Anna van der Breggen and Chantal van den Broeck-Blaak have extended their contracts with Boels Dolmans, with the Olympic champion Van der Breggen moving to a team leader/coach role after the Tokyo Olympics next year. Van den Broeck-Blaak will do the same in the spring of 2022.
The move means that both riders will race in the colours of new sponsor SD Worx, which takes over from Boels Dolmans for 2021, before working as coaches for the team thereafter. Current team leader Danny Stam will continue with the squad and remain active in his role in the team car, too.
"It's nice that we can report some positive news during these difficult times for top-level sports," said team manager Erwin Janssen in a press release.
"With Van der Breggen and Van den Broeck-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."
Stam said that the future move to become part of the backroom staff means that the two Dutchwomen will help the team continue advancing in the coming years.
"For women's cycling, allowing two of our best riders to advance to coaching is a revolutionary step," he said. "We have all the confidence in the world that with their input as team leader/coach, we will be able to raise the bar again."
Van der Breggen, who turned 30 last month, has won almost everything there is to win in the sport, including road race gold at the Rio Olympics, two editions of the Giro Rosa, the Worlds road race in 2018, and 12 one-day classics including the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and five editions of La Flèche Wallonne.
Due to target the Tokyo Olympics road race this season, she will focus on defending her title at the delayed Games next year before taking up a team leader/coach spot at SD Worx.
"The Olympic Games in Tokyo are, of course, a great challenge and an important reason for continuing another year," said Van der Breggen. "I also want to end my career with a great, full season. Especially after this year, which was largely lost due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I am enormously motivated to continue for one more year.
"I've been thinking about a role as team leader/coach for some time. I was quickly excited about the team's proposal. I had gradually come to realise that I was looking for a new challenge in my life. In 2021, I want to get the best out of myself on my bike for one more season.
"After that I will focus on this new job. I look forward to helping our cyclists become even better. I hope I can provide more guidance in the areas of science, nutrition and mental support. I am certain we can improve in these areas."
Van den Broeck-Blaak is currently one of the team's road captains and is a spring Classics specialist. The 30-year-old has won the Ronde van Drenthe, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold Race, while the crowning moment of her career came with a win at the 2017 Worlds road race in Norway.
She will race through the spring Classics of 2021 before hanging up her bike and switching to the coaching role.
"I've been riding for this team for six years and I feel completely at home here," said Van den Broeck-Blaak. "I see it as a big opportunity that after spring 2021, I will be able to continue working with Anna as team leaders of the SD Worx cycling team. In women's cycling, it is not common for cyclists to make this step into coaching after their active career.
"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."
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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