Anna van der Breggen has announced her return to professional cycling in 2025, after a three-year hiatus from the sport. Speaking to her team SD Worx on YouTube, the Dutch cyclist shared her motivations and feelings about her comeback.

Van der Breggen revealed that the decision to return stemmed from a growing desire to ride again. She stated, “I quit now for three years and was really happy in between to have a nice job in cycling. I enjoyed it, but the feeling to get back slowly returned. Physically, I have recovered, and the motivation to do it myself was coming back.”

During her time away from professional racing, van der Breggen has remained involved in the sport, riding occasionally with her team and during training camps. However, she acknowledged the challenges she might face in keeping up with the current top-level riders. “I haven’t been so much on the bike in the last two and a half years,” she said. “When I did train with the girls who are in shape, it was difficult, but I had a good build-up and I’m not so worried about following.”

The 34-year-old’s ambitions upon her return are notably different from before. “My ambitions when I start cycling again are really different than the period I did before. I feel like after this long break, it’s a privilege to be able to compete and be a rider. For me, it’s more about enjoying the sport and the competition,” van der Breggen explained.

She also mentioned that her focus will not be solely on victories but rather on contributing to the team and enjoying the races. “There’s not so much ticking the boxes anymore in races or victories. It’s more about getting back and helping the girls in the races and playing my part. Winning will be tough, but I will try, and that makes the victories more beautiful if you struggle to get somewhere.”

Reflecting on the changes in women’s cycling over the past few years, van der Breggen noted the sport’s rapid evolution. “Women’s cycling has evolved a lot, especially in the last three years. The top level is higher, and there is more knowledge and more riders. The subtop has really evolved, making it more difficult to get into the front,” she said.

Anna van der Breggen on her race winning attack
Anna van der Breggen

Van der Breggen’s return is not driven by the lure of high-profile races like the Tour de France Femmes. She expressed her preference for quieter races, stating, “The Tour de France is not really a reason for me to come back. I always loved the races where it’s more quiet, like the Giro or smaller races. The Tour de France is so much in the picture, but for me, it’s more about real racing.”

As she prepares for her comeback, van der Breggen is set to embark on a rigorous training regime to regain her competitive form. “For me, it’s also a bit of finding out how long it takes to get back in shape. I did some running and other sports, but it will take time to get to a level good enough to compete,” she remarked.