Tudor Project Cancellara further solidifies towards Giro: "lots of compliments within the peloton" from Van Aert and co Cycling

Tudor Project Cancellara further solidifies towards Giro: "lots of compliments within the peloton" from Van Aert and co

Tudor Project Cancellara further solidifies towards Giro: "lots of compliments within the peloton" from Van Aert and co

Fabian Cancellara's Tudor Pro Cycling Team is making significant progress. The team, now in its second year at the ProContinental level, is taking a gradual approach, which will see it compete in the Giro d'Italia for the first time next May. Several Dutch riders have made valuable contributions to this success, as demonstrated once again on Tuesday in Romandie with Maikel Zijlaard's victory. IDLProCycling.com caught up with his fellow countrymen and teammates Rick Pluimers and Arvid de Kleijn!

While last season the team was somewhat of a newcomer at the ProContinental level, this season saw the establishment of a solid organization with 28 riders. With the addition of riders like Matteo Trentin, Alberto Dainese, and Michael Storer, the team has enhanced its quality and quantity. This progress has been evident to Zijlaard, Pluimers, and De Kleijn since last year, and will continue at least until 2026.

"It's a win for myself, but also for the team," exclaimed 24-year-old rider Zijlaard after securing his first WorldTour victory at the Tour of Romandy. "We've been working towards this as a collective effort. It's gratifying to demonstrate our capabilities as a team here. I'm immensely grateful to the entire squad," said the Rotterdam native, who, with the Tudor brand adorning his chest and Cancellara leading the team, embodies the ethos of time trial racing.

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Tudor Project Cancellara further solidifies towards Giro: "lots of compliments within the peloton" from Van Aert and co

De Kleijn understands what Zijlaard is experiencing now: he secured his first WorldTour victory in Paris-Nice in early March after eleven previous wins. Subsequently, the amiable sprinter was regularly introduced at every classic as "the rider who clinched a stage win in Paris-Nice," which naturally brought him joy each time. Winning a stage in Paris-Nice is undoubtedly fantastic, so it's nice to be reminded of such an achievement in crowded squares. However, it doesn't suddenly change who I am as a person. The only notable difference is the increase in media requests, but I find that enjoyable. So, I'm quite happy with it!

De Kleijn opened Tudor WorldTour tally: "Relief was very significant"

Zijlaard, as well as Pluimers, also savored that prestigious victory in the Race to the Sun. "That win in Paris-Nice was fantastic," he said with a smile when we asked him about it. "In the AlUla Tour, things didn't go quite right, but then in the UAE Tour, we got our act together. Three second places are very respectable, but it's frustrating when you just miss out. The sense of relief in Paris-Nice was immense, especially considering our performance. What we achieved there was dominant. As a procontinental team, our lead-out was exceptional," he reflected, looking back on that day with satisfaction.

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From De Kleijn - as well as his teammates Zijlaard and Pluimers - we shouldn't expect him to get ahead of himself. After all, all three men reached the WorldTour level via a circuitous route. "I don't dwell on that too much because I just want to focus on doing my thing. If you dwell on it too much, you can drive yourself crazy. I want to be up there again, even among the big names. These are tough finishes, which can also be a bit risky at times. We'll see if I can make it, but with my teammates around me, I have full confidence," he referred to his fellow countrymen and teammates.

"Having those guys around me is crucial. I usually have the same three guys - Maikel, Rick, and Sebastian Kolze Changizi - with me, who occasionally rotate. But in Paris-Nice, Trentin was also there. All these guys are incredibly important to me. Wherever I go, Maikel goes too. So he is - almost literally - like a bodyguard for me, which is great," said De Kleijn, who was also the first to congratulate his friend after Zijlaard's victory on Tuesday. "I'm so proud of him. He always gives his all in the lead-out, and now he clinches such a win. Beyond proud!"

Tudor aims for the long term: "Want to grow into a very big team"

That Tudor now boasts two WorldTour victories and is gearing up for the Giro is well deserved. And if De Kleijn's words are anything to go by, the team is aiming even higher. Tudor aims to become a major team. "We have the financial means for it, given our long-term vision. Eventually, we aim to break into the WorldTour, and everyone sees that progress is being made, which also involves recruiting riders at a higher level. That's only positive," the sprinter remarked.

Pluimers echoes this sentiment wholeheartedly. "There's a solid plan in place, and we're cautious not to take overly ambitious steps. Last year, given the team's composition, it was wise to focus on the races we did. Now, with Trentin onboard, for example, we can take another step forward. I anticipate we can take another stride forward next year, so that's the objective. We aspire to be among the top pro-continental teams," he explained. "And to achieve that, we need riders who can secure points. While we don't have a clear endpoint in sight, we certainly aim to continue growing."

Trentin, with seven years at Quick-Step, two years at Greenedge, a season at CCC, and four years at UAE-Team Emirates, brings a wealth of experience to the team. "Matteo is highly experienced, and there's a lot we can learn from him. He's fully embracing that role and is keen to share his knowledge with us. Besides mentoring us, he's also aiming for results himself," Pluimers elaborated. Following in the Italian's footsteps, Alberto Dainese was recruited as a second sprinter. "I see this as a very positive development," concurred De Kleijn. "It signifies growth for the team, and personally, I'm on board with that. Year by year, I'm making strides, as evident to everyone. Despite turning 30, I don't feel like it's the end for me. I've yet to ride for a big team, so I believe there's still room for growth," De Kleijn concluded.

Read more below the photo.

Tudor Project Cancellara further solidifies towards Giro: "lots of compliments within the peloton" from Van Aert and co

It's precisely those Italians who ensure that we won't see the Dutch trident in the Giro. "Alberto will likely ride the Giro. He had a bit of a rough patch with a facial injury, but I've heard he's recovering well. So, I expect him to participate in the Giro and achieve good results. As for myself, I'm scheduled for Hungary, Veenendaal, Mayenne, ZLM, and the NK," De Kleijn stated.

Pluimers had to end his first classic campaign prematurely. "I crashed in Milan-Sanremo just before the Capo Berta. It was a minor fall involving Van Dijek and Beullens, among others, but I landed awkwardly on my knee. After that, I decided to pull out of the race because it was hurting. Initially, it didn't seem serious, but it worsened over time. After the Tour of Flanders, we had it checked, and it turned out I had bursitis and my kneecap was bruised," explained the rider who achieved several honorable finishes last year.

Van Aert also had kind words for Tudor: "Receiving many compliments from the peloton"

Overall, it should be clear: Tudor is here to stay, and in the upcoming Giro, we'll see some of that for the first time in a major tour. The fact that the team is building has also earned compliments from unexpected quarters: Wout van Aert was asked by Het Nieuwsblad in February which team he could see himself racing for (besides Visma | Lease a Bike). "I find that a very difficult question. I might say something strange, but I would say a team in the Tudor or Uno-X genre. Two teams with a good structure and young guys. Then I would rather look at later in my career, in a role as a mentor, a bit like Trentin now with Tudor. Preferably with a team where there are still possibilities, both in terms of budget and approach. That does look good there," the Belgian replied.

We confronted Trentin about it the very next week. "That's very nice to hear. I enjoy it very much, and the structure at Tudor really appeals to me. It's very professional, especially for a smaller team. There are still many things that can be improved and changed a bit, but the basis is there," the Italian said. Pluimers also read those words with pleasure. "Those are nice things to hear. We get a lot of compliments from the peloton, that it all looks tight and well-organized. And it certainly is on the inside as well."

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