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2022 team preview: Team DSM women

Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM)
Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Who?

  • Manager:  Iwan Spekenbrink
  • Squad size: 13
  • Average age: 22.1

Team DSM continued to be known as one of the strongest one-day and flat stage-race team on the Women's WorldTour. They move into their second season under the title sponsor DSM giving the squad a feeling of stability after changing banners several times over the last decade from previous sponsors Sunweb, Liv-Plantur, Giant-Shimano and Skil-Argos in their inaugural season in 2010.

The team is known for giving opportunities to young talent and placing a high priority on the development of the next generation of future stars. They have made multi-year commitments to a range of talent including Liane Lippert, Juliette Labous, Floortje Mackaij, and Pfeiffer Georgi, who have all grown with the programme that is based out of the Netherlands.

In 2022, the team have a 13-rider roster that, once again, places a focus on developing future talent with an average age of just 22 years old. Mackaij, 26, and Kirchmann, 31, are the veterans on the team, and both have been valuable members for the last six and seven years, respectively, and who guide their team to success on the Women's WorldTour.

How did they fare in 2021?

  • Wins: 18
  • World Ranking: Fourth

Team DSM secured a remarkable 18 victories during the 2021 season and 13 of those came from one rider, Lorena Wiebes, making her one of the most successful signings of the season. Wiebes joined the team part way through 2020 after spending three and a half years with Parkhotel Valkenburg. Her decision to step up to the Women's WorldTour on a nearly five-year deal with then Sunweb has proven to be a success for both rider and team.

Wiebes' talent lays in the sprints and she kicked off the season with victories at one-day races Scheldeprijs, Dwars door de Westhoek, and Flanders Diamond Tour. Her main focus shifted to the stage races and, even despite several crashes and injuries, she excelled with stage wins at Ceratizit Festival Elsy Jacobs, Thüringen Ladies Tour, and Lotto Belgium Tour. These were all races in the lower categories - .1- and .Pro-level - but they prepared her for the bigger events of the season where she excelled with two stage wins at the Giro d'Italia Donne and Women's Tour, and then a season-ending win at Ronde van Drenthe.

Other victories came from departing athlete Coryn Labecki (née Rivera) also at the Giro d'Italia Donne, Georgi won La Choralis Fourmies Féminine and the British Championships, Mackaij won a stage and the overall title at the Trophée des Grimpeuses Vresse-sur-Semois.

Key Riders

Charlotte Kool (NXTG Racing)

Charlotte Kool (Image credit: Getty Images)

Lorena Wiebes: She suffered several crashes and injuries this season that included a concussion that resulted from a crash at the Simac Ladies Tour, and which took her out of races like Paris-Roubaix Femmes and the World Championships. At her healthiest, Wiebes has the strength and talent to win the biggest races on the Women's WorldTour in 2022. 

We can expect to see her contesting for victories in more of the high-level one-day races such as the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem, maybe Paris-Roubaix, while also targeting the sprint stages and the green points jersey at the Tour de France Femmes.

Charlotte Kool - A surprise signing for 2022, she is the perfect fit for Team DSM, particularly as a second sprinter to develop in the Spring Classics and flatter stage races. She joins the team from NXTG Racing where she secured wins at a stage of the Baloise Ladies Tour and Grand Prix International d'Isbergues, and she came second at Drentse Acht van Westerveld, along with multiple top-10s on the circuit.

Wiebes sees Kool as an integral part of her lead-out, while also being a winner in her own right. It will be a packed calendar and there are plenty of races to go around, so watch for Kool to sprint for her own victories in 2022.

Megan Jastrab - Jastrab was focused on the track and participating at the Olympic Games in the Madison with Jennifer Valente in 2021. She will be back on the road with Team DSM next year, and she has already made her name for herself winning the 2019 UCI World Championships junior women's road race, among other victories as a junior level. 

Now, 19, Jastrab will compete in a full road season where she will not only have an opportunity to develop and learn from her teammates in the professional ranks, but will also be free to unleash her strengths in the one-day races and flatter stage races.

Juliette Labous - The Tour de France Femmes will be a big target for every French rider and, no doubt, a goal for Labous in 2022. She has been gradually progressing in the bigger stage races over the last six years with Team DSM and its previous title sponsors with 9th on GC at the Tour of California and Ladies Tour of Norway, 7th at the Giro d'Italia Donne and second at the Women's Tour. 

Last year, she told Cyclingnews that she was working on her time trial and that she wanted to improve in her overall strengths in the stage races. Watch for her at the Tour de France Femmes.

Strengths

HOOGEVEEN NETHERLANDS OCTOBER 23 LR Franziska Koch of Germany Pfeiffer Georgi of United Kingdom Lorena Wiebes of Netherlands Susanne Andersen of Norway Floortje Mackaij of Netherlands Megan Jastrab of United States and Team DSM during the team presentation prior to the 17th UCI Womens WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe 2021 a 1591km one day race from Assen to Hoogeveen UCIWWT RondevDrenthe on October 23 2021 in Hoogeveen Netherlands Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

Team DSM at the Women's Tour (Image credit: Getty Images)

Team DSM's clear strengths are in the sprints with a leader like Lorena Wiebes. This is the area they will continue to focus on in an effort to improve their lead-out with riders like Kool and Georgi. They show unity when they have a proven champion like Wiebes to support and the team rallies with motivation and confidence in races they know they can win. Next year, with a targeted calendar, we could see Team DSM victorious at a multitude of races, everything from the Tour of Flanders, to flatter stage races like the Simac Ladies Tour and Women's Tour, to stages of the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France Femmes. It's a team that also focuses on development and so watch for riders like Jastrab, Kool, Labous, Elise Uijen and Liane Lippert, to continue to break barriers, and take opportunities in races that suit their strengths.

Weaknesses

While Team DSM have all the potential to win flatter races, they lack a rider who can contest the overall classification in mountainous stage races. They will be contenders in shorter and flatter stage races like the Tour of Chongming Island, RideLondon, Simac Ladies Tour or Women's Tour, but we aren't likely to see them contesting the overall victories in the high mountains of the Giro d'Italia Donne or the Tour de France Femmes.

While the team are building up their sprint and one-day talents with riders like Kool, Jastrab and Franziska Koch, for now, they rely heavily on one rider, Wiebes, for victories. Wiebes seems more than capable of handling that pressure to perform, but should she face illness or injury, the team won't have another rider strong enough to take her place as leader.

Verdict

Team DSM have a squad that is set to dominate the sprints on Women's WorldTour. Their focus on developing future sprint stars means that, given time, they will have a selection of leaders at the biggest races. Continuing to develop their GC riders will give them more options in mountainous events. For now, though, they seem motivate and focussed on winning some of the biggest one-day races top-tier calendar, and we can expect them to dominate the flatter stages at the Giro d'Italia Donne and the Tour de France Femmes.

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.