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Several weeks after reports first emerged that Tiesj Benoot might be leaving DSM early, the team announced on Tuesday that the 2018 Strade Bianche winner would indeed be released with a year left on his contract – and Jumbo-Visma promptly announced that it had signed him to a two-year deal.
Benoot thus joins the long list of talented riders who have left the organization currently racing as DSM early, with Marcel Kittel, Tom Dumoulin, and Michael Matthews just a few of those that have come before him. He is indeed the second rider in two months to leave DSM early, following the news that Ilan van Wilder had left and signed with Deceuninck-QuickStep.
Benoot’s stint at DSM will thus end after two years. His time at the team was something of a mixed bag; he joined the squad for the start of the 2020 season after several years at Lotto Soudal and with a Strade Bianche win already on his career palmares, and almost immediately delivered with his new team, winning a stage and taking GC runner-up honors at Paris-Nice. From there on out, the 27-year-old Belgian did not register any more wins as a member of the squad, although he did secure top 10 finishes in three Monuments, riding to eighth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and 10th at the Tour of Flanders in 2020 and then seventh at Liège in 2021, and he also finished fifth at Paris-Nice this year.
In a statement, DSM wished Benoot well, while also noting that in 2021, “it became clear that Benoot could not deliver on his commitments, which reflected in performances both on and off the bike.”
Benoot was quoted in the statement as well.
“I have good memories here at Team DSM, with some great opportunities and I have learned a lot,” he said. “It’s fun to be part of this team, but it’s also demanding. That is not a negative towards the team; the many staff and specialists, as well as team mates are all really passionate, that’s why riders can get a lot out of themselves. I just wasn’t fully able to go for it together. I wish the team, my colleagues and team mates all the best.”
As he leaves DSM behind, Benoot joins a Jumbo-Visma team where he could conceivably play a variety of different roles. An extremely versatile racer who can handle both cobbles and climbs, Benoot will give Jumbo-Visma a strong card to play in several different Classics races while also potentially being a contender in some stage races and a lieutenant in others.
“The confidence I gained after the first conversations gave me an extra push,” Benoot said in a statement from Jumbo-Visma. “I am convinced that I can become the best version of myself as a cyclist on this team. In the big races I want to be able to play a decisive role in the final, both for a leader and for myself if that opportunity presents itself.”