Anna van der Breggen is considered one of the riders who put women's cycling on the map. The two-time world champion (2018, 2020) put an end to her impressive career in 2021 and has finished her first year as a sports director. "This year I learned what it takes to do this job. I did think it was the right decision to take a new path, but you don't know for sure until you actually do it," Van der Breggen said.
The 32-year-old from Zwolle had to adapt to her new job. "As a rider, you think you know what a team leader does, but you only really realise it when you are one yourself. It was a serious adjustment anyway. Life as I knew it as a rider was done. I also got to know myself better in how I deal with things and how I can use my talents to be a good team leader. Basically it just comes down to staying yourself and trying to do better every day."
Van der Breggen is reaping the benefits of her experience as a pro rider. "Because I rode among the riders myself until just over a year ago, I know the peloton inside out. In the follow car, I don't feel the same adrenaline as when I raced myself, but it's a different kind of focus. After all, you are no longer thinking for yourself, but for someone else. So I try to draw from my experience as a rider: When you're in front, what's important info to take away?"
Van der Breggen has been with Team SD Worx (formerly Boels-Dolmans) since 2017. "This is a special team because the dedication is so great. Everyone is hugely motivated to achieve the best possible result in their jobs. Both the riders, and staff members are constantly looking for ways to improve. When you feel that drive within a group, it is logical that everyone goes through fire for each other. So in 2023 there will again be an ambitious Team SD Worx at the start, with the goal to do better than the year before," concludes the Dutchman.