Lorena Wiebes: ‘I have to prove that I’m again the best sprinter’

The Dutchwoman is ready for three big sprint battles at the UAE Tour

Lorena Wiebes in European champion jersey looking skywards
(Image credit: Getty)

Lorena Wiebes might no longer be the best sprinter in the world. At least, not according to her anyway. 

On the eve of her SD Worx debut at the UAE Tour Women, the European champion took part in a press conference at the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club, where she was introduced as “without doubt” the fastest sprinter on the planet. 

For Wiebes, though, things aren't so certain. 

“When I start a race and it can be a sprint, I always want to win,” she told Cycling Weekly after the panel. “It’s a new season, my winter was good, but you never know how the winters of other riders were. And you don’t know if other riders got faster.

“I have to prove that I’m again the best sprinter.”

The 23-year-old is likely to have three opportunities to show her dominance in the UAE, with all but one of the four stages expected to finish in a bunch sprint. To help her to the line, Wiebes will rely on the services of her new lead-out woman, Barbara Guarischi, who was brought in specially to commandeer her team's sprint train. 

“We did lead-out training on training camp, and it felt good,” Wiebes said. “The good thing about [having] three stages that can be a sprint is that you can change things in the lead-out, and that will be important for the spring classics.” 

One rider Wiebes will have to be wary of this week is Charlotte Kool, her compatriot and former understudy during her time at Team DSM. 

Asked who else she thinks might rival her in the sprints, the Dutchwoman highlighted there are "a lot of teams with fast riders", before identifying UAE Team ADQ duo Marta Bastianelli and Chiara Consonni, as well as Movistar's Emma Norsgaard. 

Still, having claimed a remarkable 23 victories in 2022, Wiebes remains the big favourite to take the race lead on Thursday's opening stage in Dubai. Some might say the wide, marble-smooth roads are primed for her, but despite last year's form, the SD Worx rider isn't taking anything for granted.

“It’s a new season, everyone is starting from zero," she said, before adding, somewhat ominously: "We will see who's the best tomorrow." 

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.