This year the Ronde van Overijssel, a road race in the east of the Netherlands, will take place for the 63rd time. Just like last year, the race will take up two days: on Friday the 1st of May the women will ride their race (1.1) and on Saturday the 2nd of May, the man will hit the eastern roads. On Thursday the 5th of March 2015, the annual cycling café was held in Markelo, this year’s ‘town of the Ronde’.
The race director, Rik Reinerink, told the public at the cycling café that the men’s race is popular; every year there are a lot of applications to participate in the race and since this year, the Topcompetition – a classification in the Netherlands – has returned and the Ronde is also part of it. So it is not a surprise that there are twenty teams on the provisional startlist. However, trying to pursue women’s teams to participate in the race is a lot harder. Last year the first women’s race of the Ronde van Overijssel took place and it was very successful.
But on the 2nd of May there are more women’s races on the calendar and because women’s teams in Europe are scarce, it was hard to get them to Twente. For example, Liv-Plantur – with riders such as Amy Pieters and Lucy Garner – won’t come to Overijssel. Also, Marianne Vos won’t be present, although her team – Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team – will come. Topriders such as Chloe Hosking (WHT), Jolien D’Hoore (WHT), Kirsten Wild (HPU), Marijn de Vries (PHV), Roxane Knetemann (RBW) and Elisabeth Armitstead (DLT) are on the provisional startlist.
The town of the Ronde, Markelo, is known for its love of cycling. Every year the Ronde van Markelo, a local criterium, takes place and attracts a lot of people. Bert Boom, a former cyclist, is from Markelo and Eppie ten hove from the local cycling foundation and Jan Smale from the tourclub Markelo do everything to motivate young talent and getting people energized for cycling in Twente.
Henk Schippers from the new Dutch ProContinental Team Roompot Oranje Peloton was also present at the cycling café. In 2013, the idea arose to create a new team that would be 100% orange (Dutch) together with Michael Zijlaard, Erik Breukink, Michael Boogerd and Jean-Paul van Poppel. Schippers had been active in the cycling industry for over 20 years and had the time to use his network. The UCI rules are complex, but they managed to conform to these rules and form a solid team with 12 first-year professionals. As of now, the team has already participated in various spring classics, such as the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Amstel Gold Race.
Of course Han Vaanhold, sports director at the Dutch Continental Team Jo Piels, was also present at the cycling café. Vaanhold is a very motivated and passionate sports director. However, he never wanted to become a professional and works in education. “I don’t know the ins and outs,” says the man from Haaksbergen.
Cycling Team Jo Piels has been a breeding ground for young talents for years now; many riders transferred to professional teams in the past. Last year, two riders left for Team Roompot. Vaanhold mostly doesn’t pick a leader, but tells his riders to “show themselves”. “Everyone has the opportunity to grab chances,” according to Vaanhold.
One of the riders of Vaanhold is Joey van Rhee, who devotes his life completely to cycling for the first time this season. He has graduated from college, spent 3 years at the Metec team and is now with Jo Piels. “I feel at home here,” Joey says at the cycling café. In 2015 he wants to show his talent. Also for his there’s the chance to become a procyclist. “I’ll give it my all.” During the Dutch nationals, which take place in Emmen this year, Vaanhold and his team want to benefit from the rivalry between teams. The race will probably end in a mass sprint, but “our intention is to create a show and turn it into a beautiful race”.
More information about the Ronde van Overijssel is available in Dutch at www.rondevanoverijssel.nl. The women’s race will start on Friday afternoon at a quarter to four at the Parkgebouw in Rijssen and the finish will take place at about half past seven. The men will start the next morning at twelve o’clock and finish at around ten to five on the Wijnand Zeeuwstraat in Rijssen.