Koen de Kort retires and begins new role as Team Support Manager

Koen de Kort retires and begins new role as Team Support Manager

After 17 years racing as a professional cyclist, during which time he helped stars to win the biggest races in the world, Koen de Kort has called time on his cycling career. Although he already planned that 2021 would be his last racing season, De Kort’s final year as a professional rider was cut short after suffering a serious accident while driving an off-road vehicle. This resulted in the loss of three fingers and part of his right hand.

While many riders choose to either take a break from the sport or train to be a sport director, De Kort already had a clear idea of the role he wanted to take on for his next challenge.

De Kort, together with Glen Leven, who has served as a mechanic in the Trek family since before the Trek-Segafredo partnership began, will become the team’s new Team Support Managers. They will oversee the sourcing, testing, distribution and maintenance of racing equipment across the men’s and women’s road teams.
“For me, it’s hard to leave cycling behind in this way for sure. I’d much prefer to retire at a nice race and have my friends and family there and have a party and that’s it for professional cycling and move on to the next one. Now it’s just ending with a massive downer, which is not the way that you want to end. But I am 38 years old, so it’s been a nice career for sure. And I think I can be proud of what I have achieved and what I’ve done,” reflects De Kort.
“The Dutch national championships being my last race was a bit of a surprise. But on the other hand, I’m also looking forward to what’s coming and what’s next. I’m super excited that I will be continuing with the team in a bit of a different role, as Team Support Manager with Trek-Segafredo.

“I think that we are in a perfect spot because of Glen’s background as an amazing mechanic, one of the best that I’ve ever worked with. He’s experienced with the mechanical side of it – the frames and the components. I think my side of it, [I have experience] as a professional athlete, where I know really well what we need, and I think I can also communicate very well to partners and to riders. I think it’s a great step in the right direction for the team and for Trek-Segafredo to have two people fill this role.”

This is for sure something that I really wanted to do, it’s the job that I really wanted, and I tried really hard to get, way before my accident even happened. It’s also why I studied sport management when I did, for a role like this. I like that side of it, I like the communication part, and especially when I found out that there was a possibility for me to get this role, I was super excited to really get into it. I think especially the connection between Trek as a company and the Factory Racing Team, as Trek-Segafredo is, that’s really super interesting. I like the corporate side of it as much as I do the racing side, so I think it is a perfect combination of things for me to jump into.

“Now I’m here, and able to start after such a hard moment and life changing accident. That gives me a lot of confidence and a lot of trust that my future is going to be bright still.”

While De Kort brings a host of skills gained through his racing career and own studies, he will be complimented by Glen Leven, a mechanic from Luxembourg who has been with the Team since the first days. Leven originally studied engineering before following his passion into the cycling world, where he has worked ever since. Few can rival his knowledge of cycling material and the needs of professional riders.

“When Luca [Guercilena] asked me in April if I would like to take this role, I did not think twice on it,” says Leven, who is quick to point out the unexpected career path. “It was never a goal to reach this role. Now the opportunity was there, and I got the offer and made it happen.”

Leven and De Kort will be taking the reins from Matt Shriver, who for seven years has managed the equipment needs of our men’s team, and later our women’s team. Shriver has his sights set on a new adventure with Trek back home in the United States but admitted he will miss his life in Belgium working with the Team.
“I’ll definitely miss the camaraderie. I’ll miss the team, and I’ll miss all the people. The Trek family, the team family — because really I spend a ton of time with them. And we’re all from different cultures, but we still connect through cycling, through our passion.”

The change in position will take place in November 2021, until which time Shriver will ease both De Kort and Leven into their new roles.

“Now, I’m looking even more at what Matt is doing, and how Matt is doing it. I have been working closely with him for the last one and a half years, so I have seen a little bit what he is doing, and how he’s doing it. And we will start the transition in August, when we’ll shadow Matt even more. And from there I guess it will go step by step, hand by hand, to get into the role,” explains Leven.

“One of the biggest things is having two motivated guys that are coming into this role with tons of experience,” Shriver says. “We’ve expanded a lot. And now you have twice the knowledge to be able to help Trek, whether it’s the men or the women. It’s a big step for the team.”