"I'm strong enough to beat her"- Demi Vollering confident for the next season races with her rival Annemiek Van Vleuten

Demi Vollering, established herself last season has one of the best riders in the women's peloton, specially when it comes to climbs. The 26 years old Dutchwoman from SD Worx, one of the strongest if not the strongest team in the women's peloton, clearly became the successor of Anna Van den Breggen. She was the team captain and the most UCI punctuated team rider of 2022 season, scoring 4 stage wins, Itzulia Women general classification and Brabantse Pijl. Very regular throw out the season, finishing 2nd in Tour de France Femmes and 3rd in La Vuelta Feminina.

“I'm developing a lot, and I feel like I'm getting stronger and stronger every year. I feel like I'm getting better tactically, and that I understand racing more every year. In this team I learn from the best, from Anna, from Chantal, from Danny and Lars, it's really helpful to be in such a great team with so much knowledge."

"What I need to work on is how to race. I need to be smart and think, not too much, but I have to race more on feeling, this is the right moment. It has to be something in you. I also want to work on my engine, and that's only something you get through training hours. That's also something I can still grow in. I can invest a lot in my sprint, in uphill, there are so many parts I can still grow in, to make me a complete rider”, said Vollering speaking at the team presentation, satisfied by her last season but also pointing things to improve.

Vollering faced strong competition by the likes of Marta Cavalli and Elisa Longo Borghini. Still her biggest rival was clearly Annemiek Van Vleuten, the fellow countrywoman and new Women's Road Cycling World Champion, did better than Vollering specially at the biggest climbs, where she had no match and Vollering knows that. But at the same time, Vollering feels confident that she can improve and that the age factor (Vleuten 40 years old and Vollering 26 years old), will take a part in their confrontations.

“Sometimes it goes into my head, like, do I need to train as much as she does. But I'm so much younger, and I'm quite new in cycling also. If I start to train as much as her, I've skipped a few years. That's my strength, that I can be really good with less training hours, because my body needs less. She needs to train so much more, because she's older, and she has so many years of racing already. I really believe it's possible to beat her, but I try more to focus on my own race, and get everything out of myself, and then I hope I'm strong enough to beat her”, stated Vollering about her biggest rival.

“This year I was very early on my bike, we went to a training camp in California in November, and after that, I stayed a bit on my road bike, training again. Normally, I only really start in December. So this year I was way earlier than normal, but I feel good with it, and I'm really motivated. It's not hard for me to sit on the bike for a lot of time. If I look at my own training, I know I grow so much every year, and at the Tour de France I set new records, because I was my best self there."

"I really believe that I am good, and also I'm getting better, and I'm getting better faster than she does at the moment. If I do a little more every year, then it's good every year. I need to pay attention that I don't train too much, as I don't want to go over my limit. You always stretch for the edges, so you're trying to go any deep and hard as possible, but you've got to make sure not to go over the limit”, commented Vollering about her trains and her development potential.

Despite being only 26 years old and still having a lot of seasons to go has a professional at high level, Vollering is already starting to have a captain role on the SD Worx team. Specially since the retirement of Anna Van den Breggen, former SD Worx teammate that achieved a legendary status in the women's cycling. That change of roles and new spotlight sure took some importance in the last season, but Vollering seemed to deal with that very well, having no problems in assuming the space that Van den Breggen left empty.

“Last year was different for me, because the year before I had Anna [van der Breggen] in the team. Everyone looked at Anna, and now it's already different, because they start to look at me now. I think I managed to deal with it pretty well, but for this coming season I know how to deal with it, it's not new anymore, so that's really nice to think about. Now I won't lose any energy through that."

"I don't feel new, but because it's only my third year here, I can still improve so many things. I'm still learning, and that's good. Furthermore, I'm already at an excellent level, but there's still a huge gap, so many things to improve. Every year you get older and wiser, I hope at least, which makes a big difference. Last year I was doubting a bit maybe, and I already feel a lot more secure in the team”, said Vollering about his confidence and experience.

For the 2023 season, Vollering is set to make her start in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, a race that she finished 2nd last year at the end of February. After that she is scheduled to ride the Ardennes Classics, some stage races in Spain, Tour de France Femmes and the World Championships.

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