Lotto Soudal have signed experienced leadout man Jacopo Guarnieri from Groupama-FDJ as it looks to bolster support for sprinters Caleb Ewan and Arnaud De Lie in 2023.
The 34-year-old Italian has played a key role in the success of Arnaud Demare in recent years and is widely respected in the platoon. During the Giro d’Italia Grande Partenza in Hungary he wore a wristband in solidarity with LGBTQ+ community and often speaks out on riders’ rights and safety concerns.
Guarnieri’s move to Lotto Soudal, who will be known as Lotto Dstny in 2023, is part of the ongoing process of improving the Belgian team’s sprint train. In contrast Groupama-FDJ have promoted eight riders from their Under 23 development team for 2023 and are rebuilding their sprint lead out. His signing is the latest in a number of rider transfers for 2023.
“I was actually flattered by the interest of Lotto Dstny,” Guarnieri said.
“This is a team with a great history of sprinters and lead-out trains. The team is fully focused on winning bunch sprints and with Caleb Ewan and Arnaud De Lie there are two really fast guys for me to work for. I have had a good talk with Caleb Ewan already and I am looking forward to the next two seasons.”
“A lead-out is more than just power or luck,” Guarnieri explained.
“In my former teams I was responsible for the organization of the sprint train as well. A good feeling amongst all involved in the train is crucial. Of course, there are a lot of strong guys already, but I want to bring something extra to this team with my experience.”
Lotto Soudal are locked in a battle to avoid relegation but Ewan and De Lie will both stay with the team if the squad is relegated to ProTeam level. Despite the risk of relegation, team manager John Lelangue continues to build for the future.
“When working with a sprint train you always have to keep looking for improvements. The work is never done,” he said.
“With Caleb Ewan we have one of the fastest sprinters of the peloton, but Arnaud De Lie has proven this year that he deserves to be surrounded by strong riders who know how to guide a sprinter too. Therefore, it is crucial for us to bring some extra experience and fast legs into our sprint train.”