Matt Shriver is taking on a new role within Trek after nearly 7 years as the team's technical director
Trek-Segafredo’s equipment direction will undergo a significant makeover for the 2022 season. Koen de Kort, who rode for Trek-Segafredo the last five years, and 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 overseeing the sourcing, testing, distribution and maintenance of racing equipment across the men’s and women’s road teams.
With the new position, De Kort is officially announcing his retirement from a 19-year pro racing career in which he finished 17 grand tours and became one of the most respected members of the peloton.
Matt Shriver, Trek-Segafredo’s current technical director, will have a new role within the Race Shop that will allow him to move home to Durango, Colorado, after living full time in Belgium. Until then, De Kort and Leven, will be under Shriver’s tutelage, learning the requirements and quirks of the position before making it their own for 2022.
It's something that I've really wanted for some time. And I'm just really excited to start doing this.
- Koen de Kort
The change highlights how the demands of running a WorldTour operation, particularly one with a robust men’s and women’s teams, have grown in a short time period. For seven years, Shriver capably filled a role that will now be helmed by De Kort and Leven. The position requires a diverse skillset, from technical know-how, to racing savvy, to the ability to facilitate communication between athletes and sponsors.
De Kort and Leven are well-suited and eager to the task. In Shriver, they have a patient and battle-tested teacher. Together, they’ll work to elevate Trek-Segafredo’s performance across the board.
Meet Koen and Glen
De Kort and Leven started working together in 2017 when De Kort came to the team as a trusted leadout man for John Degenkolb. Leven is from Luxembourg, and often worked directly with Degenkolb because he spoke German.
“Koen and me went together with John to training camps,” Leven says. “We rode our bikes together in Australia. We were together a few times, Koen as a rider and me as a mechanic, and we straightaway had a good relationship.”
Both men gradually took on more responsibility within the team. De Kort eventually became Trek-Segafredo’s road captain, acting as the key decision maker and executor of team tactics within the peloton. Leven became a leader within the shop. He took over the mechanics’ schedule-setting two years ago, and eventually became a pivotal communication point between Shriver and the mechanics, relaying their hardware needs.
Trek is like a second family. Everybody knows everybody.
- Glen Leven
As De Kort and Leven were earning senior roles, Trek-Segafredo grew immensely. In 2018, Trek-Segafredo announced that it would be starting a women’s team. With the addition of more riders and races came much more complexity and workload for staff like Shriver.
So this past spring, the team turned to two old hands, De Kort and Leven, and asked them if they would like to handle the team support manager roles in tandem. They both jumped at the opportunity.
“Matt Shriver has done a great job with the women’s team as well. I think it was just too much work for one person,” De Kort says. “The women’s team deserves at least as much of the attention of the team support manager as the men’s team. So I think it’s a great step in the right direction for the team and for Trek to have two people fill that role.”
De Kort and Leven will sort out their specific responsibilities as they continue to learn the role, but they already roughly know their lanes. De Kort will be a liaison between the riders and Trek, communicating the athletes’ needs and running product tests for Trek’s latest innovations. He’ll also be responsible for coordinating equipment tailored towards rider performance, like clothing, shoes, helmets, cooling vests and sunglasses. Leven, meanwhile, will largely be responsible for what’s on the bike, like tires, wheels, frames and components. And of course, he’ll be a voice for the mechanics.
De Kort’s cycling career notably ended recently after an accident that resulted in the loss of three fingers on his right hand. However, he stresses, plans for him to take over as a team support manager were underway before the injury. Discussions began early in the year, and De Kort has arguably been preparing for the job much longer than that. He studied human movement sciences as an undergraduate student, and began a master’s program in sports management two years ago that he’ll soon be finishing up.
The women's team deserves at least as much of the attention of the technical manager as the men's team. So I think it's a great step in the right direction for the team and for Trek to have two people fill that role.
- Koen de Kort
“I think it’s very important that it’s understood that I’m really super excited about this, and it’s not a job that’s convenient,” De Kort says. “It’s something that I’ve really wanted for some time. And I’m just really excited to start doing this. And I’m excited for the interaction with Trek.”
The opportunity to stay within the Trek family, De Kort says, is particularly meaningful for him after the support that the team showed in the wake of his accident.
“I think from every rider, every staff member, I’ve received messages of support,” De Kort says. “And also just the support that I received from the team — from Luca [Guercilena], from Elke [Weylandt] — whatever I needed there’s someone from the team to help me. That makes my feeling even stronger that I want to stay with this team.
“It’s really like a family. I mean, it might sound a bit corny, but it really does feel like that.”
Glen has been working towards his role for a long time, too, although perhaps unknowingly. He never had designs to become a team support manager, and insists that if the opportunity never arose, he would have happily continued as one of the team’s trusted mechanics. But over time, Leven consistently showed a willingness to make an extra effort and lend his ideas. And he embraced the team culture.
“Trek is like a second family,” Leven says. “Everybody knows everybody. Everybody knows me. They’re all super friendly. All normal people. That makes it special.”
Together, De Kort and Leven should be able to give Trek-Segafredo’s men’s and women’s teams steady hands, detailed attention and fresh thinking.
“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. And on my side 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,” De Kort says. “I think it’s a unique possibility.”
A farewell (of sorts) to Matt Shriver
Shriver chokes up describing what he’s going to miss about the job.
“I’ll definitely miss the camaraderie. I’ll miss the team, and I’ll miss all the people — I’m going to start crying.” He laughs instead. “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.”
For nearly seven years, Shriver ran point on all of the men’s and women’s road equipment needs. During the season, he was nominally based in Belgium near the team’s service course in Deinze, but he was constantly on the move to another race, another product test, another emergency errand.
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.
- Matt Shriver
He loved the travel involved. But he naturally began to miss home.
“It’s just time,” Shriver says. “I’ve kind of gotten to that point where I’m just ready for a change, a new challenge. I’m kind of that way anyway. Every few years I like a different goal, I like a different challenge, and so I’ve been watching what’s happening in some of the different disciplines, and those things are interesting to me.”
Shriver will take on a similar role to his old one among the Trek Race Shop’s fleet of off road teams. As a Durango native, Shriver’s first love was mountain biking, and he is also three-time masters World Champion in cyclocross. He’s excited to take his experience and expertise from the road world and see what happens when some of the same principles are applied to dirt: “That’s my roots.”
Shriver will be helping Leven and De Kort learn his old job before he heads back to the States. After working with both men for several years, Shriver is confident that Trek-Segafredo is in good hands.
“One of the biggest things is just 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. I’d say it’s overdue [laughs].”
As for life after road racing, Shriver is looking forward to seeing his family more often and becoming involved in his local cycling community, “even if it’s just going to the race for the weekend with the devo program. Whatever I can do.” Shriver’s partner Elli Hildebrand also works for Trek-Segafredo as an administrative assistant, and together they are excited to live near family again.
We're all from different cultures, but we still connect through cycling, through our passion.
- Matt Shriver
“Our families are back home in the States,” Shriver says. “Covid made being so far away harder than it has been in the past, and that kind of made us realize how much we miss our families.”
Life as the sole technical director for dozens of athletes could be demanding. In a sense, riders were like highly vocal and visible customers, constantly in search of a competitive edge through new technology, or tweaks to their current gear. Shriver will miss the old challenges of a job where “everything needs to be top shelf.” But sometimes a chance to start over can be too good to pass.
“I’m really looking forward to my next steps at Trek. I’m looking forward to working on new projects for our race teams, and with more athletes,” Shriver says. “And I think that having some new people come in with some new, fresh ideas, it’s going to be really good for Trek.”