Team DSM confirmed that Lorena Wiebes will be leaving Team DSM at the end of this season, in an interview with Cyclingnews at the start of stage 2 on Monday. Cyclingnews also spoke with SD Worx team manager Danny Stam, who did not deny reports in AD.nl yesterday that the sprinter is set to break her contract early to join his team.
"In the end, it is not so nice, it's not nice for us," Team DSM directeur sportif Albert Timmer said. "She will be gone, and that's something that we have to deal with. She is still here, we have still our goals for the season and we keep on continuing working. I think the way we work together is on a good level."
Wiebes previously prematurely ended her contract with Parkhotel-Valkenburg in 2020 in a mid-season transfer to DSM on a contract through to 2024 with an eye on the Paris Olympics.
A surprise report from AD.nl on stage 1 of the Tour de France Femmes revealed that Wiebes would again break her contract early to join SD Worx in 2023, based on a clause that allowed her to consider higher salary offers.
The report noted that DSM were not interesting in matching the offer, although Timmer was not aware of the details of the move.
Danny Stam did not deny Wiebes' transfer to his programme but expressed a level of disappointment that it had been reported in the press. According to UCI rules, teams cannot announce new signings until August 1, unless agreed upon by the two teams involved.
"You should ask Thijs Zonneveld [a reporter for AD]," Stam said. "He knows more about it, I think. It seems he knows everything."
Lorena Wiebes has cemented herself as the fastest sprinter in the peloton this season, winning stage 1 of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, her 16th win of the season.
A representative from Team DSM told Cyclingnews that while they can't confirm the team Wiebes will be transferring to, they respect her decision to move in light of "an offer she didn't want to pass up".
The team later released a full statement that read, "Of course we can’t confirm the new team, but what we can say is that Lorena is a good rider with a phenomenal sprint. We would have loved to continue working with her, but she got an offer she didn't want to pass up and we respect that. We are proud of everything our Women Program has achieved with Lorena and look forward to finishing the year off with plenty more successes."
The team have a second option for a sprinter in Charlotte Kool, who has been part of Wiebes' lead-out train this season.
"Of course, we have Charlotte who is extremely fast as well," Timmer said. "She has shown that already, in the Giro this year that she can be really fast. So we can work with that in the coming years."
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Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.