Dutch national championships could be held abroad to attract stars like Tom Dumoulin

Some feel the flat parcours is hindering the nationals

Tom Dumoulin (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

The Dutch national championships could be taken abroad in the hopes of attracting superstars like Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk.

Jumbo-Visma team manager Richard Plugge has approached the Royal Dutch Cycling Union (KNWU) in the hopes of taking the race elsewhere to offer a route suited to the climbers.

The Netherlands is famed for its flat geography, with 25 per cent of the country either at or below sea level, which means race often swings in favour of the sprinters.

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Plugge, boss of Dutch WorldTour team Jumbo-Visma, told cycling news site Wielerflits (opens in new tab): “An occasional sprint nationals is fine, but not year after year.

“That’s why I’m in favour of the championships on a selective course and as far as I’m concerned it can be held abroad.

“Riders like Steven Kruijswijk now have no chance of a Dutch championship.”

The Dutch governing body for cycling is seriously considering the proposal.

General director of the KNWU Thorwald Veneberg told newspaper AD (opens in new tab): “We already talked to the teams last year about how we can try to make the Dutch championship attractive for riders and teams.

“A nationals in the mountains in Austria or Germany, where you can climb a lot is one of the ideas.

“Race organiser Golazo thought it was a wild and interesting idea. We too find it interesting, but for now and in the coming years we will have our hands full for the Dutch championships.”

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Money is one of the biggest barriers to moving the Dutch nationals abroad, according to Veneberg, as home companies are less likely to invest in a championship held outside of the country.

Cross-discipline star Mathieu van der Poel won the 2018 nationals, beating Danny van Poppel and Ramon Sinkeldam in a bunch sprint from a reduced peloton.

The 2019 event will be held in Ede in the centre of the county.

Jumbo-Visma rider Kruijswijk and Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin are both skipping the race because of the unchallenging parcours.

Star sprinter Dylan Groenewegen will also miss the nationals because it does not fit in with his Tour de France preparation.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.