What will change in the Lidl-Trek era? Everything, and nothing
The Lidl-Trek era is here, and a lot is changing at the surface level of the program. There’s a new name, new kit, and a whole new set of ambitions thanks to even greater resources now available to the team.
The team formally introduced itself Wednesday at a Lidl store in Bilbao, Spain, where the 2023 Tour de France will begin this Saturday. With the biggest race in road cycling as a backdrop, Lidl-Trek signaled its intentions: To win at the highest levels the sport can offer.
And yet, deep down, not much is changing at all. At the top, Lidl-Trek will still be led by some of the finest minds in cycling, starting with general manager Luca Guercilena. And the team will operate under the same philosophies and values that have already made it a success on the WorldTour. At its core, Lidl-Trek is a team that puts rider development and a family atmosphere first.
“Over the years, we’ve invested a lot in young riders who are developing at a high level,” Guercilena said. “Loyalty to the team has been fundamental to reaching our potential. That will never change.”
With Lidl as a partner, Lidl-Trek will be able to realize its vision at a scale that the program never could have imagined before. The goal is to be the most successful team in the peloton, no matter where and when they line up.
The team has always prioritized rider development. 2019 World Champion Mads Pedersen, recent Tour de Suisse winner Matthias Skjelmose, and inaugural Tour de France Femmes best young rider Shirin van Anrooij are all examples of the team’s successes. As Lidl-Trek, the road program will double down on its commitment to young riders by creating a development team for the men’s team, and adding Under-23 racers to the women’s team.
“Our foundation will always be investing in riders that fit our mentality while always keeping an eye on young generation,” Guercilena said. “This is why we’re creating a development men’s team and investing even more into young women’s riders.”
The men’s development team will be based in Deinze, Belgium, where the Trek Factory Racing service course is located, and consist of 14 riders competing at the UCI Continental level. Accommodations will be made for the young riders, including an option to stay at an apartment in Girona, Spain, where they can enjoy pristine training roads. The Lidl-Trek women’s team will add five young riders directly to its roster. All of the young riders will take on a carefully-curated schedule of races to help them gradually acclimate to WorldTour racing.
The road program has always taken a judicious approach to veteran signings. Free agent riders not only need to fulfill an open role on the squad, but they need to fit culturally, too. Guercilena prizes loyalty. Developing riders in a family atmosphere is another good way to make those riders stick around.
But Guercilena isn’t blind to the realities of the sport. And the increased financial support with Lidl as a partner will help the team keep its roster intact, while also allowing it to strategically pursue free agent cyclists and increase its firepower wherever and whenever necessary.
“We’re very thankful for the financial support of a great company like Lidl in addition to Trek,” Guercilena said. “Not only can it help us keep our riders, but we will be able to increase the level of the whole team and pursue our biggest goals.”
Winning is great, of course, but it’s even sweeter when you can have fun along the way. Lidl-Trek will embody The Bicycle Company’s “ride bikes, have fun, feel good” ethos right down to its playful new kits and bike schemes. The riders continue to win your heart even when they don’t win on the road.
The Trek road racing program has always had a unique vision of what it wanted to accomplish, and how. The Lidl-Trek era will take that experiment to a whole new level. Get ready to watch the same ‘ol program like you’ve never seen it before.
“We are building up an ambitious team with the goal to achieve the highest ranking in the world. No excuses,” Guercilena said. “This will be a big task, and we are all ready for it at Lidl-Trek.”