Did Van Dijke brothers close Pandora's box for Visma? "Quite an emotional moment to be standing here" Cycling

Did Van Dijke brothers close Pandora's box for Visma? "Quite an emotional moment to be standing here"

Did Van Dijke brothers close Pandora's box for Visma? "Quite an emotional moment to be standing here"

Paris-Roubaix 2024 was off to a disastrous start for Visma | Lease a Bike, due to former winner Dylan van Baarle and team leader Matteo Jorgenson not being able to start. To make matters worse, Christophe Laporte had a puncture at about the worst possible time, following which Tim van Dijke appeared to save the day with an eighth-place finish. But it only appeared so, because the jury decided otherwise: Van Dijke was demoted to sixteenth place due to an irregular maneuver. Nonetheless, the Dutch Van Dijke brothers and the entire Visma | Lease a Bike team can be proud of their performance.

First, that jury decision: Van Dijke was part of the second chasing group. Tim let a gap form and then accelerated away from the rest by taking a shortcut off the track and onto the path of the central field. Van Dijke crossed the line with a lead for the eighth place, but the jury demoted him to the last place of that group: sixteenth place.

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Eighth or sixteenth, regardless, this was something for the history books. For the brothers, pride prevailed at the Roubaix velodrome, where they spoke with IDLProCycling.com. "This was really tough. This is the highest level possible, and I felt super strong. I don’t often find myself in these positions, so we can also be critical of the choices we made, but we made them with the best intentions. We fought down to the very last meter, and then to finish like this in a Monument… For me, that’s a very beautiful result," said Tim, who at that moment still thought he had finished eighth.

"We’ve had a lot of bad luck with the team, so it hasn’t been an easy time," Mick added, referring to the misfortunes that affected, among others, Wout van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard, Jan Tratnik, Laporte and Van Baarle. "However, we kept motivating each other and stayed positive. Tim and I got our chance now, and I think we did well, so that’s another positive."

"We came up with a very good plan, together with Arthur, Merijn and Grischa (team directors Van Dongen, Zeeman and Niermann)," Tim shares. "From that moment on, we did our best, but that’s also the beautiful thing about our team: suddenly someone like me gets to compete in the finale here. Opportunities like that do present themselves, so when they do, you have to grab them. For me, this is something I can be very happy about."

Van Dijke brothers hit by misfortune several times but continued fighting

"We took care of the communication and made sure we entered each sector well. Especially in the Forest of Arenberg, we rode excellently, but that is where Tim, unfortunately, had a puncture, and I was left in a group with Van der Poel, Philipsen and Pedersen. Everything then came together again, and I had a fall and some bad luck, but ultimately I am happy," Mick says, who entered Arenberg three places after Tim. Tim: "Thanks to Per Strand Hagenes, I started in second place heading into the Forest of Arenberg, so in that moment, I actually had goosebumps. I was behind Pedersen, at the front of the race, and had everything under control, but then you get a puncture. Then I had to fire a few arrows to get back, so I did. But it was a magnificent day."

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mick van dijke mads pedersen jasper philipsen

Misfortune did not spare the two: Tim had a puncture in the Forest, Mick fell and also had a puncture. "The Forest is literally hell on earth," Tim laughs. "It’s not for nothing that that is where so much equipment breaks, but then it’s a matter of staying calm, changing and pedaling your balls off to get back. That costs a lot of energy," his brother then shares his version of the bad luck. "What happened with that fall? I don’t even know exactly. I thought Van der Poel was going to attack, and I tried to be in his wheel, but it was a stupid move, and I fell. Later, I also had a puncture, so I couldn’t get back. However, I kept fighting."

At the Roubaix velodrome, the two were able to embrace each other. "Cycling is sometimes such a difficult sport, and everyone wants to be there, so I was quite nervous for this race. Out of inexperience, I made some choices that cost me energy, but I am very proud of myself. And also of my brother Mick, Per and the entire team. Mick said he thought I was going to ride top ten, so it was quite an emotional moment to stand here in the velodrome and see your brother racing here. That was amazing," Tim concludes with teary eyes. Rightfully so.

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