Lorena Wiebes has just turned 23, but the Team DSM rider already has 40 career victories after winning the Scheldt on Wednesday. The Dutch rider also won the inaugural edition of the race last year and has hinted that she will return in 2023 to attempt a third victory at Schoten.
Arguably the fastest sprinter in the women’s peloton, Wiebes has already won four victories this season, including the Women’s WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe where she edged Elisa Balsamo, Lotte Kopecky, Emma Norsgaard and Marta Bastianelli.
Wiebes has had a slow start to the season at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, however, since then the only rider to beat Wiebes in the sprint so far this year is Elisa Balsamo at Bruges-De Panne – who Wiebes has found herself on to sprint with a broken spoke after a crash at the end of the race took away its main driver Charlotte Kool.
Tadej Pogačar, who is the same age as Wiebes, has so far racked up 37 career victories (albeit including two Tour de France titles) while Marianne Vos, who at the age of 34 has over 200 career victories – including 30 Giro Rosa stages and several Classics – had already amassed 76 victories by the age of 22.
Of course, although Vos is an undisputed champion, the landscape of women’s cycling now looks very different, with Wiebes facing far more competition than a 22-year-old Vos.
Last year, 22-year-old Danish sprinter Emma Norsgaard positioned herself as Wiebes’ main rival in the peloton. His main competition this season has come from world champion Balsamo, but new sprint talent has also emerged in the form of 22-year-old Chiara Consonni of Valcar-Travel & Service, who won Dwars door Vlaanderen last week.
When not racing for a sprint, Wiebes is often seen working for her teammates, most recently during Sunday’s Tour of Flanders where she was seen at the front of the peloton working for DSM leader of the day, Floortje Mackaij .
Wiebes’ next race will be Paris-Roubaix Women on April 16. She is also tentatively set to race the Tour de France Women in July where there will likely be some opportunities for her to increase her tally, including the first stage on the Champs Elysées.