Boels-Dolmans have been the dominant force in women's cycling, producing four of the last five world champions.
The team - who can name the likes of Lizzie Armitstead (Deignan) and Chantal Blaak amongst their alumni - announced in September that their sponsorship partnership was coming to an end during the off-season.
But this week it was confirmed that Belgian HR company SD Worx will be the named sponsor of the team going forward, ensuring that the biggest independent women's team will continue to operate for the next four seasons.
“This cooperation is a well-considered choice as women’s cycling is gaining an increasing amount of attention,” said SD Worx’s CEO Kobe Verdonck. “The team is made up of top sportswomen of different nationalities. The level is extremely high, with some of the members preparing to defend their Olympic titles in Tokyo this year. The team reflects the values of SD Worx.”
The fact that it took such a long time for the biggest team in the sport to attract a sponsor raised some eyebrows, with Eurosport presenter Orla Chennaoui saying:
Boels-Dolmans' search for a sponsor was an important litmus test for the sport. If the number one team in the world couldn’t attract investment it would have said a lot. A sigh of relief all round, and wonderful they remain a stand-alone women’s team.
And general manager Erwin Janssen believes that the continued presence of a women-only team in the sport is a major positive.
“We believe it’s important to maintain an independent women’s team at the highest level,” Janssen said. “We are one of the few top teams not linked to a male WorldTour group, which means we can focus entirely on the women’s team.”
Boels Rental and Dolmans Landscaping have sponsored the team for a highly successful six-year period, and lead sports director Danny Stam stressed in a statement that the risk of the team's closure was not the fault of the two previous sponsors.
“I’m happy our current sponsor Boels Rental and Dolmans Landscaping Group had the class to indicate early on that they would cease their sponsorship,” he said.
“That gave us the opportunity to find this fantastic new sponsor. SD Worx’s enthusiasm is unrivalled and is highly motivating for everyone in the team.
It’s a huge advantage to know that our future is secured up to the end of 2024. We can start building the team of the future and take the necessary steps forward.
The team return to racing next week in Valencia, having missed the Australian leg of the winter.