From YouTube to WorldTour races: TDT-Unibet set for ProTeam status for 2024

Bas Tietema’s TDT-Unibet squad could potentially receive invites to WorldTour races after 2023 success

TDT-Unibet at the start of stage eight of the Tour of Britain
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The hugely popular Tour de Tietema-Unibet squad is set to receive a ProTeam licence for the 2024 season meaning that the Dutch team could receive invites to some of the biggest WorldTour races on the calendar.

Racing as a Continental outfit this year, TDT-Unibet lit up a variety of races with full gas, attacking racing including the Tour of Britain.

The team did not win any of the race’s eight stages but they won the hearts of the UK cycling public with their aggressive displays often orchestrated by former Ribble Weldtite rider Harry Tanfield.

It was announced in July that TDT had applied to the UCI for a ProTeam licence for next year.

On Thursday TDT was included in a list released by the UCI containing the names of all of the teams that had submitted essential documents to be awarded ProTeam status ahead of the new season.

With a ProTeam licence the team could potentially receive invites to races like the Tour of Flanders and even the Tour de France, although it might be unlikely. This is a huge step considering that Tietema’s project originally started as a YouTube channel.

Speaking to the press, team founder and former Dutch pro Bas Tietema said that he felt the project was finally getting the wider recognition it deserves after taking a less than traditional route into the sport.

"In the past, a cycling team started with a project or sponsor from which a team emerged and with sporting success the fans, media attention and then more companies and sponsors followed,” he said.

“We have reversed that flywheel: we started as a media company with videos on YouTube and our social media. That attracted sponsors regardless of sporting success and from which a professional team has now emerged.”

“In essence we remain a media company,” he added. "Ten of our 40 staff are cameramen, social content creators, marketers, translators for the videos and other productions... This is where we remain different from most teams.

"We mainly want to tell stories that appeal to sports fans in general and less to the niche cycling fan. It essentially revolves around us, three boys [Tietema, Josse Wester and Devin van der Wiel] who dream of one day riding the Tour de France with their own team.” 

Zeb Kyffin joins on two-year deal from Saint Piran

Zeb Kyffin

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Tietema explained that with his squads ProTeam status all but confirmed they now needed to look for fresh recruits in order to cement their new status next year.

On Friday afternoon the team announced on social media that they had completed the signing of British rider Zeb Kyffin from Saint Piran on a two-year deal.

Kyffin was the standout British rider at the Tour of Britain and finished sixth overall ahead of the likes of Bora-Hansgrohe’s Nils Politt and Carlos Rodríguez of Ineos Grenadiers.

“We want to reach a certain level and for that we are missing riders,” Tietema added. We need to strengthen what we are not good at, so we've chosen to contract riders who have qualities that we are currently lacking. That means you also end up with other types that cannot be found in our country.”

Saint Piran general manager Ricci Pascoe said that Kyffin’s transfer, along with the recent announcement that Jack Rootkin-Gray will make his WorldTour debut in 2024, was proof that “the flame still burns brightly” within the Cornwall-based team and the UK cycling community.

“Zeb has been an incredible asset both as a rider and as a human being," Pascoe said. "He has brought so much to the Saint Piran set up that we could not be prouder of his move to TDT-Unibet. A fantastic person moving to a great team.”

Tietema added that whilst he was yet to discover which races his team would receive invites to next year they already had one eye on the opening weekend in Belgium. 

“Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the first WorldTour race. That suits us well and that is where we hope to be at the start. I have no influence on it, but we hope to ride a number of WorldTour races.”

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