On Saturday, Shirin van Anrooij made her return to the field in Boom, after being absent for one and a half months. The Baloise Trek Lions lady finished ninth in the Superprestige leg, a ranking we might not be used to from her. IDLProCycling.com caught up with the ever spontaneous Dutch rider after the race!
After a long period of Spanish sun, Van Anrooij now had to face the Belgian cold. Despite visibly shivering, she took the time to extensively answer questions after the race. "It's a wake-up call. I didn't quite know what to expect, but after three weeks of training, it was really a shock. From the start, I was in pursuit because they crashed into the fences in front of me and I couldn't go anywhere. Then I actually caught up with the group fighting for fifth and sixth place, but then I had another fall and they were gone," she recounts her race.
"I noticed that I'm still a bit of a diesel," concludes Van Anrooij. "I can maintain the same pace for a long time, but those accelerations are not working yet. In cyclo-cross, you really need racing rhythm, while on the road you can hide a bit more. There you can just sit in the peloton, but here that's not going to work. After this weekend, I will continue training."
So what feeling does Shirin, who will also ride in Flamanville on Sunday, have about Saturday's performance? "I'm not disappointed, but I noticed that that explosive start isn't there yet and that it didn't really work out. Without that fall, I would have been competing for fifth place, which was still okay. I want more than a ninth or tenth place."
Van Anrooij wants more, but realizes it might take some time
The cold didn't help either, Van Anrooij admitted afterwards. All in all, there is a lot of room for improvement, which she viewed positively. "It's a big adjustment, especially because in Spain, I was working mainly on the basics. I started from scratch there, as I entered my rest period in very bad form. Then I started building things up again and I knew it would go fast. It's really nice to be back, but of course, I want more. Last year I was competing for the win and that is the goal now too, but I think I need to be patient until the end of December," said Van Anrooij, who evidently also acknowledged the dominance of Fem van Empel.