De Lie turned professional with Lotto last year and made an immediate impact by notching up nine wins in his maiden season. The 21-year-old has added seven more wins this year, and he also signalled his ability on the cobbles with second place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
“Extending at Lotto-Dstny was a logical choice for me,” De Lie said in a statement on Wednesday. “The team showed a lot of confidence in me from the beginning, and it felt very good right away. In addition, the project the management has proposed to me for the coming years is promising. The team goes into every detail and continues to invest in performance, to bring out the best in its riders. All these things made me happy to prolong.”
De Lie’s speed and his obvious potential in the Classics made him a target for several WorldTour teams, but he has now tied his future to Lotto-Dstny, who were relegated from the top flight last season. Earlier in the year, Dstny owner Daan De Wever suggested to Het Laatste Nieuws that he would take his sponsorship elsewhere if the team was not built around De Lie in the years ahead.
“With the eyes on the future, Arnaud De Lie’s contract extension was a priority,” said Lotto-Dstny CEO Stéphane Heulot. “We are therefore very pleased that one of Belgium’s greatest cycling talents will stay on board at Lotto Dstny.
“This long-term commitment gives us the opportunity to take the next steps within Lotto Dstny, so that together we can realise Arnaud’s ambitions. We are already very much looking forward to what the future holds.”
Although De Lie’s season was interrupted by a heavy crash in May, he picked up three wins in recent weeks at the Tour de Wallonie, La Polynormande and the Tour of Leuven. He lines out in the Renewi Tour, which gets underway on Wednesday and he will also target the GP de Québec and the GP de Montréal.
“This year I was already able to show myself several times in WorldTour races, which proves that I keep making progress,” De Lie said. “The ambition is therefore to become competitive at the highest level in the future and win a big Classic. Which one that may be doesn’t really matter to me. And whether I am more of a sprinter or a Classics’ rider? I am lucky to be good at both, but my heart still lies a bit more with the…