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Olympic participants Tokyo 2021 from Team SD Worx

No less than nine female cyclists from Team SD Worx will take part in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Anna van der Breggen will be competing for the Netherlands in the Japanese metropolis as the defending champion of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 road race. ‘VDB’ also took bronze in the time trial five years ago, while Jolien D’hoore took the same medal in the omnium on the track for Belgium.

The road race will take place on Sunday 25 July with the finish at the Fuji International Speedway. The time trial (22.1 kilometres) will take place on Wednesday 29 July around the same venue. The mountain bike race is on Tuesday 27 July around the Izu velodrome. On August 6, the women’s Madison race will take place at this velodrome.

Sports manager Danny Stam of Team SD Worx, who will also be present in Tokyo, goes over the chances of his nine riders at the world’s most important sporting event.

Anna van der Breggen


2nd Olympic Games; Won gold in road race and bronze in time trial in Rio 2016

Participates in the road race and time trial

Danny Stam: “In recent weeks, Anna van der Breggen has once again underlined that she is the big favourite to capture the Olympic title again. In the Giro d’Italia Donne she was once again in a class of her own and managed to win this important stage race for the fourth time in her career. The special thing about these Olympic Games for her is that it will be her last major event in which she will be competing. The course seems to suit her, although Anna with her talent and experience can do well on almost every circuit. Also, in the time trial I count her among the favourites. Last year in Imola (Italy) she won the world title in the time trial for the first time. And also, in the Giro she won the time trial in early July. In Tokyo I do expect strong opposition from the American Chloe Dygert and the Swiss Marlen Reusser.”

Demi Vollering


24 years old

1st Olympic Games

Participates in the road race 

Danny Stam: “I count Demi Vollering among the medal candidates in the road race. First you get the tough climb, on which a group with the better climbers will ride away. Then we get a circuit that on paper reminds me of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Ardennes classic is Demi’s favourite race and she won it this spring. Then, at the end of June, she also won La Course. Demi can keep up with the best uphill, but she also has a strong sprint as an extra weapon. After a tough race, she doesn’t need to be afraid of anyone in the sprint. She has proven that often enough. These will be her first Olympic Games. That is an experience in itself. She will really have to focus on the race and ignore the peripheral issues. After all, Anna van der Breggen proved in Rio de Janeiro that you can take gold even at your first Olympic Games.” 

Amy Pieters

30 years old


2nd Olympics

Participates in the Madison race (track cycling) 

Danny Stam: “Together with Kirsten Wild, Amy Pieters will compete in the Madison race on the track. There, the Dutch pair will be the big favourites for the Olympic title. They have been world champions in this discipline twice in recent years. And both riders have shown in recent months that they are working towards good top form. Amy Pieters became Dutch champion on the road. From my own experience I can say that the Madison race never offers certainty of a medal. A lot can go wrong and everything has to fall into place.”

Jolien D’hoore


31 years old

3rd Olympics; won bronze on omnium in Rio 2016

Participates in the Madison race (track cycling) 

Danny Stam: “Together with our new recruit from 2022 for Team SD Worx, Lotte Kopecky, Jolien D’hoore forms a strong duo for the Madison race on the track. They are two top cyclists who have a good feeling for track riding. They must certainly be considered capable of riding for a place on the podium. Actually, their performances in recent years at the World Championships have been a little disappointing for me, if you compare this with the amount of talent they both have. I think it’s very important for them to be good in the race right from the start. If their confidence grows during the match, they can compete with the Netherlands for the gold medal.”

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio

South Africa

35 years old

3rd Olympic Games

Participates in the road race and time trial 

Danny Stam: “In the past Giro d’Italia Donne, Ashleigh has shown that she is ready for the Olympics. In Italy, she won a mountain stage and finished second in the general classification, after Anna van der Breggen. Since we have brought her to the team, you can see that she is making progress every month. Ashleigh is a rider to be reckoned with in the road race in Tokyo. Ashleigh is a rider to be taken seriously in the road race in Tokyo. Uphill, she is one of the better riders in the peloton. The course will suit her well. In fact, she has been thinking about the Olympics all year. For her, as a South African, the Olympic Games stand out above all other competitions even more than for European riders. This is the place where she can win eternal fame in her homeland.”

Blanka Kata Vas


19 years old

1st Olympic Games

Participates in Mountain bike

Danny Stam: “Blanka Kata Vas has only been with us for a few months. She will mainly focus on cyclocross and mountain biking in our team, although she has already proven that she can compete with the best on the road. In Tokyo, she will compete in the mountain bike race. In recent weeks she has achieved good results on the mountain bike, but we have to take into account that these were all races for under-23s. Blanka Kata is only 19 years young and she simply has to achieve a good result in Tokyo for herself and above all gain a lot of experience. She should see this event as an intermediate step towards her successful future.” 

Anna Shackley

Great Britain

20 years old

1st Olympic Games

Participates in the road race and time trial

Danny Stam: “It is a great honour for Anna Shackley that as a 20-year-old she has been directly selected for Great Britain to compete in the road race and time trial at the Olympic Games. It is also a recognition of her talent from the British federation. In the road race she will mainly have to ride in service of Lizzie Deignan-Armitstead. She will have to give her all for that and she is very good at that. In the time trial she will have to try and get the best result possible. However, it is unrealistic that she will finish among the first. She should also see the Olympics as an important experience for her future. In her first year with Team SD Worx, she has been one of the surprises in my opinion, showing an enormous development. What she performed, especially in the Vuelta a Burgos, I had not yet expected from her. She has the potential to become one of the better riders in the peloton.”

Karol-Ann Canuel


33 years old

2nd Olympian

Participates in the road race and time trial 

Danny Stam: “The Tokyo Olympics are going to be Karol-Ann Canuel’s last performance in her career. It would be great if she could end her career with a good result. I have had her in my team for at least six years and she has always been a great asset to the team. She is the ideal team player and I think it is a shame that she is stopping. In Tokyo, she will focus mainly on the time trial and she has secretly set herself the goal of finishing in the top five. I think this is quite a challenge. In the road race, she has shown often enough at the World Championships that she can play a significant role. I expect the same from her again. She deserves that.”

Christine Majerus


34 years old

3rd Olympic Games

Competing in the road race and time trial

Danny Stam: “After London 2012 and Rio 2016, this will be Christine Majerus’ third Olympic Games. You could say that she has come of age. She is a super consistent and good rider. At World Cups and previous Olympic Games you saw her disadvantage that as a Luxembourgian she always has to compete against blocks like the Netherlands and Italy. In principle, she is better at her best on Flemish courses than in the hill classics. In that respect, Tokyo is not her most ideal race. However, she is a rider who can do well anywhere and should be able to set a fast time that also belongs on her already beautiful track record. If everything goes her way in the time trial, she should be able to achieve a good result here too. She is definitely keen on it.

Photo credits: Getty Sport


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