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Petilli, van Poppel & Vliegen extend their contract

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux maintains continuity with the contract extensions of Simone Petilli, Boy van Poppel and Loïc Vliegen. The members of the Belgian World Team for at least three seasons stay loyal to the team in 2023.

29 year old Simone Petilli is an exemplary teammate since his arrival in 2020. Never sparing with efforts, the Italian rider also showed his climbing talent by obtaining ninth place in the spectacular classic Strade Bianche in March.

34 year old Boy van Poppel is the lead out man of Gerben Thijssen since the beginning of this season. A collaboration which resulted in twelve top ten finishes, among which six podiums and a first professional victory in the final stage of the Dunkirk Four Day. The Dutchman also launched Andrea Pasqualon to his first victory of the season in the Circuit de Wallonie. 
28 year old Loïc Vliegen played an important role alongside Biniam Girmay, for example in the victories of the Eritrean rider in the Trofeo Alcudia and the Giro. The Belgian rider managed to bounce back after a difficult season 2021 with two podiums (Clásica Jaén and Volta Limburg Classic) and three other top five finishes in difficult classics (Tour of Murcia, Le Samyn, Dwars door het Hageland).

« I’m happy that we can continue working with Simone Petilli, Boy van Poppel and Loïc Vliegen, three appreciated elements which became the building blocks of our team. »

« A contract extension in the first half of the season is a great sign of confidence. Especially after a collaboration of three years, because the direction has an idea about my sportive value. All year long, I’m ready to sacrifice for my teammates, both uphill and for our sprinters. Since the victory of Taco van der Hoorn in the Giro last year, we confirmed as a team and learned to take our responsibility in the peloton. I’m not counting the kilometers during which I’ve shown the colors of our team in the lead of the peloton. But, I do remember the results that followed. In May, the victory of Alexander Kristoff in the final stage of the Tour of Norway was a fantastic reward, because we worked really hard to catch the early breakaway and to enable him to sprint for the win in his home city. I also have good memories from the Strade Bianche, a classic in which I managed to surpass myself alongside our leaders. I feel good in the team, I try to pass my joyful nature to my teammates. Everything goes well this season and everyone radiates a good atmosphere! »

« With Simone Petilli, we’ve got a serious asset at our disposal. He’s always there, he loves battling for his teammates in difficult events. He’s never reluctant to work in the lead of the peloton. Since last winter, Simone is followed by our trainers and he’s reaping the benefits. He made progression this season and rode a solid spring. A contract extension was a logical consequence. His ninth place in the Strade Bianche showed that he can aim higher in the future. In addition to his sportive value, he’s a person who radiates a good atmosphere and motivates his comrades. »

« I’m very happy to pursue my career in an environment where I feel at home, surrounded by people who I appreciate. Just like last year, I made another step forward. For my twelfth season as a professional rider, this is something to be proud of. I can still push my limits thanks to the scientific know-how of the performance team, my experience and my self-knowledge. An example are the training schedules of Frederik Veuchelen, which contain specific intervals for my role as a lead out rider and which we can adapt to my body signals. My lead out role alongside Gerben Thijssen enables me to show my qualities and my efforts were often rewarded with good results of our young sprinter, for example his first professional victory. I’m honored that the team gives me the responsibility to contribute to the development of talented sprinters. This motivates me to work hard in a level-headed way. »

« Last winter, we focused our attention on our sprinters by adding more structure to our sprint trains. The experience of Boy van Poppel played a major role, there’s a clear reason for linking him to Gerben Thijssen. This duo made a nice progression and obtained promising results along the way. Also, Boy showed an excellent level himself in the first semester. He became a truly professional rider in all aspects. I’m pleased that we can count on a lead out rider of his stature for an additional year. »

« This is my fourth season with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and I observed the development of the project led by Jean-François Bourlart with admiration. It is with this team in constant progression, the first Walloon World Team, that I want to pursue my career. The familiar atmosphere reigns both inside the team bus and outside, for example among our partners, that's why one feels good. My role in the team is a great motivating factor, pushing me to continue working. This year, I had the chance to become the lieutenant of Biniam Girmay. I am committed to our collective goals. In addition, I feel valued when the sports direction plans opportunities for myself. Last winter, we established a programme tailored for me, so I could be ready from the season start in the Spanish races and difficult classics such as Le Samyn or Volta Limburg Classic. After several podiums we can say that this strategy bore fruit. My next goal is the Tour of Wallonia. There’s a finish in Herve, where I grew up and which is close to Beyne-Heusay, where I took my first professional career win in the colors of the team. »

« This winter, we worked with Loïc Vliegen and established a clear comeback strategy after a difficult season 2021. We identified opportunities for him in February and March and we also knew that he could play an important role alongside Biniam Girmay. And Loïc rose to the challenge. From our second race day of 2022, he immediately launched Biniam to the victory in Majorca. He maintained his form for two months and took podiums himself thanks to his excellent race intelligence. He’s now preparing for the second part of the season with our trainers and dietitians, I expect that he will continue in an upward trend. »


General Classification


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