Sunday, May 19, 2024

Skating | Jutta Leerdam exchanges Jumbo for Team IKO, teams up with Joy Beune


According to the newspaper, the contract will be signed this week. It is not yet known how many years Leerdam will associate her name with IKO and how much money she will earn.

Beune and Leerdam know each other well. As women of the same generation, they have often competed against each other at youth championships. At the Junior World Championships, Jutta Leerdam was the best, a year later Beune defeated Leerdam in Salt Lake City. Even at Leerdam’s strongest distance, the 1000 meters, Beune was too strong for the South Holland.

Difficult at Jumbo-Visma

The two then went their separate ways. Beune focused on all-round racing, while Leerdam became world top in sprinting. They do have a remarkable similarity: they both had a fairly difficult period at Jumbo-Visma.

Beune was brought into the team as a promising talent, but performed inconsistently. Beune therefore became known as ‘miss fourth place’. Only after her switch to IKO in 2022 did she make major progress. This season was her big breakthrough with a world title in the 5000 meters and she became world all-round champion.


Beijing 2022 | Leerdam is dissatisfied with this silver ride

Leerdam’s transition from juniors to seniors went a lot faster. As a first-year senior, she became world champion in the 1000 meters. After wandering around at Reggeborgh and her own team Worldstream with Koen Verweij, she ended up at Jumbo, where she stood still in her progression. In recent years she also started to skate less technically, which is why she did not want to renew her contract with Jac Orie’s team.

The team seemed with an explanation of commercial director Sven Kramer wanting to give Leerdam another kick. According to Kramer, Leerdam would set too high standardsmaking it impossible to continue with her.


There was speculation about her own team, or a move to the United States, the country of her boyfriend Jake Paul. Now it seems to be the small team IKO. The team is known for its personal approach, but not for its large budget. Leerdam will probably have to make significant concessions to the contract she had in the yellow formation.

Last week it was announced that sprinter Dai Dai Ntab is also switching from Jumbo to IKO. Other female sprinters in the team are Michelle de Jong and Pien Hersman.

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