Belgian professional cycling team sponsored by the country's national lottery (one of three lottery-funded division one teams along with ONCE and La Française des Jeux). The team has been running since 1985, with temp agency Adecco coming in as co-sponsor for the past couple of seasons. With cycling being more or less Belgium's national sport, the Lotto team has been a mainstay of the country's professional class for most of its existence; in the doldrums of the early 1990s it was the country's only internationally rated team, but for most of this time it has had something of a reputation as a haven for also-rans, while the brightest and best Belgian riders went on to foreign teams; nonetheless most of the major names of Belgian cycling have ridden in Lotto colours (which were at one stage the most hideous design nightmare of all professional cycling vests, a highly competitive field), including Claude Criquélion, Johan Museeuw, Rudy Dhaenens and Frank Vandenbroucke. For most of the 1990s team management was in the hands of early 1980s star Jean-Denis Vandenbroucke (Frank's uncle), but in 2000 he was somewhat controversially (inter alia for reasons of language politics, although the team has otherwise done a reasonable job of representing both francophones and Flemings) replaced by Jos Braeckeveldt with Christophe Sercu (son of track star Patrick) dealing with the business side of things.
Throughout the latter half of the 1990s the team's main star was Siberian-born classics specliast Andrei Tchmil, who finally took Belgian nationality in 1999. The Belgian predeliction for one-day races meant that the Lottos did not leave much of a mark on the major stage races apart from the odd Tour stage win. However, following the change in management the stage race specialists, particularly Rik Verbrugghe, started to take a more agressive stance; in 2001 Verbrugghe took the prologue of the Giro d'Italia and held the maglia rosa for a week, as well as winning the Critérium Internationale, the Fléche Wallonne classic and a Tour stage. For 2002 the team has added nomadic classic specialist and Trappist ale drinker Peter Van Petegem to the lineup as a replacement captaine de route for the veteran Tchmil, who is to retire after the Spring Classics, as well as the current Australian road race champion, sprinter Robbie McEwen.
Team lineup for the 2002 season (Belgian unless otherwise noted):
UCI team code: LOT