Joris Nieuwenhuis leaves team DSM to pursue cyclocross passion

'This year I gradually felt I wanted to make the switch back to the field – my first love.' Dutchman signs with Sven Nys' team Baloise-Trek Lions.

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

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It’s not all one-way traffic in the path between cyclocross and road racing.

DSM rider Joris Nieuwenhuis hung up his skinny tires and returned to his muddy roots Friday. The 26-year-old confirmed this season would be his last prioritizing road racing and challenging in the WorldTour with Team DSM.

“I’ve been thinking for some time that I wanted to focus fully on cyclocross, and I’m glad we were able to come to a nice conclusion together,” Nieuwenhuis said.

Nieuwenhuis rode two seasons in the DSM devo team in 2017 and 2018 and graduated to the WorldTour crew the year later.

DSM took the Dutchman to three grand tours and six monuments as he poured energy into the tarmac while crowbarring in a reduced winter program of cyclocross.

“I’ve been riding more and more on the road in recent seasons. On a personal level, it felt like I was becoming more estranged from who I was. The risks on the road are not small due to the falls and high speeds,” he said.

“This year I gradually felt that I wanted to make the switch back to the field – my first love.”

More mud for Nieuwenhuis in future.

Nieuwenhuis’ full-time return to ‘cross makes for a rare reversal of traffic.

Many WorldTour riders like Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, and Zdeněk Štybar discovered their racing legs through cyclocross before increasingly focussing on the road. Two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar also has roots in the mud.

Nieuwenhuis won the 2016 U23 ‘cross worlds in Bieles, but has been on the fringes of the elite ranks with his limited winter program.

The long lean Dutchman is now set to focus on cyclocross while sprinkling in some road and gravel racing with Sven Nys’ Baloise-Trek Lions crew.

“Joris Nieuwenhuis is a rider with enormous cross potential. He has already proven that in the past,” Nys said.

“It will be a great challenge to guide Joris to a higher level in the field. Of course it is also secretly cool to see a rider make the transition from the road to the field. We welcome Joris into the field with open arms and look forward to a fruitful collaboration.”

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