Mirjam Melchers to take baby break
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mirjam Melchers to take baby break

by Ben Atkins at 10:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Dutch Cervélo rider to take time off to start a family

mirjam melchersCervélo TestTeam rider Mirjam Melchers is to take a break from competition as she is expecting her first baby at the end of the year. The 34-year-old Dutchwoman, who enjoyed most of her considerable success in the first half of the decade, is hanging up her wheels for a while as she moves into a new phase of her life.

Melchers boasts an impressive palmares, which includes two victories in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (2005 and 2006). She also won the Primavera Rosa, the short-lived Milano-Sanremo for women, in 2002 and Castilla y León World Cup in 2003. Her success was not confined to single day races though as she won the Thüringen Rundfahrt and the Giro dell Alto Adige in 2001, and the Holland Ladies Tour in 2000 and 2004.

A multipe Dutch national time trial champion, Melchers was also the road champion in 2000. She also took silver in the road World Championships in Hamilton, Canada in 2003, winning the bunch sprint behind Sweden’s Susanne Ljungskog.

Melchers’ career was interrupted by a serious crash in the 2006 Euregio Tour, where she broke her pelvis and jaw. She successfully recovered from her injuries but had, in truth, struggled to recapture her previous form.

Like many of her countrywomen, Melchers has also been a successful cyclocross racer. She has been Dutch national champion twice, in 2004 and 200X, and took the World Championship bronze medal in 2005.

It was rumoured that she may have retired at the end of last season whne the Flexpoint team, where she had ridden since 2005, folded. She instead took the chance to join her husband and long time director sportif Jean-Paul Van Poppel at the Cervélo TestTeam, where she has been sharing the wisdom of her experience with the team’s young riders.

With physiological differences allowing women’s careers to often last much longer than men’s (legendary French rider Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli is still racing at the top of the sport at the age of 51!), this does not necessarily mean a complete end to the Dutchwoman’s career.

With the baby still six months away it’s a little early to hypothesise over its likely cycling prowess; children born from two successful cyclists are rare though, with one prominent example being Taylor Phinney, the son of Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter. Van Poppel does have a son from his first marriage, Boy Van Poppel, who was the 2006 junior cyclocross World champion and currently rides for the Rabobank Continental team.


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