Tom Dumoulin’s trainer is the latest Sunweb staff member to step away from the team after the star rider announced his move to Jumbo-Visma.
The departure of Dumoulin from the German WorldTour team has been followed by a string of backroom staff also leaving the squad, as the team face the daunting task of re-building around a new leader.
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Top trainer Hendrik Werner, who worked with Dumoulin and other Sunweb riders since joining the team in 2016, is heading for Bora-Hansgrohe according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, while other staff are following Dumoulin to Jumbo-Visma.
In August, Dutch team Jumbo quietly announced they had signed Dumoulin, who leaves Sunweb two years before the end of his contract.
Dumoulin will join Jumbo-Visma after an eight-year spell with his old team, saying he wanted to ride in a new environment to “refresh.”
The transfer came after a blighted season for the 28-year-old, which included a long-standing injury suffered at the Giro d’Italia and a dispute with team management over his recovery.
Other big-name departures from Sunweb include sports director Aike Visbeek, who was key to Tom Dumoulin’s Giro d’Italia victory in 2017 and who left because of a disagreement within the team, according to reports in Dutch media.
Earlier this month, Jumbo-Visma announced that coach Arthur van Dongen would be making the move from Sunweb next season, but the team added that the arrival was not connected to the signing of Tom Dumoulin.
Other staff leaving Sunweb this year, according to De Telegraaf, include the chief mechanic Berteld Dekker, scientist Teun van Erp, chiropractor Maarten Tielen who leaves for Jumbo-Visma, as well as staff from logistics, commerce and material innovations.
While losing Dumoulin and 23-year-old Lennard Kämna, who was outstanding in the 2019 Tour de France, Sunweb has also made a number of notable signings, including Tiesj Benoot from Lotto-Soudal, Nils Eekhoff (who crossed the line first in the under-23 World Championship road race before he was disqualified) and Brit Mark Donovan from Wiggins-Le Col.
The team does still boast emerging talents Robert Power, Sam Oomen, Michael Storer and Cees Bol, but it is likely Sunweb will look to Dutchman Wilco Kelderman for success in Grand Tours after his fourth place finish in the 2017 Vuelta a España and seventh overall in the 2014 Giro.