Sophie von Berswordt is set to switch gears from mountain biking to road racing, signing a two-year contract with Team Jumbo-Visma Women, effective from 1 January. With von Berswordt’s entry, the team’s roster swells to fourteen riders for the 2024 season. Von Berswordt, who started racing mountain bikes at the World Cup level in 2017 and secured a sixth-place finish in the Mountain Bike World Cup in 2018, expressed her desire to explore different aspects of cycling. She revealed that an experience with Watersley R&D Road Team piqued her interest in the road discipline. Von Berswordt was 46th at Binche-Chimay-Binche and also raced Gracia Orlova in the Czech Republic too in 2023.
According to von Berswordt, the allure of road racing lies in its tactical nature and the camaraderie among teammates. Unlike mountain biking, which she considers more individualistic, road racing allows her to have an excellent race without necessarily standing on the podium. She plans to bring her technical skills from mountain biking into the peloton, while acknowledging that she has much to learn. Her focus for the short term is on the more challenging Spring Classics such as the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, and Strade Bianche.
Rutger Tijssen, Team Jumbo-Visma Women’s Technical Director, indicated they will take time to discover von Berswordt’s strengths and areas for improvement. He lauded her talent, technical prowess, and endurance, stating these qualities provide a solid foundation for her transition into road racing.
Last month, the team announced the additions of Mijntje Geurts, Margaux Vigie, and Lieke Nooijen. The recruitment drive for 2024 also sees performance coach Maarten van Kooij and race coaches Jan Boven and Jos van Emden joining Tijssen’s staff.
As for von Berswordt, she is determined to carve out clear goals for herself by this time next year, with the aim to get stronger and gain valuable experience in the interim.