Team SD Worx has announced the contract extensions of Blanka Vas and Anna Shackley for 2 more years until the end of 2024. Both riders were on the uncontracted list for 2023 and despite being strong riders, had unknown futures until publically confirmed today. The team seems Vas doing well in the cyclocross part of the year and maybe using that for a Persico/Van Anrooij-style road season. The team talked her out of heading to Australia for the World Championships and encouraged her to focus on the CX season, where she has already taken 4 victories. Anna Shackley is developing nicely into a strong climbing option. She hasn’t had too many leadership chances but is an important cog for the team when the racing starts going uphill.
The Hungarian Vas didn’t have a particularly break-out result on the road in 2022, with only 3 individual top-10 results. The most impressive of which was 8th at Classic Lorient Agglomération. She was still a consistent presence however and unlucky to suffer a bad crash during the Giro Donne. A strong system in cyclocross should help her push on again in the classics next season.
“Perhaps the general public did not immediately notice, but Vas has shown strong things again for her age during the past road season. In 2021 she delivered unexpectedly wonderful results. This year she has further developed and completed a full road season for the first time.
We have seen that she has become a lot stronger. She made an impression, especially in the tougher one-day races. Blanka is a rider who can and wants everything. The future will show what she can best specialise in.”Danny Stam, SD Worx sporting manager
“I didn’t have to think twice when I could extend my contract. Within the team I can continue to do the combination of road, cyclo-cross and mountain bike. For example, next year I will ride a bit more mountain bike races with a view to qualifying for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
This season I have ridden a fairly full road programme for the first time. I have learned a lot. It is a big advantage that you are in the best team in the world with Danny Stam, Anna van der Breggen and Lars Boom as team leaders and you have experienced top riders such as Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak and Demi Vollering next to you. I am not yet sure where my greatest opportunities lie on the road. Although I do have a preference for the one-day races.”Blanka Vas
Scottish rider Anna Shackley has been part of the mountain train in the last couple of seasons for SD Worx. She has supported leader Demi Vollering by doing a lot of the early climbing, before handing over to Kiwi teammate Niamh Fisher-Black. Her role as a climbing domestique has seen her still able to finish high up on stage races this year, such is the strength of SD Worx. 15th at Itzulia Women, 20th at Festival Elsy Jacobs, 14th at Vuelta a Burgos, 7th at the Ceratizit Challenge and 10th at the Tour de Romandie. A set of results, many would be delighted to have across a single season.
“Anna had a difficult year in 2021. For the first time she rode with a large team, while she had hardly competed in 2020 due to Covid. This year she proved her talent. She finished in the top ten in the final standings of the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta and the Tour de Romandie. She has made enormous progress this year, while she also had the necessary setbacks. For example, she had to miss the Giro d’Italia Donne due to a corona infection. However, her autumn was very strong.”Danny Stam, SD Worx sporting manager
“It’s true that the first year with the team was quite difficult. Fortunately, I made good progress in 2022. I do my best in the hill classics and in the heavier laps. My results in the Autumn were certainly good. That gives a lot of motivation to go into the winter towards the coming season. I am having a good time at Team SD Worx. I’m developing well here. There is also a good team atmosphere between the riders and the staff. I feel at home here.”Anna Shackley