Team DSM thread

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I think only people from Belgium find Dutch people arrogant. And that is because Dutch people are just better at almost anything. Except cycling maybe, so could the wrong forum to make this statement.
The Dutch aren't really arrogant, they just suffer from a sort of Tourette's syndrome, that has them blabber compulsively out loud about their most inner desires they realize will never manifest. A sort of defense mechanism. "We're gonna win the world cup!" And then they go home and cry themselves asleep.

Seriously though, it's simply the way Dutch communicate, much more direct. I think outside of Flanders people don't pick it up that easily because they don't speak speak Dutch natively which we do in Flanders. It does come across as arrogant often, but it's usually simply a cultural difference in communication.
 
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Sporza has a very interesting article on the team where multiple (former) riders of DSM give their view on the protocols of DSM. It includes the opinion of multiple anonymous riders but also the opinion of Waeytens, Vervaeke and De Backer.

The conclusion that I draw from that article is that most riders think that the expertise within DSM is quite good on many subjects. They also like to have the protocols to a certain extend. However DSM has been exaggerating a lot in recent years on too many levels. The expected discipline with regard to clothing, materials and nutrition are way too much and it takes ages for riders to get something changed because of the very strict protocol. And apparatently riders are also not allowed to consult medical expertise outside of the DSM contracted employees.

So all in all very understandable that there are so many riders who do not fit into this team. For me it is also very strange that this is a Dutch team. Because besides being arrogant I also think the Dutch have a very egalitarian culture where the freedom to influence the things that surround you is held in a very high regard.
 
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So all in all very understandable that there are so many riders who do not fit into this team. For me it is also very strange that this is a Dutch team. Because besides being arrogant I also think the Dutch have a very egalitarian culture where the freedom to influence the things that surround you is held in a very high regard.
Team DSM is egalitarian, in the way that also mecanics have their field of expertise, just like team doctors, the bike fitter, etcetera. It's not like riders are gods and the rest of the team can be treated like their slaves.
 
Team DSM is egalitarian, in the way that also mecanics have their field of expertise, just like team doctors, the bike fitter, etcetera. It's not like riders are gods and the rest of the team can be treated like their slaves.
Is that really egalitarian to have them have absolute authority and for the rider to have very little or no say?

To quote on of my favourites: "In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker, but I do not allow the bootmaker to impose their authority upon me"
 
Team DSM is egalitarian, in the way that also mecanics have their field of expertise, just like team doctors, the bike fitter, etcetera. It's not like riders are gods and the rest of the team can be treated like their slaves.
Are you implying that at other teams the riders are gods and treat the mechanics like slaves?

I think there is a difference between respecting the people you work with, listening to their expertise and deciding about some things together and having almost no say in matters affecting your own performance, personal life and most of all your own body very much.

I know I'm always coming back to this and repeating the same stuff, but I want to phrase it again: Some things are about their own bodies, like the height of your saddle, your training volume, your nutrition. Surely a rider needs to listen to the experts who have scientific knowledge about this.
But in the end they should at least sometimes/ in parts be very able to express their opinion and even decide on their own, make an informed decision, in my opinion, because most of these things have been scientifically examined, there are studies and so on - but let's take for instance nutrition: There are so many different opinions about this, what is actually most helpful, should you do this or that. How can anyone expect a rider to blindly follow an expert in such a matter, affecting his body and health? The rider should be educated, helped, supported to follow a certain regime, but if he decides "this isn't working for me, I don't feel well with this, and there are actually other opinions of other experts out there on this matter", he should, I think, be allowed to do this (of course not if it's just laziness, but let's be fair, most pro riders are super driven, ambitious and willing to suffer, I'm sure the majority will not take the easy way at the expense of success).

If you have a complicated health problem, an unclear injury, and if you went to several doctors they would tell you different diognoses or what you should do about this (for instance operation or conservative treatment or things like that), I think it would be fair to say as a doctor "okay, this is my opinion based on my knowledge, now make an informed decision". If you then decided to follow the advice of a doctor you usually don't go to because he has the same good reputation and his way just sounds more convincing to you - would that be disrespectful towards your regular doctor? (or even "treating him like a slave?)
 
Is that really egalitarian to have them have absolute authority and for the rider to have very little or no say?

To quote on of my favourites: "In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker, but I do not allow the bootmaker to impose their authority upon me"
I did not say "authority". I did not say that riders should have no say in other fields of expertise. I agree with you and BlueRoads about how it should work. That also means that if you disagree with something, you discuss it within the team and do not bypass the experts. Team DSM looks very strict/rigid from the outside and certainly do not approve a lot of what I've read, but to me it looks egalitarian. Of course, in the end the boss decides, because that's his job and responsability. That should not mean he doesn't listen to the others; he should take their opinions into consideration.
 
Of course, in the end the boss decides, because that's his job and responsability.
Isn't that what authority is? And isn't the problem as BlueRoads and others have described that DSM have been seemingly unwilling to account for any riders personal needs or preferences at all?

To use another example, let's say you arrive at your place of work on Monday morning and your boss has taken a course and seen that people who use standing desks are more productive than those who use seated desks, so there are now only standing desks across the whole workplace. You decide to go along with it to begin with, but by Friday you find that it's making your hip ache quite badly and that's affecting your work. You decide to ask your boss if you can go back to a seated desk, and they say that they take your opinion that the standing desk is causing you pain and making you work less effectively into consideration, but they want to keep you at the standing desk for at least another three months to be exactly sure that it doesn't work for you. Would this be egalitarian?
 
Yeah, i'm still struggling to find the best analogy for the team. I've compared it to a cult, to a catholic boarding school from the 1950s, but it definitely has something of a communist touch as well.

EDIT: just read the article's headline: "Soviet regime"... well ok.
 
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Isn't that what authority is?
At the very end, there's almost always authority in organizations. Ultimately, after good discussions, if you can't come to an joint agreement, a decision should be made. Either it's the boss who makes the ultimate decision or the employee. I don't think there are many successful sports teams where all the team members can decide everything for themselves.
 
Google translate:


The internal kitchen of Team DSM, where everyone flees (part 1): "Treated like little children"

After each departure, the question marks grow. A haze of mystery hangs around Team DSM due to the many riders who flee from it and afterwards shroud themselves in silence. What is going wrong behind the scenes with the ambitious team? Sporza collected testimonials from some experts by experience. In part 1: the lack of flexibility. "The team's protocol is a strength that has become a weakness."

“Team DSM agrees to the termination of the contract with Tiesj Benoot.”

On Tuesday, the (German) Dutch WorldTour formation officially released the news about a split that had been in the air for some time.

The bad news: nobody is scared anymore. Tiesj Benoot is already the umpteenth early departure. Tom Dumoulin, Warren Barguil, Marc Hirschi, Marcel Kittel, Michael Matthews, Edward Theuns and Ilan Van Wilder have already preceded him.

A solid list. The cycling world is buzzing with stories. But where exactly does it go wrong?

Former riders De Backer, Vervaeke and Waeytens share their experiences

"First I want to emphasize that there is a lot of good in the team", opens Bert De Backer, rider at DSM from 2009 to 2017.

"Introduce 80 percent of what Team DSM does to other teams and those teams will all become top teams."

“DSM focuses on science and standardizes everything. Each rider's water bottle contains the same content, regardless of the staff member responsible for it. The chance that your first, second and third bike will be equal at DSM is much greater than with other teams and so on.”

Louis Vervaeke and Zico Waeytens also have positive memories of their DSM period. “I was overtrained at Lotto-Soudal and was looking for knowledge of scientific cycling. I found it at DSM," says Vervaeke.

“I especially learned a lot in the field of training and about my role as lead-out,” says Waeytens. “We always got our program very early. Everything was arranged down to the last detail.”


"We had to listen to Mr. and Mrs. the teacher"

DSM is known for its strict protocols, which entail a series of rules. “When I signed with the team, I chose to accept the rules,” says Vervaeke.

"But sometimes they went a bit too far with their rules," says a foreign rider who wishes to remain anonymous. “The rules were extreme, especially in the clothing area.”

“On certain occasions you had to wear a long coat. On the starting podium you sometimes had to wear gloves, other times nobody was allowed to keep their gloves on.”

Waeytens: “After the Clasica San Sebastian, the team called me once: “You've worked well. Tom Dumoulin was super happy with you," it sounded. “But we did see that you didn't have your podium cap on when you started signing the start sheet.”

“They were whining about all those little things. But as a rider you don't want to be involved in that. You mainly want to train and compete.”

Riders are also not allowed to deviate a millimeter from their training schedule. “Woe to you if you had trained a little bit differently for a day”, says an anonymous rider. “You immediately got on the phone with an angry staff member and you had to justify yourself.”

“They had a protocol for everything. It was really extreme. And every year new rules were added. Rules that get on riders' nerves.”

“We felt that we had to listen to Mr. and Mrs. the teacher all the time. We were treated like little children,” say 2 riders. “If you didn't do something right, you had to stand in the corner, as it were.”

“Some riders may need that approach. But especially the older riders do not need many superfluous rules that were then unnecessarily complex.”


16 phonecalls for a saddle adjustment

All the riders we speak to share the same opinion. “They don't know flexibility at Team DSM.”

“When I wanted to raise my saddle by 3 millimeters, the mechanic had to make 16 phone calls, so to speak,” says Waeytens.

“First, the person responsible for the equipment had to be contacted and convinced why you wanted to raise your saddle. In the end, it took a long time before that adjustment actually came about.”

De Backer: “If you thought you needed more powder in your water bottle, that had to be investigated first. You then had to undergo all kinds of tests that had to show that you effectively burn more energy during an effort."

"But that could take a long time. By the time it was finally allowed to get more powder, the season was almost over."

There are also frequent clashes between the team and the riders on a medical level. “They solve everything in-house with experts. That's good," says De Backer.

“But when I had a medical problem, I could have come up with a better solution with better contacts. But no: their experts have to solve everything. As a rider you are obliged to only call on the experts of the team.”

Waeytens also blames the team for a lack of good medical supervision. "During a winter internship I constantly indicated that I was not feeling well. In the classics it didn't go well after that, but the team did not want to help me. I then had a stomach examination done myself."

"As it turned out? I had a stomach bacteria and an ulcer. I had to take 120 antibiotic pills. But the team said: wait with antibiotics and drive Eschborn-Frankfurt first. I killed my whole year with that. Mentally i was completely drained."

De Backer: “The team's protocol is a strength that has become a weakness. If you use the right thing wrong, you have a problem.”


***

The internal kitchen of Team DSM, where everyone flees (part 2): "There is a Soviet regime"

Tiesj Benoot became the umpteenth early departure in the long list at Team DSM on Tuesday. Sporza went looking for an explanation for the pattern in the WorldTour squad. This morning you could read how (former) cyclists denounce the many rules, in this article the sporting effect is criticized.


In the first part you could already read how a lack of flexibility sows a lot of dissatisfaction within Team DSM.

Another tricky point, according to our witnesses, is the atmosphere and relationship with the sporting leadership. It sounds like a lack of family feeling.

"The staff, for example, is a dovecote. It's a coming and going. It even got to the point where sports directors couldn't name the riders they met before the race," said a rider who wished to remain anonymous.

“The team doesn't realize it's working with humans instead of robots. They want 33 riders who all 33 do the same and think the same. But actually you are dealing with 33 individuals."

"Each rider has a different character and a different position within the team. For some this works and for others that works. Riders should actually be treated differently within a team."

According to another rider, there is no room for personal ambitions at DSM. “Cycling is a team sport. But at DSM they focus on the whole in such a way that your personal ambitions are not fulfilled.”

“The team actually felt communist, there is a Soviet regime. The individual does not count, everything revolves around the big picture.”

Waeytens: "At DSM they have lost the essence of cycling. It no longer matters that a rider feels happy. Science is one thing, but humanity is also something."

The ex-rider illustrates with an extra anecdote: "Most teams look for team building, but at DSM they didn't organize anything to improve the group atmosphere."

"It was the riders themselves who then took the initiative to go karting during our rest day on stage in Spain. Leaders Dumoulin, Barguil and Matthews paid everything, the staff did not interfere."


"Sports leadership is often not fair, riders feel misunderstood"

A few riders who do not want to be named are also critical of team manager Iwan Spekenbrink and head coach Rudi Kemna.

“The better the team got, the more problems there were with the sporting leadership of the team. They were often not honest and consciously said things that were wrong in order to push through their vision.”

“Rudi Kemna in particular was not always correct. It often happens that riders started asking whether they could also stay on board at DSM the following season. Kemna then told certain riders that he couldn't say that for sure yet."

“Those riders were kept on a leash for months. The team then waited until September to offer those riders a cheaper contract. That was a recurring phenomenon."

According to several riders, the management was also not open to reason. "If you have a discussion with Spekenbrink and Kemna, you will not reach a compromise."

“With every counter-argument you make, they keep repeating their same point of view. After a while you think, "They don't get it.""

"As a rider you no longer feel understood and you lose the courage to talk to the sporting leadership. People leave the team because they no longer feel understood."


"They didn't want to see that Dumoulin's departure was their fault"

"The worst thing is that Kemna and Spekenbrink never question themselves. If 2 riders break their contract, you can still say that it may be due to their character. But if 10 riders cancel their contract displeased, then it is no longer a coincidence." says a foreign rider.

“When Tom Dumoulin broke his contract in 2019, we thought they would see their mistakes. But unfortunately. They responded that it "isn't always easy working with Tom."

Another rider confirms: “Tom left early because the team had made mistakes. But the team responded: “No, we didn't make any mistakes. We are right.” Then management's credibility quickly crumbles."

“The sporting leadership's motto is: 'If someone leaves, it's because he doesn't fit into our system.' For example, about Barguil they said it was “a special one.”"

"But Tiesj Benoot is one of the most honest riders in the peloton. He is the superpro par excellence. The fact that Benoot is leaving DSM says it all."

"Which rider or manager still dares to go to DSM to sign a contract there?"
 
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At the very end, there's almost always authority in organizations. Ultimately, after good discussions, if you can't come to an joint agreement, a decision should be made. Either it's the boss who makes the ultimate decision or the employee. I don't think there are many successful sports teams where all the team members can decide everything for themselves.
Of course there needs to be authority in every organization. There need to be people that call the ultimate shot. However in most organization in western cultures management tries to listen to all of their employees to get to the best solution.

Here somebody far up in the hierarchy seems to have established a dogma to live by. And in that dogma every individual has their own expertise and are only allowed to listen to people with other expertise through an extremely bureaucratic process where people have to proof that something really is better for them.

And if you don’t agree with that Dogma you are being marked as somebody who is to indivualistic. So yes, cult/Sovjet does come to mind.
 
Spekenbrink has reacted in a Sporza and NOS interview. The riders making the claims about the Soviet regime... they are clearly unhappy with the team because they didn't get a new contract at DSM... Eh, hello Iwan, anybody home? The guy that made that statement was one of the anonymous sources. Lol, but again, the team is not to blame for anything, whatever those riders were saying, it's not true. All those riders are leaving for no reason apparently. Oh, and better to let them leave than to tie them to their contract against their will, Spekenbrink tells Sporza. Then maybe he could explain the repeated claims by Kemna that they would not let Van Wilder leave? Oh right, although Kemna acknowledged Van Wilder wanted to leave back in august, Spekenbrink claimed last month, that the team did not know Van Wilder wanted to leave.
 
Google translate:


The internal kitchen of Team DSM, where everyone flees (part 1): "Treated like little children"

After each departure, the question marks grow. A haze of mystery hangs around Team DSM due to the many riders who flee from it and afterwards shroud themselves in silence. What is going wrong behind the scenes with the ambitious team? Sporza collected testimonials from some experts by experience. In part 1: the lack of flexibility. "The team's protocol is a strength that has become a weakness."

“Team DSM agrees to the termination of the contract with Tiesj Benoot.”

On Tuesday, the (German) Dutch WorldTour formation officially released the news about a split that had been in the air for some time.

The bad news: nobody is scared anymore. Tiesj Benoot is already the umpteenth early departure. Tom Dumoulin, Warren Barguil, Marc Hirschi, Marcel Kittel, Michael Matthews, Edward Theuns and Ilan Van Wilder have already preceded him.

A solid list. The cycling world is buzzing with stories. But where exactly does it go wrong?

Former riders De Backer, Vervaeke and Waeytens share their experiences

"First I want to emphasize that there is a lot of good in the team", opens Bert De Backer, rider at DSM from 2009 to 2017.

"Introduce 80 percent of what Team DSM does to other teams and those teams will all become top teams."

“DSM focuses on science and standardizes everything. Each rider's water bottle contains the same content, regardless of the staff member responsible for it. The chance that your first, second and third bike will be equal at DSM is much greater than with other teams and so on.”

Louis Vervaeke and Zico Waeytens also have positive memories of their DSM period. “I was overtrained at Lotto-Soudal and was looking for knowledge of scientific cycling. I found it at DSM," says Vervaeke.

“I especially learned a lot in the field of training and about my role as lead-out,” says Waeytens. “We always got our program very early. Everything was arranged down to the last detail.”


"We had to listen to Mr. and Mrs. the teacher"

DSM is known for its strict protocols, which entail a series of rules. “When I signed with the team, I chose to accept the rules,” says Vervaeke.

"But sometimes they went a bit too far with their rules," says a foreign rider who wishes to remain anonymous. “The rules were extreme, especially in the clothing area.”

“On certain occasions you had to wear a long coat. On the starting podium you sometimes had to wear gloves, other times nobody was allowed to keep their gloves on.”

Waeytens: “After the Clasica San Sebastian, the team called me once: “You've worked well. Tom Dumoulin was super happy with you," it sounded. “But we did see that you didn't have your podium cap on when you started signing the start sheet.”

“They were whining about all those little things. But as a rider you don't want to be involved in that. You mainly want to train and compete.”

Riders are also not allowed to deviate a millimeter from their training schedule. “Woe to you if you had trained a little bit differently for a day”, says an anonymous rider. “You immediately got on the phone with an angry staff member and you had to justify yourself.”

“They had a protocol for everything. It was really extreme. And every year new rules were added. Rules that get on riders' nerves.”

“We felt that we had to listen to Mr. and Mrs. the teacher all the time. We were treated like little children,” say 2 riders. “If you didn't do something right, you had to stand in the corner, as it were.”

“Some riders may need that approach. But especially the older riders do not need many superfluous rules that were then unnecessarily complex.”


16 phonecalls for a saddle adjustment

All the riders we speak to share the same opinion. “They don't know flexibility at Team DSM.”

“When I wanted to raise my saddle by 3 millimeters, the mechanic had to make 16 phone calls, so to speak,” says Waeytens.

“First, the person responsible for the equipment had to be contacted and convinced why you wanted to raise your saddle. In the end, it took a long time before that adjustment actually came about.”

De Backer: “If you thought you needed more powder in your water bottle, that had to be investigated first. You then had to undergo all kinds of tests that had to show that you effectively burn more energy during an effort."

"But that could take a long time. By the time it was finally allowed to get more powder, the season was almost over."

There are also frequent clashes between the team and the riders on a medical level. “They solve everything in-house with experts. That's good," says De Backer.

“But when I had a medical problem, I could have come up with a better solution with better contacts. But no: their experts have to solve everything. As a rider you are obliged to only call on the experts of the team.”

Waeytens also blames the team for a lack of good medical supervision. "During a winter internship I constantly indicated that I was not feeling well. In the classics it didn't go well after that, but the team did not want to help me. I then had a stomach examination done myself."

"As it turned out? I had a stomach bacteria and an ulcer. I had to take 120 antibiotic pills. But the team said: wait with antibiotics and drive Eschborn-Frankfurt first. I killed my whole year with that. Mentally i was completely drained."

De Backer: “The team's protocol is a strength that has become a weakness. If you use the right thing wrong, you have a problem.”


***

The internal kitchen of Team DSM, where everyone flees (part 2): "There is a Soviet regime"

Tiesj Benoot became the umpteenth early departure in the long list at Team DSM on Tuesday. Sporza went looking for an explanation for the pattern in the WorldTour squad. This morning you could read how (former) cyclists denounce the many rules, in this article the sporting effect is criticized.


In the first part you could already read how a lack of flexibility sows a lot of dissatisfaction within Team DSM.

Another tricky point, according to our witnesses, is the atmosphere and relationship with the sporting leadership. It sounds like a lack of family feeling.

"The staff, for example, is a dovecote. It's a coming and going. It even got to the point where sports directors couldn't name the riders they met before the race," said a rider who wished to remain anonymous.

“The team doesn't realize it's working with humans instead of robots. They want 33 riders who all 33 do the same and think the same. But actually you are dealing with 33 individuals."

"Each rider has a different character and a different position within the team. For some this works and for others that works. Riders should actually be treated differently within a team."

According to another rider, there is no room for personal ambitions at DSM. “Cycling is a team sport. But at DSM they focus on the whole in such a way that your personal ambitions are not fulfilled.”

“The team actually felt communist, there is a Soviet regime. The individual does not count, everything revolves around the big picture.”

Waeytens: "At DSM they have lost the essence of cycling. It no longer matters that a rider feels happy. Science is one thing, but humanity is also something."

The ex-rider illustrates with an extra anecdote: "Most teams look for team building, but at DSM they didn't organize anything to improve the group atmosphere."

"It was the riders themselves who then took the initiative to go karting during our rest day on stage in Spain. Leaders Dumoulin, Barguil and Matthews paid everything, the staff did not interfere."


"Sports leadership is often not fair, riders feel misunderstood"

A few riders who do not want to be named are also critical of team manager Iwan Spekenbrink and head coach Rudi Kemna.

“The better the team got, the more problems there were with the sporting leadership of the team. They were often not honest and consciously said things that were wrong in order to push through their vision.”

“Rudi Kemna in particular was not always correct. It often happens that riders started asking whether they could also stay on board at DSM the following season. Kemna then told certain riders that he couldn't say that for sure yet."

“Those riders were kept on a leash for months. The team then waited until September to offer those riders a cheaper contract. That was a recurring phenomenon."

According to several riders, the management was also not open to reason. "If you have a discussion with Spekenbrink and Kemna, you will not reach a compromise."

“With every counter-argument you make, they keep repeating their same point of view. After a while you think, "They don't get it.""

"As a rider you no longer feel understood and you lose the courage to talk to the sporting leadership. People leave the team because they no longer feel understood."


"They didn't want to see that Dumoulin's departure was their fault"

"The worst thing is that Kemna and Spekenbrink never question themselves. If 2 riders break their contract, you can still say that it may be due to their character. But if 10 riders cancel their contract displeased, then it is no longer a coincidence." says a foreign rider.

“When Tom Dumoulin broke his contract in 2019, we thought they would see their mistakes. But unfortunately. They responded that it "isn't always easy working with Tom."

Another rider confirms: “Tom left early because the team had made mistakes. But the team responded: “No, we didn't make any mistakes. We are right.” Then management's credibility quickly crumbles."

“The sporting leadership's motto is: 'If someone leaves, it's because he doesn't fit into our system.' For example, about Barguil they said it was “a special one.”"

"But Tiesj Benoot is one of the most honest riders in the peloton. He is the superpro par excellence. The fact that Benoot is leaving DSM says it all."

"Which rider or manager still dares to go to DSM to sign a contract there?"
Is there a source or is it just something you came up with? :D
 
Is there a source or is it just something you came up with? :D
Well, the source had been discussed prior to my post, so i figured everybody knew where it came from.

 
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Well, the source had been discussed prior to my post, so i figured everybody knew where it came from.

Sorry, I didn't read the posts before that (but it was pretty evident that Sporza was the source, so my question might have been unnecessary).

What a crap environment in any case. It basically confirms everything we thought.
 
Spekenbrink:

"Well, we have learned from many things. For example, we will give more weight to whether people are right for us. Who has the flexibility to work together with experts? We will not be signing people with tunnel vision so quickly in the future."

translated:
 
Looking through DSM transfers in this year it's all young guys, mostly from their development team, plus one other - John Degenkolb. Slightly surprising considering he should know what their culture is like. Anyway I just had a look at his comments when he signed and he was full of praise for the team:

“Their development over the years is impressive. The team is about honesty; they deliver everything they promise and they expect the same the other way around, which makes them unique. They are driven, forward thinking and wholeheartedly focused on the commitment of doing things together - with colleagues on and off the bike. I really believe that this is the perfect approach to get the best out of our potential and bring home results in a sustainable way."

It's a 3 year contract (why, John?!), so I give it 2 years until the ugly break up.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Looking through DSM transfers in this year it's all young guys, mostly from their development team, plus one other - John Degenkolb. Slightly surprising considering he should know what their culture is like. Anyway I just had a look at his comments when he signed and he was full of praise for the team:

“Their development over the years is impressive. The team is about honesty; they deliver everything they promise and they expect the same the other way around, which makes them unique. They are driven, forward thinking and wholeheartedly focused on the commitment of doing things together - with colleagues on and off the bike. I really believe that this is the perfect approach to get the best out of our potential and bring home results in a sustainable way."

It's a 3 year contract (why, John?!), so I give it 2 years until the ugly break up.
Are we sure any other team would offer him 3 years at this point of his career?
 
Are we sure any other team would offer him 3 years at this point of his career?
It's odd from a DSM point of view as well to give a long contract to someone who's been regressing since 2015. I assume they want some experience in the team, but as Roche suggested in his interview this is a team that treats the experienced guys the same as 21 year old neo pros.
 
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