The Dutch climber has spent the past five years at Jumbo-Visma but was not selected for any Grand Tours this year and will move to Trek-Segafredo with the chief ambition of winning a stage in a three-week race.
Vincenzo Nibali is set to leave Trek-Segafredo for Astana, with Giulio Ciccone leading their Grand Tour hopes, while more riders target stage victories.
Tolhoek won a stage at the 2019 Tour de Suisse but has largely been deployed as a domestique. He hopes the change of environment will open the door to new opportunities to chase results for himself.
"It was a hard decision to make to leave my current team, but when a team like Trek-Segafredo came and offered me the chance to ride for myself in big races and win a stage in a Grand Tour, then there was no doubt about me grabbing this opportunity," Tolhoek said.
"I’m looking forward to racing Grand Tours again and fighting for a stage victory. Some experienced riders already showed that they get the chance to go in the breakaway and fight for a stage win with this team, and that’s my dream. I hope that I can get this dream into the books in the next two years with Trek-Segafredo."
The connection between Tolhoek and Trek-Segafredo runs through team director Steven De Jongh, who first spotted the Dutchman back when he was working for Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015. Tolhoek was originally ice skater but was doing more and more cycling, and he was offered a spot as a stagiaire for the latter part of the 2015 season.
He went on to turn professional with Roompot in 2017 and then moved to the WorldTour with Jumbo-Visma the following year, but has kept in touch with De Jongh.
"Back then, Antwan was still young and had only been on the bike for two and a half years," De Jongh explained.
"He was too inexperienced to throw into WorldTour level, so I called a friend who was working at the Roompot team, and they took him on for the next season. In his first professional year, Antwan took the mountains jersey at the Tour de Suisse, and then he was offered a contract with Team Lotto NL Jumbo."
Tolhoek rode the Vuelta a España in his first season with Jumbo but it ended in controversy after he and three others were hospitalised and then sent home from a December training camp for taking unapproved sleep medication. He bounced back to make his Tour de France debut in 2018 before supporting Primoz Roglic at the 2019 Giro d'Italia and going on to win his Tour de Suisse stage in the mountains, which earned him a two-year extension.
"Antwan is a super polite guy, but he’s very hungry to race; he enjoys attacking to be in the breakaways and overall races aggressively. Since we were looking for riders who could go in the break and go for stages, I think he will fit the profile for us. In the mountain stages and shorter stage races, as well as in the Ardennes Classics, he can play an important role for us," said De Jongh.
“Hopefully, with us, he can win at one of the week-long stage races. In the Grand Tours, whatever his program may be, I think he could do a role similar to what Kenny Elissonde was doing at the Vuelta. He’s really a talented climber."
Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick joined Cyclingnews after a work experience stint in 2015 and hasn't left. Prior to that, he studied French and Spanish at university and went on to train as a journalist. Rides his bike to work but more comfortable on a football pitch.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.