The American Dream

Column
17 March 2016

Just after last year’s Tour de France, Laurens ten Dam decided that he wanted to change his life. The Tour hadn’t been successful for him, so he called his manager and told him to stop negotiating with European teams, because he wanted to go to America. Laurens didn’t want to be away from home so often anymore, because he missed his wife and children and wanted them to be the biggest part of his life, instead of cycling. But his manager managed to make him think about a compromise, so Laurens could still ride top races. Team Giant-Alpecin was actually willing to agree to his conditions, so Laurens could live in the States.

Laurens has already lived in Santa Cruz for seven weeks with his family this year. The place is great for cyclists, because there are many cycling shops and brands like Specialized, Giro and Santa Cruz Bicycles are nearby. Laurens would watch the European races early in the morning with his family, then train for a couple of hours and then spend the afternoon with his children on the beach. On certain days, he would join a group of cyclists from the area, who he could ride and sprint with. Laurens sees it as the ideal way to train: he gets to spend time with his family every day ánd gets to train at a top level in a beautiful environment as well. In his opinion, there is no better preparation than that.

Ten Dam never expected that he would become such a great bike rider. His hard work eventually led to a 9th place in the Tour de France of 2014. But it is hard to stay at the top; a lot of sacrifices have to be made to be a top rider. Now, at 35, Laurens looks forward to helping Tom Dumoulin and Warren Barguil in the biggest races of the season. He already trained a lot with Tom in the past, when he was still riding for Team LottoNL – Jumbo, because they both live in Maastricht, in the south of the Netherlands. Tom had already asked him to join his team before,  but when Tom was great in last year’s Vuelta, it became a lot easier to take him on. Because of this chance, ten Dam didn’t have to join JellyBelly or Illuminate. Laurens and his family will return to America again later this year, where they have a perminate place until March. Then the oldest son turns 5 and has to go to school. At the end of the year, Laurens will decide if he will continue for another year or retire from cycling. Hopefully, the former.

Laurens ten Dam America Family

© Instagram Laurens ten Dam

Source: Article about Laurens ten Dam by Daan Hakkenberg in the Dutch newspaper De Stentor of Saturday the 12th of March, 2016.

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