Sun­web’s young Dutch climber on his mu­si­cal tal­ents and Giro top- 10 in­ish this year

Procycling - - PROLOGUE -

What is your favourite race?

Liège-Bas­togne-Liège and Il Lom­bar­dia. I feel some­thing for these re­ally big one-day Clas­sics, these big mon­u­ments. I find them so spe­cial, but I can­not re­ally ex­plain what it is. It’s the at­mos­phere, the dis­tance, the hero­ics all around them. These two are the races that suit me the best of the five mon­u­ments. Liège most of all be­cause it is closer to home. I know the roads and I raced on them as a ju­nior.

What is your favourite climb?

I of­ten train in the Ar­dennes, the area of Liège, and in Lim­burg, the area of Am­s­tel. I of­ten say the Ey­ser­bosweg. Dur­ing my time with Rabobank we trained out there and some­how it suited me, I was re­ally good at it. When it’s in races I al­ways at­tack there. Also, the Roche-aux-Fau­cons in Liège.

Who is the best do­mes­tique in the pelo­ton?

Roy Curvers. It wouldn’t be nice of me to only name one, but Roy, as a cap­tain and a do­mes­tique, is al­ways think­ing about the other guys.

Who is your fun­ni­est team-mate?

We just talked about it this af­ter­noon, about laugh­ing and im­i­tat­ing each other’s laughs. When Si­mon Geschke is laugh­ing then I also need to laugh.

What’s your se­cret tal­ent?

I play the pi­ano and the gui­tar. I taught my­self the pi­ano, and I had gui­tar lessons for two years. Af­ter that, I kept prac­tis­ing. I play all kinds of stuff – on the gui­tar I’m a re­ally big fan of The Tallest Man on Earth, John Mayer and Jack John­son. But it all started with rock – high school punk, like Blink182, Sum 41 – that sh*t, you know? I still love it though. I started the gui­tar when I was 12, I think, then the pi­ano a few years later. I would sneak into my sis­ter’s room – she had the pi­ano – and teach my­self.

What re­sult are you proud­est of in your ca­reer up to now?

As a first-year ju­nior I won GP Rüe­bliland, which was a World Cup race. Two months be­fore, I was on hol­i­day in Greece for three weeks. I did an in­cred­i­ble TT and also at­tacked. And I don’t think I will ever for­get that I fin­ished top 10 in the Giro this year, which was also my first grand tour.

What’s the tough­est day you’ve had on the bike?

The sec­ond stage of Paris-Nice last year. From start to fin­ish it was full gas, rain, four de­grees, ech­e­lons. It was war from be­gin­ning to end. Ev­ery­body was com­pletely frozen. That’s also the crazy thing: the more bru­tal the weather, the more bru­tal the rid­ers get. I think I did 300 watts av­er­age over that whole day.

What’s the best prize you’ve ever won at a race?

When I get a re­ally big bot­tle of spe­cial beer and I can give it to my grand­fa­ther.

Can you tell us the story be­hind one of your scars?

Once, I crashed pretty hard and I have a scar on my left arm. I was a U23 rider and it was a pro race. We were in a break­away re­ally deep into the fi­nal, so I was su­per ex­cited. We were rid­ing slightly down­hill at maybe 50km/h. Then the guy in front of me swung out – I think he moved to the left while I was look­ing back and I crashed re­ally hard. Since then, I don’t dare to look back on the bike.

"I play all kinds of stuff - on the gui­tar I'm a re­ally big fan of The Tallest Man on Earth, John Mayer and Jack John­son"

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