Roosen (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) leaves Visma one year after Teunissen's measure: "This time, Mike is really right" Cycling

Roosen (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) leaves Visma one year after Teunissen's measure: "This time, Mike is really right"

Roosen (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) leaves Visma one year after Teunissen's measure: "This time, Mike is really right"

For nine years, Timo Roosen proudly donned the colors of LottoNL-Jumbo and later Jumbo-Visma. However, in cycling, much like in life, every journey has its conclusion. In early February 2024, he will be seen donning the crisp orange striped kit of DSM-Firmenich PostNL. This marks a significant new chapter for the always amicable Tilburger, and, of course, is eager to learn more!

Roosen's progression within Richard Plugge's team has been nothing short of impressive, evolving into a highly esteemed cyclist over the years. Already in his second year as a full-time professional, he earned the opportunity to compete in the Tour de France. In his initial seasons, he became a prominent figure in both Dylan Groenewegen's sprint train and Jumbo's classic core. Despite fewer opportunities arising as the team shifted focus towards stage races, Roosen remained an integral part of the squad.

With nine years of valuable experience, notable top-five finishes in races such as GP Quebec and Montreal, and, of course, the victory at the 2021 Dutch National Championship, Roosen now embarks on a new journey with another prominent Dutch team: DSM-Firmenich PostNL. Here, he is poised to take on key responsibilities from the outset. On paper, it appears to be a promising match, but how will this translate on the asphalt remains to be seen.

Roosen (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) leaves Visma one year after Teunissen's measure: "This time, Mike is really right"

Timo, after nine years with Jumbo-Visma, you're now part of a different team. Is everything completely different?

"It's different, but not that much. There are different people, but the way of working doesn't differ that much. It's all structured, much like it was at Jumbo-Visma. Other than that, you're just talking about different clothes, a different bike... those things. But in the end, it all comes down to hard pedaling just the same."

How was the goodbye?

"I got overtrained at one point, and it all went a bit haywire, so it wasn't quite... I had hoped that I could still achieve some really nice things with the team, but it didn't work out because I was messed up. That was a pity. I would have liked to finish much better. The team finish was very nice, but still special. It feels like family after nine years, so you notice what you leave behind. I cherish that."

It's another Dutch team, so you already know those guys too. Were you consciously looking for that Dutch environment?

"Not necessarily, actually. It did play a little bit; of course, it makes it a bit easier. There are a lot of foreigners in the team, especially in the staff. At Jumbo-Visma, it was much more Dutch, actually."

Did you notice any difference? Last year, for example, Mike Teunissen was in the same position at Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, and he noticed it on some small details, he said at the time.

"Pfoe, good question. Mike said that well; put that in. I always totally agree with that guy. (laughs) He's my size, of course. But this time he is really right: with more money, it is also easier to arrange things. You can take on more staff; things like that come into play. And they did that well at Jumbo too, by working in a structured way, achieving the goals, and making more money. However, the difference is not that big."

Roosen (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) leaves Visma one year after Teunissen's measure: "This time, Mike is really right"

How did this transfer come about exactly? Did you grow disinterested with Jumbo-Visma, or did Jumbo-Visma feel the same way about you? Alternatively, did DSM-Firmenich PostNL, or even Fabio Jakobsen, present a compelling plan or offer?

"I had a one-year contract, so I needed to explore other options. We hadn't engaged in serious discussions with Jumbo-Visma yet, so we were exploring alternative possibilities. Additionally, I liked the idea of taking on a different role. Often, I found myself racing earlier in the season, which wasn't surprising given Jumbo-Visma's selection. DSM-Firmenich PostNL then presented an offer, and after sitting down with Rudi Kemna and Roy Curvers, I became enthusiastic. It aligned with my vision, presenting a very appealing challenge.

I wanted to shift my focus back to sprinting instead of the classics. It seemed like a lot of fun, especially with Fabio, who is undoubtedly a world-class sprinter. With him and a few other guys, we can aim for victories."

You've signed a three-year contract, a clear sign of confidence.

"I believe so too. With Jumbo-Visma, I had a one-year deal, but it didn't stress me much. I race to the best of my abilities, but ultimately, a three-year contract allows for more long-term planning. It brings a sense of stability."

How do you envision working with Fabio, especially considering your successful partnership with Dylan Groenewegen?

"Every rider is unique, so it will never be exactly the same. The dynamics were different, and it was quite a while ago. Sprinting has evolved as well, but my role will be slightly different. With Dylan, I was often the last man; now, I'm typically the penultimate rider, with Tobias Lund Andresen behind me at the beginning of the season. The process remains the same, though. Just like with Dylan, we aim to build a strong team."

In what ways are sprints different now?

"I think it was chaotic back then too, but now, early points in the race are increasingly crucial. Sacrifices are made, making it rare to see a perfect lead-out. There's even more chaos now, so to speak."

Does your role as the penultimate man become more critical, especially because you need to make decisions in that chaotic environment?

"Exactly, you need to maintain calmness. DSM-Firmenich PostNL mentioned in recent years that keeping calm was challenging for eager riders, and they sought experience. That's where we come in. These are essential aspects, and the younger guys will learn from it. The combination of experience and youth is excellent."

How pivotal is Fabio in all of this? Is he someone who generally knows exactly what he wants?

"Absolutely, he's very outspoken. He'll articulate precisely what he needs, and that's great. Even if it's not perfect, we can discuss it, and that contributes to our collective improvement."

Will we see you in both the Giro and the Tour with Fabio?

"I'm confirmed for the Giro, and I'm on the longlist for the Tour. If I can prove myself, that's also a possibility. I'll kick off in Oman, then the UAE Tour, and subsequently, a few races leading up to the Giro."

Roosen (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) leaves Visma one year after Teunissen's measure: "This time, Mike is really right"

So you seem to be omitting the classics, while in the recent past, you achieved some impressive results there yourself?

"There are several standout riders, and that changes things, especially because they often make those races incredibly challenging. It didn't play a significant role, but I simply liked the idea of being able to focus on one thing. While a combination of sprints and classics is feasible, training for the classics requires a considerable effort nowadays. As a sprinter, you can take it a bit easier, so I prefer to concentrate on one thing."

Will you then kick off with a strong start right away? And are the challenges you were grappling with at the end of last year at Jumbo completely resolved?

"I began training a bit later this time, so that was a bit frustrating. Every time I attempted to ramp up, I noticed lingering fatigue. It persisted, and at the training camp in December, I managed to keep up somewhat, but then I contracted COVID-19 again. So, it's been a bit of a struggle, but now things are heading in the right direction. It hasn't been flawless so far, but now I aim to progress towards top form."

How crucial is it for the team to start well immediately?

"Everyone wants to secure victories early on, but it's not something we can take for granted. Not everything falls into place instantly; it takes time to establish habits. It's a point we've discussed – not to expect everything to unfold smoothly right from the start. It's a process, and those initial races are part of it. It's not a given that everything will go perfectly immediately, but we prefer it that way. We are realistic; things might go wrong too."

How did 2024 unfold for you?

"That's a good question. The most crucial aspect is that we have a fantastic train ready, with the ultimate goal of becoming the best train in the world. Is that realistic? Perhaps not, but I do believe we can make significant strides. And I think we've had a good start."

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