Tim van Dijke wants to continue upward trend in ZLM Tour

Tim van Dijke wants to continue upward trend in ZLM Tour

The Dutch province of Zeeland will host the opening stages of the ZLM Tour this week. The first two stages through the Zeeland landscape mean home races for the brothers Mick and Tim van Dijke. For the latter, the ZLM Tour is an excellent opportunity to build towards the next month and the remainder of the season. He saw his spring season essentially spoiled by a knee injury.

During the last edition of the Dutch multi-day race in 2019, Team Jumbo-Visma almost completely dominated the race. The riders in the yellow-and-black jersey won no fewer than four of the five stages, with Mike Teunissen taking the overall win.

Three years ago, in 2019, Tim van Dijke had hardly ridden any road races. The talent from Zeeland was mainly making a name for himself on mountain bikes, together with his twin brother Mick. In 2020, both young riders made the step to Jumbo-Visma Development Team. A year later, the Van Dijke brothers won the Dutch junior titles on the road and in the time trial. Mick became time trial champion and Tim came second. A few days later, the roles were reversed and Tim won the red, white and blue jersey. Mick had to settle for silver with great pleasure.

In the months following the Dutch championships, things went fast for both riders from Zeeland. Both were selected for the U23 World Championships in Leuven. Three weeks earlier, Mick's professional dream had already come true. A few months later, on 1 January of this year, Tim transferred to Team Jumbo-Visma's pro branch.

For Tim van Dijke, his first experiences as a pro were very pleasant. "It was the first time I had less competition in the winter than before. In previous years I was also active on the cross-country bike. I put it aside last winter to focus on the road. That worked out well. I was able to train well and work hard on my condition. The cross-country camp with the U23 team and the training on the road bike have contributed to that."

A good start, but soon Van Dijke suffered a setback. "During a training ride in Spain, I crashed. It didn't look like a significant crash, but I had a nasty bump on my knee. As a result, I had to quit the training camp prematurely. It turned out to be the start of a long period of disappointments. It took a long time before I could rebuild; I could not train properly for two or three months. That meant a significant setback, but the team supported me well. We solved the problem quietly and without rushing. It mainly involved a lot of rest."

"You don't often ride a race in your training area. I know every square metre there."

Tim van Dijke

In April, Van Dijke could normally train again. A month later, he made his professional debut in the Tour of Hungary. "It gave me a good feeling to ride in the peloton again. I can compare it with cows that are finally allowed to go out again after a long winter. The fact that we hit it off immediately in the first stage with Olav gave me a good feeling. I also did my bit in that stage and didn't want to go along for nothing. Unfortunately for our team, the Tour of Hungary did not end as desired, but in the context of my development, it was a good race."

In the period after Hungary, Van Dijke noticed that he quickly made huge steps. He will take that good feeling to the upcoming races, starting with the ZLM Tour. The reigning Dutch U23 champion will ride two stages in his home province of Zeeland. "I notice that I am getting stronger and stronger. My form is not yet top, but I keep working hard and doing what I have to do. Race rhythm also plays a role in that. The ZLM Tour can certainly help. It is nice to race in Zeeland. I am pleased about that. You don't often ride a race in your training area. I know every square metre there. Friends and acquaintances also come to watch, which is, of course, a great incentive. In sporting terms, we hope to compete for stage wins with Olav, but he is coming back from an ugly crash in Hungary and he also crashed in the Heistse Pijl last weekend. We'll have to wait and see how that works out."

The national championships are scheduled for later this month. June brings back great memories for Van Dijke. "Those championships mean a lot to me. Last year I was in excellent shape for the first time, which led to me winning the titles together with Mick. Those are memories for life and nobody can take them away from us. As twins, it can't get any better, as far as I'm concerned."

In addition to the Van Dijke brothers, Team Jumbo-Visma will also be present in their own country with Olav Kooij, Lars Boven, Jos van Emden, Tosh Van der Sande and Michel Hessmann.

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