Celebrating 15 National Titles

While the team are busy racing the Giro Donne, AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step manager Natascha den Ouden takes a moment to look at back at the incredibly successful run of national championships, which ended with the junior championships in Spain this weekend. The team celebrated a triple title by Ally Wollaston back in February and concluded with one last medal added to the total by Laia Bosch in Spain.

Natascha is thrilled with the success. “The past week especially, I was constantly following social media to see how the riders did in, for example, Spain, Estonia, Canada, Italy or the Czech Republic. I also visited the championships in the Netherlands and Belgium. I saw strong teams really taking on the race. The riders never just waited. On the contrary, they attacked constantly. It’s the kind of racing I like to see. You don’t learn anything from being at the back. You learn from being at the front and the mistakes you also make.

At the basis of our development pyramid in the U19 team, we had many champions and it shows how strong our junior riders are. At the Belgian road championships, our four juniors really controlled the race from the front. They didn’t win, but that’s okay. They learned how to race as a team.

We did the same in the combined elite and U23 championships in Belgium, where we had a really big team. The same for the Netherlands, where Ilse Pluimers and Maud Rijnbeek, riders coming through our own development structure from juniors to U23 to elite, really had a breakthrough week. Maud won the U23 time trial title with Ilse in second. The entire team were really in the races, actively taking part.

Across the championships we saw riders shine. It’s so wonderful as founder and manager of this team to actually see the riders grow almost week by week. They make mistakes, there are disappointments, but these past weeks they showed their mental strength as well. Their self-confidence and perseverance are what got them here. As AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step we support them with top equipment and very motivated and experienced staff but these 37 riders all do the work themselves every day again. I am proud of all of them, whether they won a medal or not.”

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