European road champion and world madison champion Amy Pieters and the 20-year-old talent Lonneke Uneken have extended their contracts with the Boels-Dolmans women’s cycling team. For the next two and four years respectively, Pieters and Uneken will sport the colours of the best women’s cycling team in the world. Starting from 1 January 2021, this team will continue as the SD Worx Cycling Team.
Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen and former world champion Chantal Blaak already announced earlier that they, too, will remain loyal to the team going forward. “With the addition of Amy Pieters, we hope to also score big on the track at the Tokyo Olympics next year,” stresses sports director Danny Stam. “She and Kirsten Wild are the ones to beat in the madison. Amy’s road cycling has also shown strong growth in the last two years. She isn’t just an ideal team player, her fast sprint means she is also capable of finishing the race. She already triumphed at the Tour of Drenthe, the GP Plouay and the Healthy Ageing Tour. Last summer, her excellent performance on the road culminated in the European road title in Alkmaar. I am convinced that over the next two years she will continue to hold her own among the world’s best road cyclists.”
In 2021 Pieters (28) will concentrate primarily on the Olympics, of course. “I’ve seen in recent years that combining track and road cycling works well for me,” Pieters says. “Precisely because of this combination, my performance has improved in both areas. I will certainly also be riding road competitions in 2021, but if I have to choose, Tokyo will always be my main focus. Besides, I consciously signed up for two more years to give me another full season to concentrate on road cycling in 2022. For two years the team gave me the freedom to optimise my focus on the track. I hope to repay them with a strong road season in 2022.”
Stam calls Lonneke Uneken the biggest talent in women’s cycling in the Netherlands: “She is only 20 years old, but in the two spring races in February she immediately showed her ability to keep up with the best riders on the team. She contributed to an interesting finish at both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and GP Samyn. I think she may become the ‘new’ Chantal Blaak. She has the same qualities and is also highly driven. She is a rider who, despite her young age, really knows what she wants.”
Uneken is pleased with the level of confidence the future SD Worx Cycling team has in her. “My contract of no less than four years serves as proof,” says Uneken enthusiastically. “Ever since the first training camp last winter, I’ve felt right at home with this team. The first competitions went well, and certainly promised more. When Danny Stam made me this offer, I didn’t hesitate for a second. My first major goal is the 2024 Olympics in Paris. It gives me peace of mind to know that I can work towards it in this familiar environment. It is also a huge advantage that Anna van der Breggen and Chantal Blaak are remaining active in the team leadership and coaching after their careers. It is very special to have such great champions as mentors.”
“The fact that Amy and Lonneke have extended their contracts gives us, as the main sponsor, a lot of confidence that we will be enjoying a glorious future with this wonderful team. That they are staying with us, as are Anna and Chantal, indicates that the atmosphere in the team is good and that the professional support is top-class. Together with the riders and many fans, we are looking forward to the moment when it is safe to race again,” says Kobe Verdonck, CEO of SD Worx.