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Wiebes Displeased with Visma’s Absence from Ronde van Drenthe: “Don’t Understand it, Skip Another Race”

Lorena Wiebes

Lorena Wiebes, winner of the Ronde van Drenthe for the fourth consecutive time last weekend, expressed her support for Dutch races while also criticising Visma | Lease a Bike. Also, the controversy surrounding the European Championship with teammate Bredewold still lingers.

The WorldTour race took on a different format this year due to a lack of police escort, resulting in a 29-kilometre circuit with the iconic VAM-berg after starting in Beilen, rather than the usual route over the cobblestones of Drenthe, with the finish in Hoogeveen. Wiebes found it frustrating that the race faced such difficulties, not just due to the police issue but also because some strong Dutch riders were missing.

She expressed bewilderment at Visma | Lease a Bike’s decision not to participate – meaning no Marianne Vos and Fem van Empel in Drenthe.

“The Ronde van Drenthe is one of the few top races in the Netherlands for us; it would be a shame if this race disappeared. I don’t understand why a Dutch WorldTour team wouldn’t compete in this race; you would expect more support for a race in our own country. Skip another race instead.”

Wiebes’ concerns extend beyond just the Ronde van Drenthe. She believes the changes are detrimental to Dutch cycling in general and feels sorry for young riders who have fewer opportunities to race.

“I also feel sorry for young riders, who can race less and less. A few years ago, I really learned how to race in events like the Healthy Ageing Tour and the Ronde van Strijen, races that are no longer held. I truly hope the tide turns.”

Mischa Bredewold winning the 2023 European Championships

Reflecting on the 2023 European Championships held in Drenthe, Wiebes recalled her disappointment when teammate Mischa Bredewold unexpectedly won against team agreements.

“I’ve often stood on the podium very happily next to a teammate, finishing second or third. I discussed this with Mischa too; this [championships] was the last straw. My Tour and World Championships were more or less unsuccessful, leaving only the [European Championships] as a major goal. You have to talk it out before a new cycling year begins. But there is some trust that needs to be rebuilt. This time, Mischa worked perfectly for me.”