Tim Declercq‘s move to Lidl-Trek for the upcoming season has been no secret but the switch from Soudal-QuickStep is now official, with the US squad confirming the Belgian’s signing on Tuesday morning.
The veteran domestique has drawn a seven-year spell with QuickStep to a close to join the new-look Lidl-Trek squad, becoming the team’s 10th signing of the 2023 transfer market.
34-year-old Declercq is renowned for his work in the sprint lead outs and for his long stints controlling the pace at the head of the peloton as one of the sport’s premier domestiques.
It’s expected that he’ll form a key part of the team for newly signed sprinter Jonathan Milan, joining fellow newcomers Simone Consonni and Ryan Gibbons in the Italian’s lead-out train, and he will also be working with former world champion Mads Pedersen.
“I think Lidl-Trek is a growing team with great values. They ride attractively and are stepping up their game every year,” Declercq said in a team-issued press release.
“I’m super excited to join them. It also looks like they are keen to start working more and more with a science-based approach and are open for innovation. With my background in physical education studies, I really look forward to working in that environment.
“It seems a bit like the Lidl logo is chasing me during my career!” Declercq joked, referring to QuickStep’s former partnership with the supermarket brand. “But I think it’s great for cycling that such a big firm wants to invest in cycling. That they chose the Lidl-Trek team to sponsor only shows that it’s a super professional team with great values.”
Declercq has been part of the professional peloton since turning pro with Topsport Vlaanderen in 2012. He switched to QuickStep in 2017 and has since established himself as one of the premier domestiques in the peloton – in 2020 he was voted as the best in the world by a Cyclingnews survey of his fellow pro riders.
He has contributed to countless wins over the years but hasn’t yet taken a pro win of his own, with second place behind teammate Yves Lampaert at the 2020 Classic Brugge-De Panne his standout personal result to date.
His departure from QuickStep is part of a renewal at the Belgian team, who are gearing their roster towards Remco Evenepoel‘s GC ambitions – the team now sticking together after a proposed merger with Jumbo-Visma collapsed. Sprinter Fabio Jakobsen and lead-out Michael Mørkøv are others on the outgoing list.
Declercq said that it would be “very strange” to…