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D'hoore also could not attract Kopecky to AG Insurance-Soudal: “We were probably a year or two too early”

D'hoore also could not attract Kopecky to AG Insurance-Soudal: “We were probably a year or two too early”

The transformations at the top at AG Insurance-Soudal show that the Belgian women's cycling team is ambitious. She even tried to woo Lottie Kopecky. “Maybe the bar was too high,” admits sporting director Julien Dore at Vive le Vélo/Leve de Ronde.

Movement in all ranks of AG Insurance – Soudal. After years of loyal service, driving force Natascha den Ouden left her own project due to “an insurmountable difference in vision”.

AG Insurance will become the major shareholder as well as the main sponsor. “This is a positive story,” says Julien Dore, the team's sporting director. “We need that to take steps in the professionalism of the team.”

But what is this “difference in vision”? “Natasha was very focused on youth and talent development,” explains Dorr. “We should definitely maintain that. She has done pioneering work in this area.”

“But we must also expand our sporting goals. We can raise expectations. We want to score in all competitions, from spring to stage races.”

Demi Fullering? I think it's completely useless.

Julian Dore

Thus, the team enhances its sporting ambitions. He already proved that at the start of the season when he signed Lotte Kubicki.

“It was a dream to bring Lotti to a Belgian team,” Dore said. “It might have been a year or two early. Two years later it might have been a different story.”

“She also sent Lotte a message: ‘Don’t you like that…?’” However, Kopecky chose to commit her future to SD Worx-Protime until 2028.

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“We were not yet at the level of SD Worx at that time,” D'hoore admits. “An offer was made, but the bar was too high to bring in Lottie.”

Could the team be interested in teammate Demi Wohlring looking elsewhere? “I think it's unattainable. The amounts nowadays are very high… The salary is one thing, but there is much more to it in terms of guidance and materials.”