Team Jumbo-Visma Women ready to take the next step

Team Jumbo-Visma Women ready to take the next step

Over the past three years, Team Jumbo-Visma Women has become a force to be reckoned with in the women's peloton. The team has enjoyed great success, including two stage wins at the Giro, two stage wins and the green jersey at the Tour, and victory in the 2023 Vuelta team time trial. But the team has also had its challenges. After three years of trial and error, the team is ready for the next step.

Sports technical manager Rutger Tijssen (49) has been in charge of Team Jumbo-Visma Women for over a year. For more than 20 years, the Amsterdam native worked at the top of speed skating. "Cycling is a team sport", he says, pointing out an important difference. "To be successful, you have to build a strong team", Tijssen says. He is increasingly looking to the successful WT men's team for inspiration. "We want to create more cohesion and cross-fertilisation between the different teams of Team Jumbo-Visma", he says, also referring to the Development Team.

The women's team will look different. Maarten van Kooij will join Tijssen as performance coach, while Jan Boven and Jos van Emden will be race coaches. Race and performance coaches Carmen Small and Lieselot Decroix have found new challenges elsewhere, and performance coach Marieke van Wanroij will leave the team at the end of the season after three years of loyal service.

"We are building with our women's team. It has gone through ups and downs in recent years"

Merijn Zeeman, sportive director

According to sporting director Merijn Zeeman, this has created a missing link in integrating his stable between the different cycling teams. "We are building with our women's team. It has gone through ups and downs in recent years. By creating a more explicit link between the women's and men's teams in all areas, we expect to see further development in the coming years. I am delighted we have brought together experience, talent and a willingness to learn in this coaching team. I am therefore confident that our women's team will become increasingly dominant."

Tijssen is also confident about the new group of riders. The balance of the team was a key factor in the recruitment process. "I think we have a well-balanced team for 2024, where we can make the most of the skills of each rider, including the experienced leaders. Everyone has their qualities and should be able to develop and reach their full potential in the coming years."

Tijssen's team is also well-balanced in terms of age and experience. "With Marianne (Vos), Riejanne (Markus) and Anna (Henderson), we have three good leaders. The other riders are less experienced, but they all are very talented. The team we will start with in 2024 has become stronger across the board, despite the departure of Karlijn Swinkels, Noemi Ruëgg, Coryn Labecki, Teuntje Beekhuis and Kim Cadzow."

"There must always be progress within the group. On all fronts, both physically and mentally"

Rutger Tijssen, sports technical manager

Mijntje Geurts and Margaux Vigie have already been announced as replacements. Tijssen's latest signing is Lieke Nooijen. The Dutch rider is known as a strong time trialist. Nooijen expects to develop in this discipline with her new team. "It is great that I will soon be the new teammate of the Dutch time trial champion (Riejanne Markus). I expect to learn a lot from her. I also hope to improve in other areas", Nooijen says. "I like a tough race and am not afraid of long sprints and lead-outs. I also want to prove myself in the spring classics."

Tijssen and his group are ready for the next step, knowing it must be combined with hard work. The development of the individual rider must be the basis for the team's success. "We do this by looking at the needs and desires of each athlete and offering as much individualisation as possible. The question we always ask ourselves and the riders is: what do we need to do today to be better tomorrow? There must always be progress within the group. On all fronts, both physically and mentally. This growth starts with the individual but serves the team's interest."

Tijssen agrees that this must lead to winning together. "Winning is important to us", he says. "We make that clear. After all, we are an ambitious top sports team. But we also know that you have to build on success. Almost thirty percent of our riders are younger than 23. We think of them as development riders and want to give them the chance to develop at their own pace into strong athletes who can eventually compete at the highest level. A top-ten finish in an important race can also be a 'win' for these riders."

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