"When I see how Egan Bernal and Chris Froome have come back, it's just a question mark" - Lidl-Trek DS admits concerns about Tao Geoghegan Hart's lengthy injury lay-off

Lidl-Trek has gone big this transfer window, bringing in a number of new faces. Can such deals bring them to the level of Team Visma | Lease a Bike?

"Everyone looks at each other, but you are always bound by your own budget," Lidl-Trek sports director Steven de Jongh tells In de Leiderstrui, comparing his team to the all-conquering Visma. "We did very well in 2023, but of course we could not compete with such teams in terms of guidance and budget. We can now make some steps in terms of width and hopefully we can do that again next year, so that in five years we might be the team that people look up to."

So with Team Visma | Lease a Bike leading the way, just how do Lidl-Trek plan to even the odds? "It is very frustrating when you have to pin your own pins, like: here we are going to do it and here we are going to do it. And if one disappears..." says De Jongh. "With distribution you hope that you have the maximum effect and so we had a good year. We finished top five in the UCI ranking, which was the first time since 2017. We want to build on that."

One of Lidl-Trek's newest signings for 2024 is former Giro d'Italia winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart. "Ultimately you hope to achieve the highest possible result with such a rider, whether that is a top five or the podium," De Jongh says of the Brit, eyes firmly locked on the Tour de France. "In his first year with us, we give him full confidence and if he gets everything he can out of it and finishes eighth, then that is a very nice step after his injury. When I see how Bernal and Froome have come back, it's just a question mark. It was a serious injury, but he is getting the confidence and then we will see."

"But there has always been trust and there has been a lot of contact during that time. You take such a rider because you have a specific goal in mind. Then you won't immediately drop him after such an injury. In terms of personality, he fits our team very well and if he comes back well, we will have a very nice leader in Tao. He of course rode very well in the 2023 Giro, so who knows what was lost there with that crash. His program is set to be good in the Tour and hopefully it will work out the way it is going.”

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments