Wout van Aert loses sporting director to football club AZ

Wout van Aert loses sporting director to football club AZ
Wout van Aert loses sporting director to football club AZ


Merijn Zeeman is still completing the current cycling season. — © Maarten De Bouw

Merijn Zeeman, sporting director of Team Visma-Lease a Bike, will become the new director of football club AZ Alkmaar next season. The Dutchman was known as one of the architects behind the great success of the cycling team of Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard.

Marnix Taes, Vincent Van Genechten

Today at 1:38 PM

The news that Merijn Zeeman (45) is leaving the most successful cycling team in the world after thirteen years has been circulating in the peloton since this week and was confirmed on Wednesday by Team Visma-Lease a Bike. Zeeman will complete the cycling season and at the end of the year will transfer to football club AZ, where Belgian Maarten Martens is trainer.

“This is a difficult decision, which I also take with pain in my heart,” Zeeman said on the Dutch team’s website. “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. (…) Team Visma-Lease a Bike is my family, into which I have lovingly put my heart and soul for thirteen years. But I also believe that it is good for everyone’s development to look for new challenges and incentives over time.”

Zeeman experienced its peak in 2023 when the team won the three Grand Tours in one calendar year. But the hunt continues for a win in a major cobblestone classic, the fall of Wout van Aert also made that job difficult this year.

CEO Richard Plugge now has to look for a new sporting director. “Merijn has been invaluable with his vision and leadership qualities. With his ideas, drive and knowledge, and with the right people around him, he has taken the sport in general and our team in particular to a higher level. (…) Merijn’s departure is painful on the one hand, but at the same time we have a lot of confidence in our organization, which is rock solid.”

The article is in Dutch

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