Sunday’s Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift opening stage win confirmed Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) as the undisputed sprint queen of the women’s peloton. The 24-year-old's Champs Élysées victory was her 16th of the year, and she has beaten all comers, with her team providing her the best drilled lead-out in the peloton.
But according to rumours published by Dutch website AD.nl, she will leave the team for SD Worx when the season is over. This, despite being under contract with DSM until the end of the 2024 season. According to the AD article, her current contract includes a clause which allows her to leave if she Is given a significantly better offer. The SD Worx offer, it appears, was simply too lucrative to decline.
Though no numbers were published, the article alleges Wiebes is set to become the best paid rider in the peloton.
It would not be the first time the Dutchwoman has left a team before her contract has expired. After her breakout 2019 season, Parkhotel Valkenburg secured her services until the end of 2021, but after a legal wrangle, they released the sprint star to DSM halfway through 2020.
In just a few years, Wiebes has developed into the women’s peloton's most potent sprinter. Just look at her performance at RideLondon Classique, where she won all three stages in dominant fashion. Her Champs Élysées victory only confirmed her status as the world’s fastest finisher.
Her secret, it seems, is increased strength training.
“Through the whole season I did some strength training and I think that's improved my sprint pretty good,” Wiebes told reporters in her post-race press conference. “And every ride I'm motivated to get the highest watts possible.”
Pretty good indeed. According to her Strava entry for Sunday’s Paris win, her maximum power hit 1211 watts in her winning sprint.
Not bad for a rider who weighs only 60kg. And it’s no fluke either, scoring similar figures to win four stages at the Baloise Ladies Tour earlier this month.
Indeed, according to Strava, to win the fourth stage there she hit 1267 watts.
Whatever Wiebes says there is more to it than pure power. Despite a mix-up in the pitch darkness of the tunnel leading into the last kilometres of the Paris circuit, Wiebes was still perfectly positioned by her DSM team for Sunday's finale.
“The lead out was chaos, but I stayed on Pfeiffer Georgi’s wheel and Charlotte Kool was still behind me,” she explained. “Our plan was to swap positions after the tunnel, but there was so much chaos that I just stayed on Pfeiffer's wheel and she put me in a perfect position.”
DSM were nowhere to be seen as the race entered it's final kilometre, but when they swung right onto the Champs Élysées for the final sprint, there they were there. Once placed in just the right position by her teammate and former British road champion Georgi, Wiebes used her knowledge of her rivals to the best advantage.
“Marianne started her sprint really early but I expected it and I had another gear and accelerated one more time to the finish line.”
Wiebes had been dreaming of victory and taking the yellow jersey since the route was revealed last October, and such was her winning form all year she began the day as odds-on favourite and the pressure was on for her to perform.
“I was fine with the pressure because I put the most pressure on myself when I knew the parcours,” she continued. “I was quite relaxed before to start, we did everything as normal but I started to become a bit more nervous towards the final.
“It was a really special moment that my family was here, I didn't know that they would come so close and they were able to to get there.”
Monday’s second flat stage between Meaux and Provins gives the Wiebes a second stage winning opportunity and the chance to extend her lead in both the general and points classifications.
“The stage win is really important, but after that the GC is important for Juliette [Labous], so if it's not taking too much energy we will go also for green, but we will not put crazy amounts of energy in it.”
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