Amalie Dideriksen: cycling's newest sensation
Who is Amalie Dideriksen? The youngest world champion since Marianne Vos, Denmark’s new title holder may just be the best rider you’ve never heard of.
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As the 2016 women’s World Championship road race entered its final kilometres the Danish TV commentators were losing heart.
Desperately searching for their hope Amalie Dideriksen, only her two team-mates could be seen, both nestling near the back of the peloton.
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In the final kilometre they spotted her. Safe near the front throughout the race, 20-year-old Dideriksen was giving a lesson in positioning, surfing the wheels of the Dutch team, whose leader Kirsten Wild was the red hot favourite.
Only in the final metres did she put her nose in the wind, almost nonchalantly passing her rival to cross the line first.
Calm and unflustered, Dideriksen talks like she sprints. When she listens, her clear blue eyes engage confidently; when she speaks, there is no evidence of ego.
“I don’t know how I do it,” she tells CW, as if she’d asked herself the question.
“Maybe a bit from the track, staying calm and not starting [the sprint] too early.
"But when you’re out there, there is a different mind. My mentality changes a bit, I am all about the sprint, all about the line.”
Though it would have been as hard to find her near the top of a list of Doha favourites as it was to spot her in the peloton, Dideriksen has form in the World Championships.
Her 2015 move to the Boels-Dolmans team came off the back of consecutive junior World Championship victories.
Of those two titles, the second in Ponferrada, where she patiently negotiated the bunch sprint, gave the greatest clue to the young Dane’s abilities.
Born near Copenhagen, where she still lives with her parents, Dideriksen grew frustrated watching her brother race, so took up cycling aged seven, competing in her first race two years later.
Competing on road and track ever since, it was the latter where her 2016 ambitions truly lay.
Tenth place in the World Championship omnium showed progression after placing down the order in the three-round World Cup, but it was her fifth position in Rio, just 10 points outside the medals, that proved her promise.
Throughout this she maintained her form on the road with Boels-Dolmans.
“I got the programme I wanted,” she explains.
“I wanted to do the Giro and came out of it really strong. I tried not to go too deep, but I did my job every day. I was always focused on the Olympics, but from there the season continues.”
She has barely stopped since.
Before the Worlds she won a stage of the Holland Ladies Tour and since Doha she has been winning national track titles, competing in the Revolution series and beating Katie Archibald at the Berlin Six-Day.
The youngest world champion since Marianne Vos she may be, but in a team such as Boels-Dolmans opportunities may not match her world champion status.
“She won the Worlds because she is so talented,” explains team manager Danny Stam.
“But to be honest she missed a step [in her career] and we must not forget to put that step in just because she is wearing the rainbow jersey.”
Dideriksen herself is realistic, hoping to continue her progression:
“I will continue my track and road combination, they are the disciplines that suit me, but this year I will slow down on the track, though it is something I will take up again.”
On the biography page of the Boels-Dolmans website Dideriksen, still the youngest rider on the team, says her ambition for 2017 is to prove her rainbow jersey is no fluke.
So is it?
“I hope not,” she smiles. “I think I can be really good in the sprints.”
Don’t bet against it.
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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