Women’s super-team Boels-Dolmans is set to continue after finding a new sponsor.
From the 2021 season onwards the team will be known as SD Worx, after signing a four-year deal with the Belgian company, which sees them come in as co-sponsor immediately, and sees them through and beyond the 2024 Olympics.
The future of the Dutch squad was in doubt after their title sponsors, Boels Rental and Dolmans Landscaping announced they were withdrawing last September.
The two companies have backed the team since 2013, when Boels joined Dolmans in their support of the then fledging women’s team. Boels’s have also sponsored a number of European races where their orange logo has become a familiar sight, however, both companies are set to withdraw from the sport entirely at the end of this year.
A Payroll and HR company based in Belgium, but with an international customer base, SD Worx consciously opted to support women’s cycling.
“This cooperation is a well-considered choice as women’s cycling is gaining an increasing amount of attention,” said SD Worx’s CEO Kobe Verdonck.
“The team is made up of top sportswomen of different nationalities. The level is extremely high, with some of the members preparing to defend their Olympic titles in Tokyo this year. The team reflects the values of SD Worx.”
When the search for sponsorship was announced at the World Championships last September, the team expressed their intention to expand, increasing their roster from its current 12 to 18 riders in coming years. However, with no figures known and all their current riders out of contract at the end of this season, this remains to be seen.
Uncertainty around the team’s future was also the reason Boels-Dolmans are not one of the eight UCI Women’s WorldTour teams which launched at the start of the year, though the new deal should allow them to move up for 2021.
With the likes of Trek-Segafredo and Mitchelton-Scott launching their own women’s squads in recent years, Boels-Dolmans will standout as an independent women’s team, something general manager Erwin Janssen believes gives them an advantage.
“We believe it’s important to maintain an independent women’s team at the highest level,” Janssen said. “We are one of the few top teams not linked to a male WorldTour group, which means we can focus entirely on the women’s team.”
Boels-Dolmans have been at the top of the sport for the past seven seasons. They won the last two Women’s Road World Cups with Lizzie Deignan, have topped the team standings of its replacement, the Women’s WorldTour since 2016, and won the individual classification twice.
As well as producing four of the last five world champions, current Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen also rides for the team. They have three Giro Rosa titles to their credit, a host of other big race successes, and were world team time trial champions in 2016.
“I’m happy our current sponsor Boels Rental and Dolmans Landscaping Group had the class to indicate early on that they would cease their sponsorship,” said Danny Stam, the lead sports director whose management and tactical nouse has been responsible for much of the success.
“That gave us the opportunity to find this fantastic new sponsor. SD Worx’s enthusiasm is unrivalled and is highly motivating for everyone in the team. It’s a huge advantage to know that our future is secured up to the end of 2024. We can start building the team of the future and take the necessary steps forward.”
Having missed the Australian season, Boels-Dolmans start their race programme next week at the four day Setmana Ciclista Vuelta Comindad Valenciana Feminas.