Think of Team Sunweb, and the names Tom Dumoulin, Michael Matthews and Wilco Kelderman probably come to mind. But what about Joris Nieuwenhuis? Though you might not have heard of him, this upcoming talent is in fact an ex-world champion.

Team Sunweb is (obviously) a well-known road racing team, with great success in both men’s and women’s events. But did you know the team is also involved in cyclo-cross?

Dutch and Belgians

Dutch riders are particularly good at this tough sport. The cyclo-cross season starts around the end of the road race season, in the autumn. OK, we admit it: the Dutch are indeed not quite as good at cyclo-cross as the Belgians are, but at least one of them has been making it difficult for the Belgians to win everything. Right now, that’s Mathieu van der Poel. However, the future looks pretty good for Joris Nieuwenhuis too.

At 22 years of age, Nieuwenhuis is a young rider, and last year was a breakthrough season for him in cyclo-cross. He triumphed in a series of under-23 races and won the men’s U23 title at the UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships in 2016-2017.

After gaining a huge amount of experience in the youth category, Nieuwenhuis is now tasting the world of the elite level under the guidance of the Sunweb Development Team. He is one of the promising, upcoming talents at Team Sunweb and the management has faith in his abilities. Alongside fellow Dutchmen Tom Dumoulin, Wilco Kelderman and Sam Oomen, Nieuwenhuis has signed a contract to ride for Team Sunweb until 2020. He aims to hone his road racing skills along the way.

Experience counts

Cyclo-cross experience can certainly pay dividends on the road—riders such as Lars Boom and Zdenek Stybar have successfully moved over from the ‘cross. And early during the 2018 racing season, the current cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert performed impressively in various classic races, including an impressive podium grab at the Strade Bianche.

Keep an eye on Joris Nieuwenhuis—he’s one to watch in the ‘cross.