Season 2016 is done. A great year with several ups and downs; victory at the Dutch Championships, stage victories at Tour de France, the crash in the Tour de France, a very successful Giro d’Italia, a disappointed World Championships and of course silver at the Olympics.
The Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was definitely one of my highlights of 2016. It was a unique experience and I’m glad that I chased my Olympic dream. One of the things that made the Olympics so special was the Olympic village where we ‘lived’ with all the athletes from all over the world in a few square kilometers with huge dining rooms, laundry rooms etc.
It wasn’t that easy for me to just say "I circle my whole focus around Rio in 2016 because that is my dream". You have to understand that the sponsors of the team don't get any exposure from that because sponsoring is mostly blocked from the Olympics and a focus on a GC would be better for the WorldTour points. So I'm very grateful that Team Giant-Alpecin has fully supported me and that I could chase my Olympic dream.
Cyclist of the Year
In November I received the 'Cyclist of the Year' award for the third consecutive time! I’m very honoured especially because it was such a succesfull year for Dutch cycling with the victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Wout Poels), the almost GC victory at Giro d'Italia (Steven Kruijswijk), the victory at Clásica San Sebastian (Bauke Mollema), the stage victory at the Vuelta (Robert Gesink) and many more. We can be proud of our small country!
Click here to see a few pictures of some highlights of this season. Looking forward to 2017!