Maarten de Jonge Interview: Stepping up with Endura Racing Team
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maarten de Jonge Interview: Stepping up with Endura Racing Team

by Ed Hood at 8:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
Dutch rider aiming for a good season

Maarten de JongeScottish Continental team, Endura Racing has stepped up a level from season 2010. The part time riders have gone but the strong men, riders like Frenchman Alex Blain, Kiwi Jack Bauer and Englishman Ian Wilkinson, have been retained.

But with a more ambitious programme in mind for 2011 the team has been bolstered by an influx of continental talent like Spanish climber Iker Camano, Swedish ‘RAS’ winner Alex Wetterhall, German Paul Voss and Dutchman Maarten de Jonge.

The team debuted at the Tour of San Luis in Argentina where Wetterhall and de Jonge kept the Endura colours to the fore.

Wetterhall took a fine fourth place on the ‘Queen’ Stage whilst de Jonge played an aggressive and visible part in proceedings to finish seventh on stage six and 16th on GC.

The Dutchman then went on to the Tour of the Mediterranean, where he again performed solidly. He was ninth on stage three, twelfth on stage four, and twentieth on stage two.

VeloNation spoke to de Jonge recently about his career so far and plans for the future.

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VeloNation: You live in Oldenzaal, The Netherlands - is that a good base for training?

Maarten de Jonge:
Oldenzaal is the place where I was born, so I know almost every road around here. I live close to the border of Germany so I usually go across the border for training. The landscape is mostly flat; sometimes I go a few days to the hilly part of Germany to train in the hills. In the winter I chose to go to Spain, because of the snowy weather conditions up here.

VN: You started off in 2004 with Fuji…was that a good team?

MdJ: I started my professional cycling career with Team Fuji Bikes, a Dutch Continental team at the time. I have good memories about the Tour of Japan. There I noticed that my favourite style is riding uphill. Thanks to this team I got excited about riding stage races. Unfortunately this team quit at the end of the season.

VN: Who did you ride for 2005 and 2006?

MdJ: Royal Antwerp Bicycle Club, the oldest cycling club in Belgium (1882). In this team I was introduced to the big amateur races in Belgium.

VN: In 2007 you were with Time…how was that team?

MdJ: My year with Time was a big step forward in my career. Unfortunately this team also quit at the end of the season. In 2007 I got more experience in riding with the pros. The Tour d’Alsace (France) was one of my highlights. Thanks to Jeroen Blijlevens (ex-professional), I learned how to be part of a team.

VN: In 2008/2009 you were with Beveren - that's a very strong Belgian team and feeder for QuickStep. Was it ever spoken about your going pro with them?

MdJ: No, unfortunately not - maybe they were more interested in Belgian riders… In my first year with ‘Wielergroep Beveren 2000’ I was very successful and decided to stay another year.

VN: Then in 2009 you were stagiaire with Skil…

MdJ: Yes. It was a unfortunate for me that I couldn’t show myself in hilly races. The atmosphere within the team was good, though. The team wanted to start in the Tour de France and therefore they took two French stagiaires

VN: In 2010 you were with Jo Piels, another very highly rated team.

MdJ: The race programme wasn’t made for me, there were too many stage races in the flat Netherlands. The guidance however was very good.

VN:
How did you get the contract with Endura?

MdJ:
I proposed myself to Endura Racing. During the season they started following me and they were very enthusiastic from the beginning.

VN: You've won Romsee-Stavelot-Romsse, which is a big race…Philippe Gilbert has won it. Did that get you any pro team attention?

MdJ: No it didn’t. My memories about this Classic race are very special, though. It was my first big victory in a road race. I did a solo breakaway during the last 50 kilometres; I finished two minutes ahead of the bunch.

VN:
You were second in the Tour of the Pyrenees - your climbing must be good?

MdJ:
Well, in the GC I finished 7 seconds behind the former U23-World Champion Fabio Duarte from Columbia…

VN: How do you train - old style with time on the bike or 'hi-tech'?

MdJ: I like to train hard. It’s my profession.

VN:
How would you classify yourself as a rider?

MdJ: As an all rounder. In stage races I become better day by day; especially when the parcours is difficult and hilly.

VN: In the past you were a speed skater. Do you still do that for winter training?

MdJ:
I don’t skate competitively any more, only for fun now. I was quite a good marathon skater and I did short-track races as well.

VN:
You had a strong performance in the Vuelta a San Luis. How does that event compare to European racing?

MdJ: Well, compared to European racing, it was very hot for January! It was a well organised race and a lot of fun to ride with riders like Basso and Tondo.

VN: Another far-off event you’ve done is the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China. What was your experience there like?

MdJ:
It was a very hard race because of the high altitude; and of course with many strong Asian riders that I didn’t know.

VN:
Who do you admire most among the current generation of Dutch cyclists?

MdJ:
Robert Gesink (Rabobank Pro Team) is from my generation and a very good climber - I rode a lot with him in my youth.

VN:
What’s your programme for the start of the season?

MdJ:
After the Tour of Tour Mediterranean, I’ll do the Tour de Haut Var (19-20 Feb.)

VN:
What would make 2011 a good year for you?

MdJ:
I hope I can prove myself for Endura Racing. So far the race programme fits me very well. Riding in a team with so many nationalities is very interesting…and of course I would like to have nice results in 2011.

VN:
Finally, can you understand what Evan Oliphant is saying?

MdJ: Only if he doesn’t talk too fast!

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