Famous last words: Ellen Van Dijk

The 27-year-old Dutch world time trial champion talks to CW 
about fame, cooking and her love of racing against the clock

A lot of things changed after I won the World Championships last year. In the world of cycling, more people recognise me, and even outside of the sport I get noticed. I’m still not as famous as Marianne Vos in the Netherlands, though!

I took a while for my victory at the Worlds to sink in. I was so focused on one big goal, and all of a sudden it became reality. I was so motivated about that race, and that day, that you don’t think about what happens next.

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I’m never completely satisfied with my time trial position. I sometimes Google the pictures of Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara to see how they ride! And when there’s a time trial on TV, I love to watch to see how people sit on their bikes, how they corner and all those things. It’s a passion.

I was a speed skater as a child. My two elder brothers, Nico and Peter, joined the local club and I wanted to take part too. I liked being outside, and the thrill of being able to skate on the frozen lakes in the winter was, for me, the greatest thing to do when I was growing up. Once Nico started cycling, 
I wanted to do that, too.

Relaxing is sometimes something I struggle with because cycling is such a big part of my life. My team director from 2013, Ronny Lauke [at Specialized Lululemon] told me that I needed to go out and have fun now and again, instead of just focusing on cycling.

Going to dinner is what I really like doing in my spare time. I just ask people not to talk about cycling. I love food in general — pizza is one of my favourites. I like to cook at home, too. I make a lot of soups from vegetables, and I’m good at making lasagne.

I don’t like action or horror movies. Comedy, drama and romantic movies are my favourites. I’d like to see Catching Fire, the latest in the Hunger Games series, as I missed it when it was out in the cinema. I’ve read the first two books — I like to read, but I don’t give myself too much time to do it.

The signs about the development of women’s cycling are positive. I think the best way to grow it is to have men’s races on at the same time as women’s ones, so you can have the exposure. More interest means more money. More money means that the races, riders and teams become more professional.