The women of Visma | Lease a Bike are on a good streak: "Actually, the entire team has been dismantled" Cycling

The women of Visma | Lease a Bike are on a good streak: "Actually, the entire team has been dismantled"

The women of Visma | Lease a Bike are on a good streak: "Actually, the entire team has been dismantled"

The women's WorldTour cycling season has so far featured two one-day races, both resulting in victories for Visma | Lease a Bike: 19-year-old Rosita Reijnhout secured victory in the Australian Deakin University Elite Women's Road Race, while Marianne Vos claimed an impressive win in the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. This was particularly satisfying for sports director Jan Boven, who reflected on the events with

Vos emerged victorious after a thrilling final against Lotte Kopecky. It was a significant achievement for the Visma | Lease a Bike rider, especially considering the groin artery surgery she underwent last year, making her Omloop Het Nieuwsblad debut. She had previously skipped the race due to her involvement in a rest period following an extensive cyclocross season.

Was Boven surprised by Vos' performance? "That's quite a difficult question, I'll be honest," remarked the former rider. "Let's put it this way: we were aiming for the podium, so winning was a pleasant surprise. We had an inkling in Valencia. On the first day, we observed her uphill reaction, and it was notably different from last year. However, we still need to wait and see."

Vos delivered an outstanding performance in her first major event of the season. How did Visma | Lease a Bike accomplish this? "Marianne completed a superb training block, and the plan was to incorporate some technical sessions, but she contracted COVID-19 in December following our training camp," explained Boven. "That was when we decided to fully commit and establish a solid foundation. Now, it's paying off. She could have won in Valencia already, but the confidence was there."

"To then defeat the best team in the world here, especially when they were three strong... she executed it brilliantly, making instinctive decisions and playing the game," Boven praised the clever racing tactics of the seasoned rider from Brabant. "We know Marianne excels at that, but her efforts on the Muur and Bosberg were particularly exceptional to me."

marianne vos

Positivity prevails in 2024 with the women of Visma | Lease a Bike

So, is it a boost for the entire team after a relatively negative spell in the women's division of Visma | Lease a Bike? "Due to what happened, we had a challenging year, but if you look at the results and consider that Marianne has been injured all year... then the other girls have actually performed very well," retorts Boven. "This has been overshadowed because we won major races with Marianne in the preceding years, but I believe that's somewhat unfair."

Still, according to Jos van Emden, who joined as a fellow team leader this year, things were not quite right in 2023. Boven doesn't directly refute this, though understandably, he prefers to focus on the positives of 2024. "For me, it was also the first time I followed a race at this level in the car," laughs Boven, who also elaborates on the changes. "Jos has joined us as a former race director, and I, as a very seasoned former race director, have also joined, but in other areas, new personnel have been added and existing staff members replaced.

"In essence, the entire team has been revamped," continues the father of Alpecin-Deceuninck pro Lars. "Since I've only joined now, I can't speak about last year. But I can say that we now have a very cohesive group, where everyone has a positive attitude and helps elevate each other. Of course, there's still a considerable difference in class, but every women's team experiences that. It's like having junior ladies competing alongside Olympic champions, but there's also a lot in between."

It's precisely within this selection that the sports director believes they can still make an impact. "Now the goal is to improve the middle group so they can take a step forward. We're trying to make Marianne aware of that, that she can also be of great value in that regard. However, winning is the most important thing," Boven concludes, bringing it back to the essence: winning major races like the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad—nothing beats that.

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