My #RoadToBEAT has taken a spectacular turn. Last week, during the Wattmeister final, I won an internship at Team Katusha Alpecin. Thanks to this internship contract, my goal and dream of becoming a professional rider is now very close. Beforehand, BEAT Cycling Club and I didn’t expect that our goals would bring about these developments.
First, a review of the past few weeks. After a good rest period at the beginning of May, I had my goals for the second part of the season already on my mind: to be in peak form from the national championships (mid-June) until the Top Competition time trial at Emmen last Sunday. By raising my training level at the end of May and using my races to help me reach my peak, I felt ready to perform at my best in mid-June.
However, I encountered a few obstacles while working toward my peak period. The divorce of my parents, which had been in the works for a couple of months, also began to take a mental toll. That’s why I asked my sports psychologist for help, to get everything back under control so I could keep my focus on my sport. In this period, I learned how important the mental aspect can be for an athlete. Now I know that the key to success is to keep your head cool and enjoy the small things in life (and cycling) as much as possible.
In my opinion, my first “victory” in this peak period was already achieved with my 13th place at the national time trial championships among the pros. After a number of years, my time trial performance had not improved due to injuries, and this felt like a victory over myself. A few days later, during the championships on the road, a worthy 22nd place followed after a very attentive finale. However, 10th place at the Top Competition climbing time trial was slightly disappointing. Although I didn’t achieve my goal to finish on the podium, I had to move my focus directly to the Wattmeister final. I was confident that my fitness was there, and I lost the last bit of weight by spending the final three days on a low-salt and low-fiber diet. When the day came, I felt ready to fight. I knew that it would be a mental battle riding right next to my competitors during the wattage test. A poker face and a high cadence were part of my plan. Thanks to my effort tests at Energy Lab, I know I could finish the last two blocks of 422 watts and 450 watts with a leg speed of over 100 revolutions per minute. With the support of my most loyal fans, I could push through the pain barrier. The competitors broke one by one next to me, but after the final victory, surprise quickly transformed into a flood of emotions.
Winning the final brought a flurry of activity. I was impressed by and grateful for all the congratulations, but I already had a lot of questions on my mind: When will I meet the team? What program can I ride for them? What adventures are waiting for me during the last three months of the season? In the coming days, these questions will be answered. The process of preparing the internship contract with all the necessary information has already started in collaboration with Katusha, BEAT, the UCI and the Dutch Cycling Federation.
Of course, I will keep you informed of all the developments and share my adventures within this WorldTour team.