Season Reflections: Team Parkhotel Valkenburg

Dec 30, 2021
UCI Women’s Continental squad, Team Parkhotel Valkenburg have been a consistent force on the women’s pro tour since their establishment in 2013. Since then, they have only continued to improve and strengthen each season, standing by their ambition to develop the next generation of riders with a strong focus on providing a platform for young talent to learn and make their mark against the world’s best.

Through 2021, the highly ambitious team continued to turn heads against some of the sports leading World Tour squads, rounding out the season with a string of top results and five impressive victories at UCI races. Most importantly, they grew greatly in confidence, skill and strength, leaving the talented team of youngsters hungry for more and raring to go for 2022.

We have been the proud technical partner of Parkhotel Valkenburg since 2019 and look forward to continuing our partnership with the determined Dutch team through 2022.

Here, Team Sports Director, Raymond Rol, reflects on the 2021 season and shares some insight into the team goals for 2022.
Photo by Bastien Gason

WORDS BY RAYMOND ROL

To witness the career beginnings of many young talents at Team Parkhotel Valkenburg makes me very happy and is the reason why I love doing what I do. The team focus this season was again on developing upcoming riders and giving them the best tools to do so. Being a development team means working with a young group of riders who are all super motivated and high in energy. Although competing at World Tour level was challenging and a new shock to the system for most of our riders, they showed great resilience in battling against world-class riders year-round. The positive vibe of this group resulted in strong performances and team experiences throughout the season. Despite the pandemic, we were very pleased to still be able to ungergo a very extensive international race program.

Seeing the riders continuously surprise themselves this season made me really proud. For me, those are the best moments in this sport…

The major highlight of this season was hands down winning two races on one single day. Mischa Bredewold won a stage in the UCI 2.1 Baloise Ladies Tour with a superbly timed late race attack. Then to top it off, simultaneously in the Czech republic, Nina Buijsman sprinted to victory at the UCI 2.2 Tour de Feminin. What a day it was!

Those special moments of success give such a huge confidence boost to the team. Those are the day’s that keep our spirits high and the ones that we fight for all season. When the hard work pays off with a victory, it makes all the sacrifice worth it. To add – the energy and enthusiasm that comes with this team’s constant fighting spirit is contagious. And this was reflected greatly in the results and the way our riders performed and continued to rise to the occasion.

 

Photo by Cor Vos

Photo by Bastien Gason

As a young team, the riders were understandably a little shy at first, but they impressively adapted very quickly to the highest level of women’s cycling. There was a pivotal point turning point early season where they were no longer intimidated by the bigger, more experienced teams, but solely focused on riding their own race with their own plan of action, resulting in an attractive form of racing. And with that came results.

The team quickly started to get noticed for our attacking style of racing across Europe. In the end, we rounded out the year with a 15th place in the UCI rankings which we can walk away proud of. Behind nine World Tour teams, Parkhotel Valkenburg left a promising impression for next year, now full of confidence and motivation leading into the 2022 season.

The preparations for 2022 are now in full swing. We had our first get together mid December for a team training camp in Spain which was a great success. With a handful of new riders joining us in 2022, the main goal was team building and base training, meaning long hours in the saddle together to lay the foundation for the new season. In February the team will return to Spain for some more structured, intense work leading into the first races of the season.

Looking ahead to next year, our mission will be to ride cohesively and aggressively. We want to be seen riding as a team by sponsors, fans and followers. Riding for what we are worth in the hardest World Tour races, and competing for podium places and victories in smaller UCI races. I strongly believe that this group of riders is ready to take the next step in their development. Not only physically, but also to improve tactically. Of course, winning races is part of that…The goal is to win five or more races in 2022. It’s a challenging target, but not impossible and I think that from what we’ve seen this year, our riders are more than capable of delivering. Whatever the outcome may be, the most important thing is the individual development of each rider. When they go on to make the next step as cyclists at the end of the year, I’ll be more than proud to say we have had a successful season.

Photo by Bastien Gason

With the addition of five strong new riders to the roster, this will definitely give the team a boost in strength. Demi de Jong is highly motivated for next season and adds a wealth of experience having raced professionally for eight consecutive seasons. Professional triathlon, Quinty Schoens is new to the cycling peloton, however she has proven her talent in triathlon, and I have a feeling she will be our dark horse. Then we have Rosalie van der Wolf who will build on her capabilities in heavier races, and 18-year-old Marith Vanhove who is a rider to keep your eye on in the future. Her fast legs are made for mass sprints and we look forward to seeing what she is capable of in the elite peloton. Last but not least, Anne van Rooijen will complete the roster, and will no doubt shine over hillier terrain in the coming years.

We are excited for what next season will bring and we are grateful for Factor’s belief and trust in this beautiful young team. Without our sponsors and partners, we could not make this happen. As a team, we can’t wait to start racing again!

Photo by Cor Vos

2022 TEAM LINE-UP:

Anne van Rooijen 🇳🇱
Belle de Gast 🇳🇱
Demi de Jong 🇳🇱
Femke Gerritse 🇳🇱
Femke Markus 🇳🇱
Julia van Bokhoven 🇳🇱
Kirstie van Haaften 🇳🇱
Leonie Bos 🇳🇱
Lieke de Nooijen 🇳🇱
Marith Vanhove 🇧🇪
Mischa Bredewold 🇳🇱
Pien Limpens 🇳🇱
Quinty Schoens 🇳🇱
Rosalie van der Wolf 🇳🇱
Sofie van Rooijen 🇳🇱

We look forward to seeing Parkhotel Valkenburg continue their rise to success in 2022. Follow them to keep up to date with their season progress and race updates:

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