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Julia Soek announces retirement from professional cycling

After spending a brilliant 13 years in the women’s peloton, eight of which were with Team DSM and its previous incarnations, Julia Soek is set to hang up her wheels at the end of the 2021 season.

Upon joining the team in 2014, Soek’s bubbly and friendly personality allowed her to slot into the Women’s program with ease, where she was part of immediate successes with the team. Over the years Soek progressed into an important cog in the team’s sprint train and a vital domestique, often selflessly taking up the hard work to control breakaways and increase the tempo in the finale; managing to do all of that with her infectious smile blazoned across her face.

Gaining more confidence and experience with each season, Soek has also been an important role model for new and young riders within the team, helping to guide them as they make the step up to professional cycling. It’s that experience which Soek transferred to her role as road captain brilliantly; always remaining calm in hectic moments and making level-headed but quick-thinking decisions which often led to great results. In her time with Team DSM, Soek has been a part of 45 victories so far, lending her versatile skillset and hard-working attitude to whatever job she needed to do. Tasting success herself, Soek was able to raise her arms in the air victorious at the 2017 Erondegemse Pijl after winning a two-up sprint to the line after a hard day out in the saddle. Looking ahead, Soek wants to end her career on a high with Team DSM and add some more wins to that burgeoning tally before taking up her pursuits off the bike.

Soek said: “2021 will be my last season as a professional cyclist and what a journey it has been! I want to thank everyone who was involved in the process throughout my career – this is a great team that I have been proud to have been a part of. We achieved some really cool things as Team DSM and I’ve made memories that will stay with me forever. I got the opportunity to develop myself as a rider and as a person here and I am really pleased about that. I’m able to look back on my career with a big smile but now it’s time for a new challenge and I’m excited for what’s next. Saying goodbye is of course sad, but I’ll definitely always be a friend of the team and be interested in how they are doing at the races, but I am looking forward to saying hello to a new adventure away from the bike!”

Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “Julia has been with us since 2014 and has made great steps in her career here, transforming into a brilliant road captain and a role model in the team. An important culture carrier, Julia brought a lot of value to the team both on and off the bike, helping to support our new and younger riders to make the step up to the professional level, integrating them into the team seamlessly. We couldn’t be more happy with the time she’s spent with us and everyone at Team DSM wishes her the best of luck and success for what lies next in the future.”