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AG Insurance Steps Up Commitment To Women’s Cycling With Majority Ownership In AG Insurance-Soudal

AG Insurance Sourdal Team 2024

In a significant move for women’s cycling, AG Insurance has announced it will become the main shareholder of the women’s cycling team AG Insurance-Soudal. This expansion of its role, from main sponsor to holding a 76% share in the team, marks a milestone in the company’s involvement in the sport. The insurance giant aims to leverage this position to enhance the development of young female talent and elevate the team’s standing in the professional WorldTour circuit.

AG Insurance’s history with cycling, particularly in Belgium, is a long one. The company has been a fixture in the sport for the past 25 years, working closely with Belgian and regional cycling federations to nurture young talent. Their partnership has played a crucial role in bringing global attention to Belgian cycling. AG’s commitment extends beyond nurturing young talent, as evidenced by its role as title partner for iconic spring classics like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Flèche Wallonne.

Sarah Gigante

Patrick Lefevere, CEO of Soudal Quick-Step, underscored the positive impact of AG Insurance’s enhanced involvement. He highlighted the professional environment known as ‘the Wolfpack’, which has been extended to include the women’s team. This environment, according to Lefevere, is pivotal for the team’s ambition to reach the pinnacle of women’s cycling. The team currently boasts 15 professional WorldTour riders, 16 DEVO + U19 riders, and a staff of 30, all benefitting from over two decades of experience in performance, training, nutrition, and technique, shared across all teams.

Jurgen Foré’s appointment as team manager for AG Insurance-Soudal, in addition to his role as COO of Soudal Quick-Step, signifies a strategic move to harmonise the operations of the men’s and women’s teams. The presence of Jolien D’Hoore as sports manager further solidifies this promising future where the women’s team can expect full support from its male counterparts.

In a heartfelt statement on LinkedIn, Natascha den Ouden, the former team manager and a key figure in the team’s foundation, expressed her mixed emotions over stepping down. Den Ouden’s pioneering efforts since 2018 have been instrumental in the team’s journey from a fledgeling project with six juniors to a fuller organisation that includes junior, U23, and Women’s WorldTour teams. She highlighted the importance of building a broad base for women’s cycling to ensure a larger peak, akin to laying a solid foundation before the roof in construction.

Kim Le Court 2024 Strade Bianche
Kim Le Court

Den Ouden’s departure comes amid differences in vision for the team’s future, yet she leaves behind a legacy of dedication and passion for the sport. Her efforts, along with the support of sponsors and the cycling community, have been vital in realising her motto: ‘unlock your potential’.

As AG Insurance takes on a more pronounced role in shaping the future of women’s cycling, the focus remains on sustainable growth and professional development, ensuring that the AG Insurance-Soudal team is well-positioned for success going forward.