With the UCI Women’s World Tour now at an end, riders taking their end of season breaks and teams getting ready for a new season, Team SD Worx last week took time to reflect on another successful season.
The team defended its number one position in the UCI rankings and for the sixth time in seven years, the team also managed to win the WorldTour classification. This achievement was built on a record of 20 victories, including 11 wins at WorldTour level.
Sports manager Danny Stam therefore looks back on the 2022 season with satisfaction.
You end the season with 20 wins. Does that inspire satisfaction?
Danny Stam: “We started the season very strongly. So the classic spring went well with nice victories in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Lotte Kopecky), Strade Bianche (Lotte Kopecky)and Brabantse Pijl (Demi Vollering), among others. That spring created a lot of expectations. In Spain we still raced well, but then we had a down period. In the Tour de France Femmes we were good again. Then we performed below par in Norway, Sweden and in the Simac Ladies Tour and ended the season in Romandy well. That also shows the resilience within the group.”
Team SD Worx remains the best women’s team in the UCI rankings. Is that important?
Danny Stam: “Yes indeed. This is something we can be proud of. We had another good season and several nice wins. It’s not just those 20 wins, but also 47 podium finishes. Women’s cycling has been developing in recent years. The calendar is getting fuller and the level is higher and higher. There are more teams with strong performances across the board. It gives me a good feeling when I see how often we can still make a mark on a race. Of course, you also have a few down periods. If you are a few percent less, you will be immediately beaten. Only when everything is right you compete for wins. However, it would also not be good if you win everything all year.”
To win the WorldTour for teams no less than six times in seven years can also be called an achievement.
Danny Stam: “I am definitely proud of that. It shows that for years we have managed to be the best team in the most important race series. To prove it again and again is a huge challenge. Especially when you see in recent years that the competition is getting bigger and bigger. Many WorldTour teams have joined, setting up a women’s team in addition to a men’s team. They all build a team around two to three top female riders. Nowadays, you see that even in women’s cycling the talents are committed much earlier. To then win the WorldTour for so many years in a different composition, I think is a great achievement.”
The big change in women’s cycling this year was the arrival of the Tour de France Femmes. Did the appeal of that race surprise you?
Danny Stam: “The Tour de France Femmes is a gamechanger for women’s cycling. This is next-level. Organiser Amaury Sport Organisation is not the fastest to introduce women’s cycling, but when they go for it, something is immediately in place. We saw that last year with Paris-Roubaix and now certainly with the Tour de France Femmes. It is abundantly clear that this stage race will be a very important moment in the season. A peak moment that we will be living towards. Of course the spring with the Monuments retains its value, but the importance of the Tour de France Femmes is already very high after just one edition.”
With Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s final victory in the Tour de Romandie, did you finish the season well?
Danny Stam: “It’s always nice when you manage to win the first and last WorldTour race of the season. It was a long and tough season, where you notice at the end of the year that the increasingly full calendar takes its toll. We started with a limited group in Romandie. I noticed it was difficult to keep everyone motivated. We had illnesses and injuries. Some had already finished the season, while others were doing cyclocross or riding on the track. Then it is great that we still had the right irons in Switzerland and still managed to win. A nice way to end the year.”