Annemiek van Vleuten said she turned down Trek-Segafredo to keep racing exciting.
The former world champion was on the search for a new home at the end of 2020 after five seasons with Mitchelton-Scott, having dominated the women’s peloton in recent seasons.
Van Vleuten eventually signed a two-year contract with Movistar, where she will be the outright leader in the biggest races, but the Dutch pro was approached by other teams before eventually signing on the dotted line.
In an interview with El Peloton, 38-year-old Van Vleuten revealed that she was in talks with Women’s WorldTour team Trek-Segafredo, but that she opted not to sign with the super-team.
Van Vleuten said: “When Trek approached me, one of my questions was: ‘What do you expect from me to add to the team? Because your team is already full of stars’.
“When someone dominates so much it doesn’t make women’s cycling exciting. My heart is also passionate about making women’s cycling more interesting, and not making it less interesting.”
Van Vleuten has been a star rider in the last few seasons, winning two editions of the Giro Rosa in 2019 and 2018, two La Course titles in 2017 and 2018, and winning the World Championships TT and road race.
In 2020, she started strong with five back-to-back wins, but her season was disrupted by a broken wrist suffered in a crash at the Giro Rosa.
Trek-Segafredo will be even stronger in 2020, as former world champion Amalie Dideriksen and Chloe Hosking join their current stars Lizzie Deignan, Elisa Longo Borghini and rising talent Elynor Backstedt.
Van Vleuten added: “They have so much talent already, that they wouldn’t be happy if I joined the team. With such an awesome squad they wouldn’t need me.
“I would’ve really loved to be part of the Trek team, because they have an amazing philosophy, as well as the equality they have achieved between the men’s and the women’s team. As a team they are amazing, they are racing tactically so smart, so I would’ve loved to be there. If they didn’t have such a strong roster already I would have signed immediately, because then it would be also a challenge, but the way they are now it wouldn’t be a challenge anymore.”