the outside world mostly in the spotlight, but also the U23 team and the ladies team. Half of the Belgian cyclists within the Lotto Soudal line-up have been trained via the U23 team. Women’s cycling is also booming. Therefore, we will continue to commit to those two entities in the years to come. Our team already exists for 35 years and after all Belgium is the cradle of cycling. For me it marks a return to Belgium after some foreign adventures. But if the main Belgian WorldTour team asks you to become their General Manager, you are certainly flattered.”
“The last pillar is the already very strong relationship with the partners. But also, in this field we want to check how we can unite and promote the interests in both sporting and commercial terms to their maximum. Our sponsors have already expressed their long-time commitment. At the time, Soudal signed an agreement for six years, Lotto has been participating for dozens of years in the sport and Ridley has also been connected to the team for quite a while. We therefore must examine how we can consolidate these partnerships and how we can attract new partners. In current cycling it is not obvious to find new budgets but with our specific characteristics I am convinced that we will succeed to make progress in that area too.”
Photo credits @facepeeters