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Young Belgian talents join the team in 2022

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will be expanded with three young Belgian talents in 2022. Kobe Goossens and Gerben Thijssen quit Lotto-Soudal, Laurens Huys was formed with Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB. The three riders know each other well, as they were already teammates in the U23 category. The Belgian team can count on two young climbers and an ambitious sprinter for the two next seasons.

The 23 year old Gerben Thijssen accumulated the victories in the youth categories (Belgian U23 champion and 6th at the U23 European championships), but his development as a professional has been slowed down by a heavy crash at the Ghent Six Days at the end of 2019. At this first Grand Tour, eleven months after suffering from three cerebral hemorrhages, the rider from Limburg sprinted to a 2nd place in a bunch sprint. Just before this performance at the Tour of Spain, he also took 2nd at the Gooikse Pijl behind Danny van Poppel. Thijssen has also a history on the track. He won medals at Worlds in the youth categories and became Elite European Champion in the elimination. The rider living near Kortijk now signed a contract until the end of 2023.

Kobe Goossens is an offensive and combative climber, which he showed by winning the mountain jersey at the Tour de Romandie. His numerous kilometers in breakaways were also rewarded with a 6th place at the Giro in Guardia Sanframondi. The 25 year old also showed his climbing capabilities in the latest Tour of Spain by finishing 24th. In the U23 category, Goossens won a stage and the general classification of the Tour du Jura and he performed well in difficult classics. The ex-cyclocross racer from Vlaams-Brabant will continue his development with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux until the end of 2023.

The 22 year old Laurens Huys also feels good on hilly parcours and in stage races when the road goes up. He was one of the last survivors of the early breakaway in Liège-Bastogne-Liège with Lorenzo Rota and Loïc Vliegen and also impressed between world’s best riders at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var by finishing 10th on top of the Col d’Eze. This spring, he finished 5th in the general classification of the Alpes Isère Tour and 6th in the general classification of the Tour of Hungary. The offensive spirit of the rider from Buggenhout will be appreciated by Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux during the two next seasons. 

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert immediately offered me a clear vision for my future. I'll receive nice opportunities, for example thanks to a lead out train. This shows that the team has confidence in me and that I can prove myself in both the biggest and the less known races. It is a dream for each sprinter or young rider to receive this support! I'm not only talking about teammates, but also about the structure, which is very professional, for example for preparation at altitude. I consider Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux as an emerging team and it motivates me to write a couple of lines in this story! 

The first contacts with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux immediately felt comfortably familiar. This nice forward-looking project seduced me. The team knows where it's heading and included a place for me on this path. In addition, their vision about my future corresponds with mine. I want to perform in one week stage races like Paris-Nice or the Tour de Pologne and win Grand Tour stages thanks to my offensive mindset. I'm looking forward to start this new chapter in my career with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux!

I can't wait to join Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux! The team follows me for a long time already and finally there we are! Until now, my career followed a gradual development and I feel ready to continue my progression on a superior level. I want to improve my results in stage races and help the team as good as possible in new races on the highest level. The programme of the team seduces me. I'm looking forward to discover new races in the World Tour. Maybe I'll be able to surpass myself again like in the early breakaway in Liège-Bastogne-Liège or at the Col d'Eze. Anyway, the team will support me to prepare my goals, for example with altitude camps. This professional approach will improve my level!

As a Belgian team with a French title partner, we want to focus on the reinforcement of our Franco-Belgian rider group. We're convinced that these three young riders will enable a good alchemy with our experimented Belgian riders like Jan Bakelants or Pieter Vanspeybrouck. In order to become an important player in the World Tour, it is important to add young talents and stage race specialists to our team. There aren't many climbers in Belgium, so we're happy to welcome riders like Kobe Goossens and Laurens Huys in our team. Both have the ability to attack in difficult races, a potential we want to reinforce. In the youth categories, Gerben Thijssen was a serious contender of Jasper Philipsen and Jordi Meeus, but because of a lot of bad luck the past years he didn't achieve the success which was necessary to enable him to emerge as a leader. We want to give him the opportunity to develop by offering him responsibilities and a sprint train.

I'm looking forward to reinforce the team with this talented trio. Performance, development and opportunities are key in the structure we are building. This season, Quinten Hermans, Lorenzo Rota and Georg Zimmermann made a breakthrough on the World Tour level in our colors. Our three new additions are ready to follow in their footsteps and make a new step in their careers. Gerben Thijssen has already shown in the Tour of Spain that he's able to contest with the best sprinters in the world. Thanks to a sprint specific coaching and a sprint train, we want to enable him to become more regular in his performances. The rider from Limburg is ambitious and knows what he wants. His sprinter character and focus on details are important to build a sprint train with us. We offer him the possibility to progress with our structure. After his bad luck the past two years, we're convinced that we can bring him to a superior level! Kobe Goossens and Laurens Huys are good climbers with an offensive mentality, we like this mindset. Huys is coming from the Pro Continental level and stood out thanks to this combative spirit in difficult races. The same counts for Kobe Goossens. He especially impressed at the Tour de Romandie, but in the past he also showed nice performances in difficult classics. We want to work with him so he can also express these qualities in the pro ranks. Just like for Laurens Huys, we see a progression margin. Goossens will also have an important role in stage races. We've already been planning for these three young riders!


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