The first Worldtour race is just around the corner with Strade Bianche. After an extremely successful 2021, expectations for Team SD Worx are high. Last year many important races were won and the season ended in a convincing first place in the UCI ranking. However, last winter multiple winner Anna van der Breggen traded in her bike for the team car. Nevertheless, Team SD Worx will not start the race dismantled. "Certainly not, we are very strong across the board. This season you won't be able to get around us either," assures sporting director Danny Stam.
Linked cyclists Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak Lotte Kopecky Demi Vollering Elena Cecchini Niamh Fisher-Black Christine Majerus Ashleigh Moolman Marlen Reusser Anna Shackley Lonneke Uneken Roxane Fournier Blanka Vas Amy Pieters
2021 was a top year. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course and the entire Giro podium, an impressive list. Can that be equalled?
Danny Stam: "That's finger-wagging. Every year we think: 'last season was so special, we will hardly be able to match that'. Yet we almost always succeed. Of course we miss Anna as a classification rider, so to take the whole podium will be more difficult."
How will the team cope with the loss of Anna van der Breggen?
"No one is irreplaceable, but it is not easy to absorb. Anna is a very special person. If she had her mind on something, she rarely missed that race. That is what we will miss. Yet we remain very strong in the width. With, among others, Demi Vollering, Marlen Reusser and Lotte Kopecky, you can reach the finals. Only, the specific competitions where you could excel with Anna, we now have to come up with a different approach."
Will Demi Vollering be pushed forward in those races?
"Demi has proven that she can handle those races perfectly, but then you are not Anna van der Breggen. You will only meet such a rider a few times in the century. Leontien van Moorsel, Marianne Vos and Anna van der Breggen are/were riders of a rare calibre. Demi proved last year that she has the talent. But the difference in level with these world-class riders cannot be erased in one season. We cannot expect that from Demi either. Let her grow quietly.
She will be looked at more emphatically this season. Do you think she will be able to handle the pressure?"I think so, yes. The Women's Tour is a good example of that. Anna wasn't riding there, all the pressure was on Demi and with the help of our riders she finished nicely. So I don't expect that pressure to be a problem."
What do you expect from newcomers Lars Boom and Anna van der Breggen in the staff? What can they teach the riders?"It is good that there is a fresh wind blowing in the staff. Anna is the ideal person to stand between me and Lars. From her own experience she can show our riders how they can become a top rider. Anna can add extra facets that we miss. As a man we sometimes take certain things too much for granted. Lars can also teach us tactical things. As a trio we don't differ much tactically or technically. The reinforcements in the staff will push the team to a higher level."
Who will be the surprise this year? "Marlen Reusser. I think that her many capacities can be shown off a bit more in our team. The same goes for Lotte Kopecky. It is nice to have a team around you that is strong in width. That is liberating and it is easier to race. With us, you can win a race even with bad legs."
Explain."We always have several spearheads. If you are the only leading rider, you can't hide. Then they look at you. With us, there are so many top riders around you, that you can stay in the shadow and make the difference with one well-timed attack. The rest of the team then stops.
The balance between youth and experience is good. We certainly have some talent ready.
Is that the strength of Team SD Worx?"Of course it is. It's easier to race when you have riders like Chantal Blaak, Demi Vollering or Marlen Reusser around you, rather than riders who are happy to just keep up. You are simply stronger for the finals. And then there's the favour factor in our team.
How is the balance between experience and youth?"Good. We certainly have some talent ready. That is also necessary. Because the Anna van der Breggens and Chantal Blaaks of this world will eventually stop racing. We give them the environment to develop themselves. We are always looking for the ideal balance between experience and youth. That is why I am happy that Chantal Blaak will continue racing for a while. That way we keep enough experience on the bike. With Amy Pieters, we are missing an experienced rider who has been a dominant presence in every race she has participated in."
If you could choose just one race to win this season, which race would it be?"Only one? (laughs) Then the Tour de France. It's a new high-level race, you make history if you are the first to win the Tour."
What does the arrival of the Tour de France mean for women's cycling?"First of all, I find it strange that the Tour is only now returning. It could have been done earlier. It offers an extra dimension for women's cycling again. The criticism that it only lasts one week, I find a non issue. The quality has to be good. Rather a super attractive short Tour, than a boring spectacle of two weeks.
Dominant racing is in our DNA. Because that number one position, it has to stay ours.
Last year, Team SD Worx immediately started on a high with wins in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche. Last weekend Vollering finished second in the Omloop, what do you expect for Strade?
"The performance in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad gives confidence. If you don't get away with it in the first race, you are behind for a long time. I wanted to start at a level where the others think, 'Wow, here they are again.' That worked out. In the Strade we will be looking for victory. Dominant racing is in our DNA. Because that number one position, it has to stay ours."
Lotte Kopecky returned to competition in the Vuelta a Burgos after an altitude training and a week of rest. The Belgian champion went for a stage win and was immediately successful. In Aranda De Duero she gave everyone the slip and won supremely in the sprint. "This gives confidence for what's to come."
After an extremely successful Itzulia, the Vuelta a Burgos is Team SD Worx' second Spanish WorldTour stage race. Lotte Kopecky returns to competition after an altitude training course in Denia. "I'm not starting to fill the peloton, I'm hoping for a stage win," says the number one in the UCI individual ranking.
Demi Vollering did a great job last weekend by winning all three stages in Itzulia Women. However, she won't be able to enjoy it for long, as a new WorldTour race is scheduled for Tuesday: Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria. "I don't really realise yet that I have done something very special. But I have no time to dwell on it. After all, we are going for four victories in a row," says Demi Vollering. Although she looks back on her special three days in an interview.
Three times is a charm. Demi Vollering made cycling history by winning all three stages in the first ever Itzulia Women. "Itzulia is a great race. Winning three stages in a row, that's insane."
A bis number for Demi Vollering and Team SD Worx in Itzulia Women! After controlling the race for a whole day and being alert at the front, Vollering slipped into the decisive breakaway. On the steep final meters she made the difference for the second day in a row. With a devastating acceleration, the 25-year-old Dutch rider rode to her second World Tour victory in as many days. She also strengthened her leading position in the general classification of Itzulia Women. "This was the perfect day," she said.
Itzulia Women heralded the start of the second part of the season. The multi-day stage race began with a difficult opening stage, which was convincingly won by Demi Vollering. The Dutch rider was always to be seen at the front in the decisive moments of the race. She finished it off in an uphill sprint after a breakaway with Pauliena Rooijakkers and Kristen Faulkner. "This finish suited me, this gives a very good feeling," Vollering said in an initial reaction.
Leading European payroll and HR services provider SD Worx has extended its contract as main sponsor of the best women's team in the UCI rankings until the end of 2026. "We want to pull out all the stops to maintain the leading position of Team SD Worx. In addition, by extending our sponsorship we want to help facilitate the further development of women's cycling in general", says CEO Kobe Verdonck.
The condition of Amy Pieters has changed. There is consciousness. This means that she can communicate slightly non-verbally. Amy recognizes people, understands what is being said and is able to carry out more and more assignments.
Team SD Worx finished the spring season with fifteen podium finishes, five of which were victories. In Liège-Bastogne-Liège Demi Vollering and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio finished in third and fourth place, just like in the Flèche Wallonne. Annemiek van Vleuten proved to be the strongest and finished solo. "We couldn't close the gap on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. Unfortunately I missed some freshness," Demi Vollering said honestly afterwards.
Team SD Worx will be at the start of Liège-Bastogne-Liège with a clear goal: to defend last year's victory. On Friday the team explored the last 70 kilometres of the race, which has long been indicated in Demi Vollering's agenda. "It is my favourite race. After my victory last year, I now hope to triumph for the second year in a row."
In the Flèche Wallonne Demi Vollering signed for Team SD Worx's 14th podium spot this season. The team always had control of the race in the first Ardennes classic. Despite the redrawn finale, the decision fell once again on the final climb of the Mur de Huy. There Marta Cavalli eventually won the duel with Annemiek van Vleuten. Demi Vollering finished third ten seconds later. "This was a really tough race, I'm completely empty," was Vollering's first reaction.
Who says Flèche Wallonne, mentions Anna van der Breggen in one breath. The former Olympic and world champion has won the Flèche Wallonne seven times in a row. On Wednesday 20 April 2022, someone else will claim the top step of the podium. "We want to keep the Flèche Wallone within the team," Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio said. "Because we are climbing the Mur de Huy and the Mur de Cherave three times for the first time, I expect a more open race."
"When you feel that there was more in it, losing hurts," said sports manager Danny Stam at the edge of the cycling track. Lotte Kopecky's second place in Paris-Roubaix is a great result. Especially since Team SD Worx again played a dominant role in the final. However, the team was not satisfied with the umpteenth nice, short result of the year.
On Saturday the second edition of Paris-Roubaix will take place. In the Hell of the North, Team SD Worx once again has several cards to play. "Paris-Roubaix is very high on our wish list," say Christine Majerus and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak.
The 2022 season is so far a dream year for Lotte Kopecky. Beforehand, the 26-year-old Belgian champion hoped to win one classic, but in the meantime the Strade Bianche and the Tour of Flanders are already on her palmares. Paris-Roubaix is also still on her wish list. "But that doesn't have to be this year. If I can do something for my teammates, I'll do it with pleasure."
Team SD Worx strikes again. In a rainy and difficult Brabantse Pijl it was Demi Vollering who triumphed. With 30km to go, Vollering went on the attack with Pauliena Rooijakkers. With an ultimate acceleration on the Moskesstraat, Vollering also threw her only remaining competitor overboard. After a solo of about ten kilometres, Vollering triumphed, opening her account this season. "It's a really good feeling to have our first win."
Team SD Worx coloured the Amstel Gold Race, but due to a surprising attack by Marta Cavalli on the spur of the Cauberg 1.7 kilometres from the finish, Demi Vollering had to settle for second place for the second year in a row. "Just at that moment Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and I were looking at each other for a second. Of course it's hard not to win again, but the podium is better than nothing," said the Dutchwoman after the finish.
After their convincing win in the Tour of Flanders, Team SD Worx heads for the Amstel Gold Race with confidence. Blanka Kata Vas will be back in competition after a short break. With the return of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Niamh Fisher-Black, Team SD Worx seems ready for the battle on the slopes. "The Amstel Gold Race is simply a very tough race. That plays into our hands," says Chantal van den Broek-Blaak.
After the Strade Bianche, Lotte Kopecky won her second major victory in less than a month with the Tour of Flanders. The Belgian champion defeated Annemiek van Vleuten in Oudenaarde and thus has the Tour of Flanders, her dream race and first monument, in her pocket. The 26-year-old rider worked coolly through a sophisticated team plan, with a starring role for Chantal van de Broek-Blaak, who completed the podium. "I don't realise it yet. I just won the race of my dreams," Kopecky said in a first reaction.
On Thursday, Team SD Worx explored the final 95 kilometres of the Tour of Flanders. After all, the addition of the Koppenberg changed the course. "This recon was definitely useful. The race just seems to get better," said Chantal van de Broek-Blaak. Watch some images of our reconnaissance here.
Team SD Worx and Maurten officially join forces, but our riders have already successfully used some of Maurten's groundbreaking prototypes. We are proud to announce our cooperation with the Swedish sports nutrition company.
Team SD Worx explored the final 95 kilometres of the Tour of Flanders on Thursday. New in this edition is the Koppenberg. For the first time, the women's peloton traverses the steep Flemish cobbled slope in a race. "On the Koppenberg you cannot win the Ronde, but you can lose the race there," is the conclusion within Team SD Worx.
In Gent-Wevelgem, just like in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Brugge-De Panne, Team SD Worx had to be satisfied with a fourth place. The race was again hard fought, each time with attacks from the Team SD Worx camp, but in the end it was a sprint for the victory. Lotte Kopecky fell just short of the podium and finished after Elisa Balsamo, Marianne Vos and Maria Confalonieri. "I came into the wind too early and lacked speed," said the Belgian champion.
With Gent-Wevelgem, Team SD Worx is cutting the final straight for the Tour of Flanders. The race at Flanders Field lends itself to being hard and selective, a favourite technique of Team SD Worx. "Nokere Koerse and Brugge-De Panne confirmed my good form. Despite a tough training week, the legs were really good. I am going to Gent-Wevelgem with confidence," Lotte Kopecky said.
Brugge - De Panne had a chaotic finale with a massive crash 15km from the end. Lonneke Uneken, the spearhead of Team SD Worx in the fourth WorldTour race of the year, was held up by this, so it took her energy to get back in the right position for the sprint. "Sad that I miss the podium," the 22-year-old Dutch rider said afterwards.
With three victories and eight podium places, Team SD Worx had a strong first racing month. Bruges-De Panne offers a new opportunity for the number one team in the WorldTour ranking. The squad hopes for wind, but with Lotte Kopecky and Lonneke Uneken they also have fast legs for the sprint. "We have a strong selection at the start. It would be nice to have windy conditions, but even without we will be competing for the podium," said sports manager Danny Stam.
Team SD Worx returned from the Trofeo Binda with a good feeling. In the third WorldTour race of the year, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and Elena Cecchini finished fourth and fifth respectively. While world champion Elisa Bolsamo claimed victory in her home country, the team is disappointed that it was unable to catch the sprinters on the final lap.
With 3 wins and a total of 8 top-3 places, Team SD Worx has not missed its start. With the Trofeo Binda, the third Worldtour race of the season is coming up. After earlier wins in the Strade Bianche and a podium finish in Drenthe, SD Worx starts with confidence in Italy. "This is one of my big goals. We will try to dominate the race and make it as hard as possible," said Elena Cecchini.
In the Ronde van Drenthe Team SD Worx once again put in a strong performance, but also had some bad luck. No less than five flat tires and a worn out chain caused the team to lose energy early on, nevertheless the final was once again colored by Team SD Worx. Lotte Kopecky - who punctured herself about 15 kilometers from the line - finished third in the sprint. "Unfortunately I lost the right wheel in the sprint," said the Belgian champion.
After Lotte Kopecky's win in a spectacular Strade Bianche, the Women's WorldTour peloton heads to Drenthe. In the northern part of the Netherlands, a lot of wind, twists and turns, mossy cobblestones and the VAM mountain await the riders. "We will try to defend our number one position in the WorldTour ranking," said Christine Majerus.
Third time’s a charm. Christine Majerus pulled off a nice win in Drentse Acht van Westerveld. After a old style race without communication, the Luxembourgian champion used her experience to finish off and take the third win of the season. “We were up front all the time, which is the old style of racing. It suits me well.”
Lotte Kopecky wins the Strade Bianche. The Belgian champion rules the Piazza Del Campo and defeats Annemiek Van Vleuten in a direct duel. Good for a back-to-back win for Team SD Worx. Kopecky follows Van de Broek-Blaak on the list of winners of the Strade Bianche, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio shows the supremacy of Team SD Worx by completing the podium. "What a perfect day. I can hardly believe it," Lotte Kopecky said.
Team SD Worx heads to the Strade Bianche with confidence, trying to defend last year's win by Chantal van de Broek-Blaak. After the strong team performance in the opening weekend, sporting director Danny Stam looks ahead with confidence. "We have already shown that the form is good.
The stage was locked in for a long time, as the wind was not strong enough to create fans, but after the first passage of the local lap the peloton broke into pieces. Team SD Worx did not miss the train and was fully in front. The peloton would sprint for the win. Elena Cecchini provided a clever lead out and Lonneke Uneken finished it off. The first win of the season is a special one. "After a very difficult period, I'm very happy about this," Lonneke Uneken said. "This victory is for Amy. I hope it can give her and her family some strength."
The opening weekend is over. Team SD Worx hasn't won yet, but was at the forefront in both the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Omloop van het Hageland. In Tielt-Winge, Elena Cecchini sprinted to fourth place after another strong team performance. "Unfortunately I couldn't keep up with Marta Bastianelli," she said.
Team SD Worx started the season with a podium finish in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for Demi Vollering. The 25-year-old Dutch rider sprinted for victory alongside Annemiek Van Vleuten, but had to settle for second place. The team gave a strong performance, which augurs well for the future.
After Demi Vollering's second place in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Team SD Worx will be looking for their first win of the season in the Omloop van het Hageland. It will do so with the following selection: Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, Roxane Fournier, Lotte Kopecky, Lonneke Uneken, Elena Cecchini and Marlen Reusser. Sportive directors are Lars Boom and Anna van der Breggen.
With the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Team SD Worx officially kicks off its new cycling season. The course has been redesigned, with the riders doing the same last 55 kilometres as the men. That does not change anything about the ambitions: Team SD Worx is looking for a second consecutive victory. Anna van der Breggen - who won last year's opening race - will accompany her teammates in the team car.
Christine Majerus won’t ride Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland. “I was supposed to kick of my road season this weekend with Nieuwsblad and Hageland, but unfortunately I have been in close contact at home.
Team SD Worx presented itself to the general public on Wednesday, February 2 at 3 pm. Revisit the full show here.
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak has reconsidered her earlier decision to stop cycling after the spring of 2022. The 32-year-old former world champion has now decided that she will continue as a rider until the end of 2024. She did also indicate that she may have to take a break at some point as she is planning to have children. The Team SD Worx management welcomes Blaak's proposal and is looking forward to keeping her on the team.
Demi Vollering's contract with Team SD Worx has been renegotiated and extended until the end of 2024. Vollering's victories in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course and the Women's Tour last season have shown that she is one of the best cyclists in the peloton.
Rider Amy Pieters is still being treated at a Dutch hospital after a fall during a training session in Spain right before Christmas several weeks ago. The Pieters family has received many questions about her condition, but for now they can report little change and they see the situation as uncertain. The cyclist is breathing independently, but is currently still unconscious.
Team SD Worx heeft het contract met Niamh Fisher-Black verlengd tot eind 2024. Daarmee heeft de ploeg een van de grootste talenten uit het vrouwenpeloton voor de komende drie seizoenen weten vast te leggen. De 21-jarige Nieuw-Zeelandse won in 2021, haar debuutjaar in de kleuren van Team SD Worx, het jongerenklassement in de WorldTour.
For Team SD Worx it was a great challenge, in cooperation with Specialized, to make the 2022 jersey even more beautiful than the one with which SD Worx debuted in the women's peloton in 2021 as main sponsor. In January 2021, the Team SD Worx shirt was crowned the most beautiful in the peloton by 85% of GCN Racing's followers.
Insurance company Yuzzu becomes an important sponsor of Team SD Worx as from next season. The Belgian company signed a contract with the best women’s team in the world for two years (2022-2023) with an option for an extra year (2024). “The arrival of Yuzzu enforces our ambition to remain the number one team in the world”, emphasizes team manager Erwin Janssen.
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