From Comedy Capers to high school cycling: How the Dutch women were finally a team at the European Championships Cycling

From Comedy Capers to high school cycling: How the Dutch women were finally a team at the European Championships

From Comedy Capers to high school cycling: How the Dutch women were finally a team at the European Championships

There were times when a European or world cycling championship could have easily been the subject of a hilarious episode of "Comedy Capers." TeamNL, despite being the firm favorites in the women's race, didn't always have the best outcomes. However, Saturday afternoon at the European Cycling Championships on VAM Mountain was a stark departure from the norm, as the Dutch ladies claimed the top two spots in an almost flawless performance. Afterward, we caught up with four key figures in this success.

Mischa Bredewold

The 23-year-old Bredewold had a look of astonishment in her eyes. European champion? It seemed too good to be true! But it was indeed true because, on the final lap, she seized the perfect moment to launch her attack, even though it may have gone against the plans of the team's leader, Lorena Wiebes. The two SD Worx teammates ultimately secured the first and second positions, albeit in a somewhat unexpected order.

Bredewold attributed their success to a well-executed strategy known as a "carousel," which TeamNL employed to maintain relentless pressure on their competitors throughout the day. "We had agreed on this 'carousel' strategy, and it worked exceptionally well for us. Our plan was to take turns attacking, keeping the pressure on other countries. We didn't want to allow any gaps to close," she explained afterward.

Riejanne Markus

The fastest rider in the race was Markus, who, after the European Championship time trial, mentioned that her legs weren't feeling quite right. However, there was no evidence of that on Saturday. In the early stages, she led the charge alongside Yara Kastelijn, Shirin van Anrooij, and Loes Adegeest. In the final stages, she continued to set the pace, this time with Floortje Mackaij and Demi Vollering.

Markus was a constant presence at the front throughout the race. "I performed very well. We aimed to maintain control throughout the day, and it worked out perfectly. Even when a strong group of three broke away, we remained calm. It wasn't an ideal situation, but we didn't lose the race there either. It was still a long race, and the gap never exceeded a minute. Our goal was to keep Lorena behind for the sprint, and several girls from the group had the potential to win. We capitalized on that advantage, and it paid off. Now, I'm ready for a vacation!"

Read more below the photo!

From Comedy Capers to high school cycling: How the Dutch women were finally a team at the European Championships
Mischa Bredewold

Floortje Mackaij

Equally impressive as Markus was Mackaij. The Movistar rider wasn't at the front for an extended period, but that was due to a flat tire at a critical moment. "I experienced a rear tire puncture, and then on the climb that followed, I had a front tire flat as well. I changed the tire again, thinking I would never catch up. It took an entire lap, but fortunately, I was still able to contribute."

According to Mackaij, there was a reason why the Netherlands dictated the pace right from the start: "We had hoped for more wind initially, but there wasn't much. It made things a bit chaotic, but ultimately, we managed to race effectively. Everyone played their part, and that was the plan. As the Netherlands, we can only lose in such a scenario, but today we secured first and second places."

Shirin van Anrooij

Van Anrooij sought redemption in the road race after a disappointing time trial and Mixed Relay earlier in the week. "I found my legs again for the first time this week, so I tried to go with the attacks and consistently rode at the front. Going into the last lap, I was positioned too far back to join the first group, and I regret that. Nevertheless, I did my best for the Netherlands, so I'm very pleased with that."

Van Anrooij gave high praise to Markus, who assumed a leadership role for the team. "She was our captain on the course, and she excelled in that role. The communication was excellent, partly because we always stayed at the front and stayed together. Riejanne mentioned that we needed to apply pressure and set the pace, so if I spotted an opportunity or a gap, I made an effort. As a team, we rode exceptionally well."

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