SD Worx confirm Anna van der Breggen's return to pro cycling in 2025: "Do I still want to be a winner? Of course"

NOS reported it this morning and Team SD Worx-Protime have now confirmed it. After three years of retirement and being part of women's cycling as a sports director, cycling legend Anna van der Breggen will once again race in the pro peloton from 2025 onwards.

"I am looking forward to pinning a jersey number on again. I also find my job as a team leader beautiful and challenging, but I realise that I can still do this job in ten years' time. If I want to return as a cyclist, it's now or never. I am looking forward to it immensely," van der Breggen said in a press release issued by the team. It is a massive shock to the cycling world, as the 34-year old rider makes a complete U-turn decision and will become a pro rider once again. She was part of the peloton from 2012 to 2021, retiring that year at 31. She conquered many victories including the Olympic Games, two World titles and seven consecutive Flèche Wallone titles. It has made her one of the greats of the sport.

Behind the wheel, with Team SD Worx - Protime, she also became one of the very best as she guided the likes of Lotte Kopecky, Demi Vollering and Lorena Wiebes - among others - to unmatchable amounts of success and victories over the past years. She herself was part of this very strong team block but three years ago, did not feel the motivation to keep cycling at the highest level. Now, that is no longer the case, and she pursues the goal of becoming competitive once again.

"The motivation is great to get back on the bike after three years. It's an exciting decision. If I didn't feel the motivation, I would never be able to do this. That was also the reason why I decided to stop in 2021 after the Tokyo Olympics," she explains. "I had been doing the same thing for years and felt I was tired. I was able to win a lot of competitions, but physically and mentally it also takes a lot out of you. After a three-year period where I looked at cycling from a different angle, I feel that the motivation and the will to cycle is completely back. I am excited to come back. To suffer on the bike again and to race with the team again. I realize now how much I love the game, the sport and the competition."

Demi Vollering is set to leave the team at the end of this season but both Kopecky and Wiebes have signed long-term contracts with the team. Alongside many other talented riders in the team, van der Breggen will continue to be part of a very strong block and, if in good form, could realistically ambition to return to her winning ways. But that will not be her priority.

"My mindset will be different. I will be less focused on wins in certain races or on having clear goals," she tells. "After this long break, I feel it is a privilege to be able to ride races and be a cyclist again. For me, it is no longer so much about ticking off races or victories, but more about enjoying the sport and the competition. In the next six months, I will train a lot and work on my fitness. I am curious to see what level I can get back to. Of course I aim to become a better cyclist than in my previous period. Whether that succeeds always remains the question."

It is a two-year contract where the former pro will be looking to see where her level stands, before deciding on whether to continue in the future or not. But one thing is certain, the hunger and motivation is in her: "Do I still want to be a winner? Of course I feel competition in me. I always want to win. However, that doesn't mean you always can win. That's fine too, because that only makes the victories you have more beautiful. When you have to struggle to get somewhere, it just makes the rewards later more beautiful. In any case, for me it is a privilege to be a cyclist again soon in 2025.

"Last winter, it became clear to us that Anna was becoming motivated to cycle races again," team manager Erwin Janssens added. "We immediately responded to this with great enthusiasm. A champion like Anna van der Breggen is only born once every so many years. She managed to win almost every major race for our team between 2017 and 2021 and has become one of the best cyclists of all time. Anna was one of the culture bearers of our team during those years, but also later as team leader, and helped shape the DNA of our team. With her commitment, she managed to take our team to the next level. We are confident that Anna will find the pleasure in cycling all over again and will also be of great value to our team as a cyclist again."

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