Week after week, Marijn van den Berg proves that he is much more than just a hill sprinter Cycling

Week after week, Marijn van den Berg proves that he is much more than just a hill sprinter

Week after week, Marijn van den Berg proves that he is much more than just a hill sprinter

Marijn van den Berg is increasingly proving that he is more than just a strong sprinter (as if that wasn't already clear). This was evident again in both the Flèche Brabançonne and the Amstel Gold Race, where he contended for some beautiful honorary finishes.

Let's go back to the beginning of 2024. Van den Berg is ready for his third year in the WorldTour, also his third in the versatile colors of the EF team. In 2022, but especially in 2023, he had already demonstrated several times that he is a great talent. Initially, mostly by raking in honorary finishes, but in 2023 he achieved his first three pro victories: the Trofeo Ses Salines in Mallorca, the opening stage of the Route d'Occitanie and stage five in the Tour of Poland. Not to mention all his honorary finishes. He also rode his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España.

Van den Berg recovered relatively quickly from concussion: victories in Catalonia and France

"I want to get better right away, but actually, I just want to do as well as possible in every race," he told IDLProCycling.com at the beginning of January. "I also think it's important to get back into that flow right away. Not just for myself, but for the whole team. Last year I noticed that it makes a difference when everyone in the team starts off well. The team now also knows that I'm not a typical sprinter, I need a tougher race and then being in a smaller group. Normally, I'm the fastest man on the team, but we don't have many fast men."

And Van den Berg certainly started 2024 off well. In Mallorca and Portugal, he was often close, and in March, he hit the mark in the Tour of Catalonia. In the sprint, of course, which also happened in the first and last stage of the Région Pays de la Loire Tour (he also won the overall classification there). "This victory is more a team victory than my own. I've never seen anything like it, how we made this happen as a team," he praised his teammates at the time in France.

So we could conclude that Van den Berg, born in the Dutch town of De Meern, started the classics off with a lot of confidence. Earlier, he was an outsider in Milan-San Remo, but a crash in the Tour of the Algarve threw a wrench in the works. The young Dutchman struggled with a concussion. "I was out for quite a while with that concussion. I just noticed that I wasn't sharp," he told our website in Italy. It was only afterwards - once he had properly recovered - that he was strong as ever and clinched those victories we just talked about in Catalonia and France.

Sharp in the Flèche Brabançonne and Amstel Gold Race

In the Tour of Flanders, he finished fifty-fourth, but it was the Flèche Brabançonne in particular that seemed tailor-made for him. And that was correct, as Van den Berg was in the leading group, which ultimately even contested the victory. On paper, he was the fastest man and seemed to be waiting for his sprint, but at one point near Overijse, he was on a gap and started a solo attempt. That failed, leaving him without an advantage in the sprint, won by Benoit Cosnefroy. Understandably, he was very disappointed. "Just last week, I beat Cosnefroy in France, so to now watch him win the sprint here..." Unambiguous words when he spoke to IDLProCycling.com, among others.

Nevertheless, Van den Berg was headed to the Amstel Gold Race with a lot of ambition. A race that should also suit him, partly driven by the ever so enthusiastic home crowd. Indeed, Van den Berg was once again alert and at the front. In the finale, however, he crashed in a turn, so he had to initiate a chase to try to recover from that. He managed to return, ultimately finishing eleventh in Amstel. You could also say second in the peloton sprint (behind Michael Matthews). Considering that crash, that is particularly impressive. "Of course, I'm really disappointed about that crash," we heard a somewhat downcast Van den Berg say. "But it was very special that all the guys were working for me. I felt good, so we discussed it and made the decision as a team. Also, the fact that I could race in front of so many Dutch fans was special."

In short, week after week, Van den Berg proves that he is much more than just a hill sprinter. It is still unclear which races the 24-year-old from Utrecht will compete in over the coming months, but it's clear that he will be out there again. And that is wonderful news!

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