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Mountain biker Sophie von Berswordt will join Team Jumbo-Visma Women as a road racer from 1 January. Von Berswordt's move brings the number of Jumbo-Visma riders to fourteen in 2024.
Von Berswordt, 27, raced her first mountain bike races at World Cup level in 2017. In 2018, she finished sixth in the Mountain Bike World Cup. In the following years, she participated in all European and world championships. However, she didn't participate in the Olympic Games. The athlete then decided to take a broader view. "I began to wonder what else there was to experience in cycling", Von Berswordt says. "So when I was given the opportunity to ride the occasional road race with the Watersley R&D Road Team, I grabbed it with both hands."
The Dutchwoman loves road racing. "I find the tactical aspect of cycling fascinating. Working together and riding for each other as teammates appeals to me. Mountain biking is much more of an individual sport. If you don't win, you haven't done well enough. Road cycling is different. I can have an excellent race without winning if I help one of my teammates."
"I expect to do my best in the more difficult spring classics"
Von Berswordt believes she can benefit from her background as a mountain biker. "Thanks to mountain biking, I have good bike control. That means I can hold my own in the peloton. It gives me confidence. But I know I still have a lot to learn. Riding in the professional peloton will definitely take some getting used to."
Team Jumbo-Visma Women's Technical Director Rutger Tijssen is giving his new rider time. "We will discover where Sophie's qualities lie and which areas need attention. This is a process where we can make quick steps. Sophie has shown on the mountain bike that she has talent, technical strength and stamina. This is a perfect basis."
"I expect to do my best in the more difficult spring classics", the newcomer concludes. "Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, but also Strade Bianche. I have to find out if this is really the case. In the short term, my main focus is to get stronger and gain experience. I want to have crystal clear goals by this time next year."
The arrival of Mijntje Geurts, Margaux Vigie and Lieke Nooijen at Team Jumbo-Visma was announced last month. The addition of Von Berswordt brings the number of riders in 2024 to fourteen. In the new year, Tijssen will be joined by performance coach Maarten van Kooij and race coaches Jan Boven and Jos van Emden.