Visma-Lease a Bike now also confirms the departure of sporting director Merijn Zeeman: “It is with pain in the heart” | Sport

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Merijn Zeeman, the current technical director of Visma-Lease a Bike, will become the new director of AZ Alkmaar, the football club of Belgian coach Maarten Martens. The Dutch team now also confirms his departure on X, the former Twitter. Merijn Zeeman will still finish this season.


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“This is a difficult decision, which I also take with pain in my heart,” Zeeman himself opens on the website of the Dutch team. “Precisely because I have embraced this wonderful organization so much. We have come a long way and together we have made ourselves one of the most successful teams in recent years. I am incredibly proud of that. Our culture with our people and our innovative approach has ensured a great development in which we were able to write history together, with the successful year 2023 as the absolute highlight.”

“Team Visma-Lease a Bike is my family, in which I have lovingly put my heart and soul for 13 years. But I also believe that it is good for everyone’s development to look for new challenges and incentives over time,” Zeeman continues. That new challenge is the role as general manager of football club AZ. “I also dare to take that step because I will soon leave our strong professional organization, led by my good friend Richard Plugge, in the very good hands of my colleagues. But first we want to write history together, also in 2024. We are fully engaged in this, with a very good start to the year, and we want to continue this strongly in the coming months.”

Zeeman’s departure does not have to have an impact on the current season, because the Dutchman will still remain on board. With two-time Tour winner Vingegaard, the team has a contender for a new overall victory in the Tour de France. Participating in the 2024 Tour is not in Van Aert’s mind. After all, he has planned an altitude training camp in July to prepare for the Olympic Games in Paris. One does not want to deviate from that preparation.

Zeeman as a supporter of Van Aert last year during the cross in Herentals. © Gregory Van Gansen / Photo News

Three weeks ago, Zeeman spoke out about his future. It was then said that he would definitely finish the season with Visma-Lease a Bike. But there was interest in football. “I play seven-a-side on Friday evenings, but my son thinks I can’t do anything. I think football is a very nice sport and I think I would like to make the move one day, but that is not current. I will definitely stay with Visma-Lease a Bike this year.”

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We want to gain a place in the row of teams that appeal to the imagination.

Merijn Zeeman

Zeeman also stated that the concept of Visma-Lease a Bike can be transferred to other sports. Zeeman: “It’s about the way of thinking: always trying to find new ways and not getting stuck in the way things always went. Dare to be critical. That’s how we succeeded. Also by involving people from outside. Jacco Verhaeren, for example (well-known Dutch swimming coach, ed.), he notices things, comes up with ideas, is critical. That recipe is crucial to getting better. Anyone who believes that what he is doing is the best is lost.”

“What we ultimately want is that when people talk about sports in 2030 or 2040 and the big teams are mentioned – the Chicago Bulls or the All Blacks or the tiki-taka of Barcelona, ​​that people also refer to Jumbo-Visma or Visma-Lease a Bike. We want to gain a place in the row of teams that appeal to the imagination. That’s not just about winning, it’s also about how you do it,” Zeeman said in mid-March.

Also from Overdijk to AZ?

In addition to Zeeman, AZ Alkmaar still has a management vacancy to fill. In the picture for that other position is Robert van Overdijk, the current director of the Zandvoort Circuit, according to the Dutch medium ‘BNR’. Ajax is also said to be interested in Van Overdijk as a possible successor to suspended director Alex Kroes. Ajax announced this morning that the club has suspended recently appointed director Alex Kroes. The club accuses him of insider trading: Kroes is said to have purchased more than 17,000 Ajax shares shortly before taking office.

Symbol of misery: Visma-Lease a Bike ‘leases’ the wrong bicycle to Tiesj Benoot and sees the plan fail

Chaos again at Ajax, which suspends its new director “due to very strong indications of insider trading”

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