Leander Van Hautegem, Lars Craps and Gil Gelders will ride for the squad in 2023.
Having completed his first season in the U23 ranks, 19-year-old Leander Van Hautegem – who studies Sports Management – has already set his eyes on next year: “I’m really excited about joining the Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team, it’s a nice chance and I’m grateful for that. I hope to build further on my future as a rider. As a first-year student I’m quite happy with my season. In some hard races I could finish in the top 20, sometimes I had hoped for more but in general I think I can be happy with the results I had. I want to focus on climbing, as this is where my talent lies, and I hope to make another important step next year with a top 10 in some nice races, which I think it’s possible.”
Lars Craps (21), who will start his Master studies in Economics-Law-Business Administration, is another new addition to the squad: “It’s a big step, a dream and I want to perform well immediately. My spring went really well this year, I scored several nice results, such as a 12th place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Then some bad luck hit me, with sickness and crashes, and only at the end of September I could find my normal level again. But this is also part of cycling. I have tasted the U23 circuit for three years now and I have noticed that the Ardennes races suit me. This winter I want to take another step in this direction and start on a higher level next year.”
Gil Gelders (19) – who impressed in several stage races in 2022 – is another promising name: “I have a really good feeling about joining Soudal Quick-Step. I think I’ll have the best support here to make the most out of it. From this past season I’ll remember the Baby Giro, as in the third stage I was about to quit the race, but then I won stage 5 in Peveragno from a small group. The contrast was so big between not feeling well and coming close to retiring and the happiness that victory gave me. I’m really satisfied with the year I had. I’m not a pure climber, but I managed to get a strong sixth overall at the Ronde de l’Isard, which is encouraging. My focus is on the Ardennes, races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but also on the Flemish ones. I also hope to become better in the time trials.”
Team Manager Bart Roosens is happy to welcome these three talents next year: “All of them showed some nice things in the past season and didn’t go unnoticed. Lars and Gil have the same profile, while Leander is more of a climber type. For Lars it will be an important season, Gil still has a lot of growth possibilities and Leander’s future also looks bright, so we look with optimism and confidence to next year.”