Team 2022 preview: SD Worx
- General manager: Erwin Janssen
- Team size: 13
- Middle age: 28.23
The SD Worx team was by far the number one team in the world in 2021, with two-time 2020 world champion Anna van der Breggen securing victories in the classics, post-classic races in Spain and the Giro d ‘ Italia Donne.
The team, which debuted in 2010 as the Dolmans Landscaping Team, first rose to prominence with the signing of Olympic silver medalist Lizzie Deignan in 2013 and has grown year by year, adding talents like Ellen van Dijk, Evelyn Stevens, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and develop within riders such as Megan Guarnier and Amalie Dideriksen.
They became the world’s best team in 2016, eclipsing the previously dominant Rabo-Liv team, and brought in Van der Breggen in 2017. Since then, they have been the top-ranked UCI team every year except 2020, when Trek-Segafredo pushed them down a rung.
This season SD Worx has continued its two-pronged strategy of backing its star drivers, delivering Van der Breggen to 10 wins, Van den Broek-Blaak to four and Amy Pieters to two, with Demi Vollering becoming Van der Breggen’s successor. . in the Classics and Kata Blanka Vas demonstrating her developing talents on the road. They also gave chances to their loyal domestics, Christine Majerus winning two races at the start of the season and Lonneke Uneken winning stages in three races.
2022 will be a year of rebuilding as Van der Breggen moves on to the team car, and Jolien D’hoore and Karol-Ann Canuel also retire. They have retained their pillars and acquired two enormous talents in Olympic medalist Marlen Reusser and Belgian champion Lotte Kopecky and will seek to foster the development of their young riders Blanka Vas and Niamh Fisher-Black.
How did they behave in 2021?
The SD Worx team’s purple jerseys could be seen rushing towards victory from the first races of the year until the end of the season, racking up 33 wins from 11 different riders. Of course, Van der Breggen was the most prolific, ending his career with 10 of them, but the team had such devastating depth that they swept the podium at the Giro d’Italia Donne with Van der Breggen, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Vollering.
While wearing the rainbow bands, Van der Breggen won the overture at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and continued his record streak at La FlÃ¨che Wallonne. After announcing his intention to retire in May, Van der Breggen went on to win in Spain at the GP Ciudad de Eibar, Durango-Durango, and to win three classifications – GC, Mountain and Points – at the Vuelta a Burgos after having beat her rival Annemiek van Vleuten to win the last mountain stage. She then won the Dutch time trial title, then two stages and the general classification of the Giro d’Italia Donne, which would constitute the last victories of her career.
Although Van der Breggen had the most victories, the emergence of Vollering was apparent in the UCI ranking, where the young Dutchwoman was fourth and highest ranked in SD Worx. She won LiÃ¨ge-Bastogne-LiÃ¨ge, La Course by Le Tour and the Women’s Tour, and won numerous podiums – she was narrowly beaten by Marianne Vos in the Amstel Gold Race and was just behind her leader. team in Burgos and the Giro Donne.
Amy Pieters, who was recently seriously injured in a training accident, has had a solid year, winning the Dutch Championships, Nokere Koerse and a stage of the Women’s Tour.
Demi Vollering: With Van der Breggen stepping into the team car, Vollering will shift from his role of understudy and, with all the opportunities as a protected driver, will come under immense pressure. The Dutch champion proved to be a calm and assertive presence with the stamina to withstand the toughest races and a devastating sprint to finish them. At 26, she is entering the best years of her career, having learned from the best. Expect to see her sporting the team’s new hot pink colourway on the catwalks throughout the 2022 season.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio: With Van der Breggen now in the car, it will be up to Moolman-Pasio to deliver the GC threat of the team’s stage race. The South African is 37 years old but remains at the top of her game, having won the first UCI ESports title and the huge Monte Matajur stage of the Giro Donne. She will be the threat of the team’s general classification during the first Tour de France Women.
Marlen Reusser: The Swiss cyclist has taken a very different path to the top of the sport than most cyclists, but has entered professional cycling in the past two years. The 30-year-old was a part-time doctor before achieving success in the sport and quickly established himself as one of the best time trials, winning two silver medals at the World Championships and a second at the Olympic Games. With a powerful team behind it, expect Reusser’s talents to blossom in 2022.
Chantal van den Broek Blaak: The 32-year-old intends to retire at the end of 2022 and expects her to establish herself as Van der Breggen. After winning the Strade Bianche this season, the Tour of Flanders in 2020, the Amstel Gold Race in 2018 and the world title in 2017, Van den Broek-Blaak is one of the key players in SD’s multi-faceted strategy. Worx and not a runner can let you go up the road. When given the opportunity, she can deliver.
Monkfish Kopecky: The two-time Belgian champion will replace Jolien D’hoore, and unfortunately perhaps Pieters until she recovers from her injuries, as the main sprinter on SD Worx in 2022. She has racked up eight road wins in 2021 and will be the team of choice on the sprint days of the stage races and in the lesser one-day races.
SD Worx has always been a team with great depth and smart strategy, and expects that to continue in 2022, with Van der Breggen joining Danny Stam in the team car. With Reusser, Vollering and Van den Broek-Blaak for the attacks, Kopecky for the sprints and Moolman-Pasio for the mountains, they all have their bases covered.
They also have talented young riders ready to set off when given the chance, with Niamh Fisher-Black showing his overall ranking abilities by winning the best young rider at the Giro Donne, Burgos and Ladies Tour of Norway, and Blanka Vas winning silver at the U23 European Championships. They have built a very solid program and even with the loss of a legend like Van der Breggen they will continue to build on it.
SD Worx has few weaknesses; at Vollering they have a powerful runner and sprinter for a day who can challenge Marianne Vos. In Moolman-Pasio they have one of the best high mountain in the world, and with Van den Broek-Blaak they have a smart road captain and a dangerous striker. If they are missing something, with Pieters facing a possibly long recovery, they can be missing in the sprints.
They have lost their star driver, but SD Worx has built a solid foundation and, having recruited two very useful drivers in Reusser and Kopecky, they are looking to continue their trend of dominance in 2022. Expect Vollering to pick up the slack. challenge to fill Van der Breggen in the same discreet and sober way and for Vas to wear the team colors not only on the road but also in mountain biking and cyclo-cross.