Tim Declercq’s move to Lidl-Trek for the upcoming season has been no secret, but the move from Soudal-QuickStep is now official, with the American team confirming the signing of the Belgian on Tuesday morning.
The home veteran has ended his seven-year spell at QuickStep and joined the new Lidl-Trek squad, becoming the team’s tenth signing in the 2023 transfer market.
Declercq, 34, is known for his sprint leading work and long periods controlling the pace at the front of the peloton as one of the sport’s top riders.
He is expected to be a key part of newly signed sprinter Jonathan Milan’s team, joining fellow newcomers Simone Consonni and Ryan Gibbons on the Italian’s first train, and will also team up with former world champion Mads Pedersen.
“I think Lidl-Trek is a growing team with great values. They drive attractively and improve their skills year by year,” said Declercq in a press release issued by the team.
“I’m very excited to join them. It also seems that they are increasingly willing to work based on a scientific approach and are open to innovation. With my background in physical education, I’m really looking forward to working in this environment.
“It looks like the Lidl logo has been chasing me throughout my career!” Declercq joked, referring to QuickStep’s previous collaboration with the supermarket brand. “But I think it’s great for cycling that such a big company wants to invest in cycling. The fact that they chose the Lidl-Trek team as a sponsor only shows that it is a super professional team with great values.”
Declercq has been part of the professional peloton since turning professional with Topsport Vlaanderen in 2012. In 2017, he switched to QuickStep and has since established himself as one of the top national riders in the peloton – in 2020 he was voted best in the world by A Cycling News survey of other professional riders.
He has contributed to countless victories over the years, but is yet to claim a victory of his own, with second place behind teammate Yves Lampaert in the Classic Brugge-De Panne 2020 being his outstanding personal result so far.
His departure from QuickStep is part of a renewal of the Belgian team, which is adapting its line-up to Remco Evenepoel’s GC ambitions – the team now sticks together after the collapse of the proposed merger with Jumbo-Visma. The list of departures also includes sprinter Fabio Jakobsen and front-runner Michael Mørkøv.
Declercq said it would be “very strange” to move to a new team after such a long time at QuickStep, but added that the team “hasn’t been the same” in recent seasons and he was looking forward to a new challenge at Lidl – Wandering.
“I know most of the Belgians quite well and I think we will have a good time during the training camps. I also look forward to working for any rider the team wants from me, but I certainly hope to be valuable to Mads Pedersen in the Classics and Grand Tours.”
Team general manager Luca Guercilena praised Declercq as a “prototypical homebody” with a “selfless spirit”.
“We are excited to welcome Tim Declercq to our team,” said the Italian. “His extraordinary dedication and exceptional skills make him the prototype of a homebody. Tim became famous not for his own results, but for his selfless spirit and willingness to give everything for a common goal.
“For this reason, I believe Tim will be a valuable addition to our squad. We look forward to achieving great success as we take this new step together.”
Declercq joins Milan (Bahrain Victorious), Consonni (Cofidis) and Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates) among the new players at Lidl-Trek for 2024. Also joining the team are Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), Sam Oomen (Jumbo-Visma) and Andrea Bagioli (Soudal-QuickStep), among others.
Former Under-23 World Champion Filippo Baroncini (UAE Team Emirates) and retiring Tony Gallopin top the list of departing players.
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