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Boels-Dolmans, set to race under the name SD Worx from 2021, has confirmed that the Dutch pair will join the team as sport directors after they retire from racing. Olympic champion van der Breggen has confirmed she will ride through 2021 before hanging up her wheels, while van den Broek-Blaak will continue competing until spring 2022, at which point she will join van der Breggen in the director’s chair.
“It’s nice that we can report some positive news during these difficult times for top-level sports,” said team manager Erwin Janssen. “With Van der Breggen and Blaak, who have helped form the DNA of the team these past years, we are signing two world-class riders to be part of the team for the long-term. With these two taking on a leadership role, our team will continue to grow.”
Extending her career through 2021 will allow van der Breggen to defend her Olympic title at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics next summer.
“The Olympic Games in Tokyo are, of course, a great challenge and an important reason for continuing another year,” van der Breggen said. ”I also want to end my career with a great, full season. Especially after this year, which was largely lost due to the corona pandemic, I am enormously motivated to continue for one more year.”
Classics specialist van den Broek-Blaak will continue racing a few more months than her teammate to allow her one final run at the spring one-day races in 2022. She will then transition to her role behind the scenes with SD Worx.
“In women’s cycling, it is not common for cyclists to make this step into coaching after their active career,” she said. “We know that we need to grow further as a team. The level of competition is constantly going up. I particularly like the direct approach to coaching, training, and nutrition. After all, we want to continue to be the number one women’s cycling in the world.”
The team’s current sponsors Boels Rental and Dolmans Landscaping confirmed in fall last year that they would not renew their sponsorship contracts after 2021, at which point SD Worx stepped into the fold. The Belgian payroll services provider that will take over title sponsorship of the team in 2021, and is already acting as a co-sponsor for Boels-Dolmans.
“We are very excited about this news,” said Kobe Verdonck, CEO of SD Worx. “With their years of high-level experience, Anna and Chantal are perfectly positioned to take in the near future on their new role with the SD Worx Cycling Team. They know racing like no other, and now they can pass on this expertise to the other cyclists as a leader and coach. We wish them lots of success with their career switch and are also very happy, of course, that we will still be able to see them race with the team in the coming period.”