Puck Pieterse returns to cyclocross motion this weekend on the fourth spherical of the UCI International Cup in Troyes, France. It’s only her 2d race of a now-compact ‘pass season, because the 21-year-old paused racing for a month after charging thru a continuing calendar of cyclocross, highway and mountain motorbike competitions.
It was once a scorching season throughout 3 disciplines for the Fenix-Deceuninck rider in 2023. Following a ‘pass season the place she landed at the podium in all 19 of her cyclocross races, 4 of them International Cup victories plus a silver medal on the International Championships, she made her WorldTour highway debut at Strade Bianche and completed within the most sensible 5.
Then she switched to flat bars and took on elite riders at mountain motorbike XCO International Cups, profitable 4 rounds, together with the Nové Mesto victory in Would possibly that noticed her energy away at the ultimate lap from International Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. She received quick monitor titles at Dutch nationals, Eu Championships, after which silver at Worlds the place she additionally earned XCO bronze.
A go back to cyclocross manner a go back to the much-anticipated contention with compatriot Fem van Empel (Jumbo-Visma), who has received all seven races she’s began this season, together with two International Cup rounds and the Eu Championships.
Fenix-Deceuninck supervisor/directeur sportif Christoph Roodhoft anticipated her to leap again into the fray and now not skip a pedal stroke.
“I do not believe a lot may have modified in comparison to final 12 months,” Roodhoft instructed Wielerflits in a up to date interview. “Puck has in fact received a large number of self belief thru her MTB summer season. Fem van Empel was once additionally energetic in mountain cycling, however that was once much less a hit than Puck’s marketing campaign. That will probably be other within the pass, the 2 will probably be shut to one another once more.”
Prior to taking day without work, Pieterse competed in just one ‘pass tournament, the International Cup spherical in Waterloo the place she completed 2d in the back of Van Empel. The pair have been frivolously matched at the muddy Wisconsin monitor for the primary lap, however Van Empel sailed away on an error-free experience and Pieterse, who’s in most cases sound technically, misplaced floor within the rainy prerequisites.
“Puck is the simpler, or if now not the most productive, technically professional rider. If she will be able to mood her enthusiasm a little bit, I feel that may be a in particular nice asset in the longer term. However at the present time her enthusiasm on occasion nonetheless kills her,” Roodhoft admitted.
“Puck nonetheless tends to head very rapid at first. Or on occasion she tries one thing that may’t in reality be attempted or on no account at that second. Anyway, she’s nonetheless younger and you continue to have that younger enthusiasm in you. That can without a doubt be resolved.”
At the mountain motorbike, Pieterse was once certainly technically sound and swept the total International Cup titles for elite girls in cross-country and quick monitor disciplines. She raced 8 rounds in the summertime, completing with the 2 occasions in North The united states. Van Empel, on the other hand, competed in simply 3 rounds.
“Puck was once in truth nonetheless in excellent form at the mountain motorbike on the finish of the season. A leisure duration was once a smart selection, she continues to be very younger. She rested but in addition stayed busy on her motorbike. It is usually necessary to not leisure for too lengthy as a result of it is vitally tough to renew cross-country racing,” Roodhoft stated.
The reigning Dutch elite girls’s cyclocross nationwide champion prolonged her contract with Fenix-Deceuninck all through her summer season of mountain motorbike conquests, the crew securing her abilities thru 2027.
She referred to as it a ‘logical choice’ because the crew would permit her to pursue a couple of disciplines, with Pieterse eyeing gold on the Paris Olympic Video games at the mountain motorbike in 2024.
“The wonderful thing about this crew and construction is that I will be able to mix the other disciplines and feature the liberty to come to a decision myself when to do which self-discipline. It’s a logical choice,” Pieterse stated in June about her professional contract.