Uijtdebroeks already spoke with Plugge several years ago, but then it became nothing: 'I have no regrets' Cycling

Uijtdebroeks already spoke with Plugge several years ago, but then it became nothing: 'I have no regrets'

Uijtdebroeks already spoke with Plugge several years ago, but then it became nothing: 'I have no regrets'

At barely 20 years old, Cian Uijtdebroeks has probably already experienced one of the most perilous moments of his hopefully still long career. The Belgian suddenly became the protagonist in mid-December in a transfer soap, which concluded Thursday afternoon after the team presentation of his new team Visma | Lease a Bike. Facing a select group of journalists, including IDLProductions, Uijtdebroeks did his version of the story.

From the moment Jumbo-Visma (as the team is still officially called until January 1) announced Uijtdebroeks' arrival, the young Belgian found himself in the eye of the storm. The German formation BORA-hansgrohe, for which he competed last year, needed only an hour and a half to invalidate the legal validity of the commitment to Richard Plugge's team. That lingering issue persisted until Thursday afternoon, just after Uijtdebroeks was presented at Visma | Lease a Bike.

'That evening was overwhelming, because BORA-hansgrohe also knew that I had terminated my contract,' Uijtdebroeks said in a side room at MOVE Amsterdam. 'That was very clear, you didn't have to be lame for that. There are always games being played, so to speak,' he understandably withheld power terms.

Uijtdebroeks wants the best for all parties and thus does not show the back of his tongue

All's well that ends well for the top talent, but how did it get this far in the first place? Nota bene BORA-hansgrohe, which nevertheless recently plucked Primoz Roglic away from Jumbo-Visma. There were many stories circulating, but the core of Uijtdebroeks' story is that he does not want to give away everything and mainly wants to look to the future. That opinion was also shared by Ralph Denk. 'I stand behind my team. When false stories circulate, one crosses a line. And for the record, those noises did not come from Cian,' he said of the 'bullying stories' in relation to Uijtdebroeks, among others.

Read more below the photo.

cian uijtdebroeks jonas vingegaard

Indeed, Uijtdebroeks confessed to entering the little room with journalists with healthy excitement after all. 'You're just doing your job too, but still. What exactly was going on? A lot of things happened, but I don't want to go into detail. It's best for everyone and out of respect for everyone. The wisest thing to do is not to go into it too fiercely and leave the past behind.'

What was clear to the climber was that there was a valid reason to end the commitment with Denk's team. 'The last few months were not so nice, so it was a bit of a look at what would be best for me. At the end of November I looked at the possibilities, then on December 1 we decided to terminate the contract,' said the man who has already criticized the Germans' methods in the Vuelta and Chrono des Nations.

Uijtdebroeks tried to forget hubbub with new teammates around him

From the uproar that had already arisen by now, Uijtdebroeks was nonetheless shocked. 'There was a lot to do. I tried to keep myself out of it, so it was good that I was at training camp. Then you're with the group anyway, so I didn't try to read it all and mostly looked to the future.' That didn't always go wholeheartedly, but the boy with the smile tried to stay mostly close to himself. ''It always plays out, I'm not going to deny that. We have a positive story emerging and I have great goals for 2024 in a good team, so I'm very happy about that.''

Read more below the photo.

uijtdebroeks jumbo

And so he stood shining with that team, Visma | Lease a Bike that is, in Amsterdam. With healthy tension. 'You get a storm that scares you too,but in the end I just wanted to be there with the group and we decided to be there. I hadn't planned for that storm, I just chose what would be best for my future. I hadn't planned that soap opera.

Similar sentiment among manager Richard Plugge. ''We didn't have to protect him. Cian just joined us at training camp. We didn't have to keep him out of harm's way either, because he's just part of the team next year and will be available to you just like everyone else,' echoed the boss of Visma | Lease a Bike.

Plugge and Uijtdebroeks spoke to each other several years ago

Uijtdebroeks logically wanted to look forward primarily, so there was also talk about his ambition with his new team. 'The philosophy to get better is completely here and that's also how I am,so it matches perfectly. I've only been with the team for a week, but everything was measured and you feel a drive. I'm sitting here with 27 other Cians along me,' he says with a mouth now curling from ear to ear again.

That urge to get the most out of it has always been there for Uijtdebroeks, who doesn't have to complain about internal motivation. 'I am someone who wants to get everything out of it. I'm certainly demanding of myself, but of others? As a sportsman-or a team-you want to get the maximum out of it. It's easy to do it halfway and then get paid, but I have the mentality to get the most out of it as an athlete. To do that you have to weigh your nutrition, finish your workouts and rest...that's just the discipline an athlete has. I don't see that as demanding," he refuted the claims that were also circulating here and there from the camp of his former team. 'What other people say ... actually I'm someone who is very easygoing, because I give a lot of feedback. That's positive for the team. If I get better, the team also gets better,' said the Belgian.

Head of Performance Mathieu Heijboer also sees possible areas for improvement, such as time trial. 'I know approximately what he can pedal and then I do think he should be able to pedal a lot harder than he does now. That also takes time, because it is not solved immediately with a better position,' Heijboer says. 'It's also about him building consistency in that and training on it every week. He has to become one with that position and learn to power through those difficult corners. He can certainly do better, much better than he has done so far, but we shouldn't expect it to be solved with one aero test. That takes real time. That's fun work, I feel like it," the corners of his mouth curl at the Visma man.

Read more below the photo.


Uijtdebroeks is currently lined up for O Gran Camino, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Catalonia. 'It would be nice if I can still improve a lot. I go to the Giro with the idea of winning many stages with the team, but on the other hand I want to go to the Giro with the idea of finishing as high as possible. Is that ninth or fourth, it doesn't matter. We have to go out there and get better step by step, I'm still only twenty years old. It's a matter of trying a lot and making those mistakes, so that in three or four years we won't make them again.

Just before Uijtdebroeks arrived, Plugge mentioned that he had already spoken with Uijtdebroeks when he was a junior. The Belgian remembers this well, but also explained why his choice then did not fall on Plugge and co. 'At that time I was already talking to Richard. I was a first year junior and I had a good feeling about the team, but at BORA they also had a junior team and I knew the step from junior to pro would not be easy. If I had been a junior for a year, it would be easier. I don't regret it, because you can't say I rode badly. It would have been an easier path, but so every career has its twists and turns and ups and downs. And now I'm here," it sounds full of grinta and eagerness to prove.

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments

More Cycling News