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Mettepenningen about leaving Van Empel: “I don’t want to get in the way of someone with so much talent”

Fem van Empel

Fem van Empel’s current team boss has commented to the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad about her impending move to Jumbo Visma on January 1st 2023. The Dutch rider has got off to a great start this cyclocross season, winning 3 World Cup races in a row – Waterloo, Fayetteville & Tabor. Interestingly, Jurgen Mettepenningen says that he understands Van Empel’s decision to change teams and didn’t want to stop her from taking that step. Of course, this comes after Mettepenningen refused to release Van Empel when Jumbo-Visma wanted to sign the rider earlier this year.

“Fem has the ambition to ride the Tour, Strade Bianche… We couldn’t offer her that. Her contract expires at the end of December, but it actually contained a clause to bind her to us even longer. However, I didn’t want to bother with that. No one benefits from an unhappy Fem. And I can’t and don’t want to get in the way of someone with so much talent if she can’t achieve her goals in our team.

When I see Fem cycling, I often think: we are looking at the new Marianne Vos. She has the same bike and the same sprint. And she’s just as all-round. Fem wants to develop on the road, on the mountain bike and in cyclocross, but I think that in the long term she will have to limit herself to two disciplines, which she can then combine at the highest level.”

Jurgen Mettepenningen