Annemiek van Vleuten has said that she’s “happy not to have it all planned” as she looks ahead to life after retirement from professional cycling.
The Dutchwoman, who stepped off the bike at the Simac Ladies Tour in September to cap a career counting 104 victories, doesn’t yet have a future career plan mapped out. However, she revealed that she “has some ideas” for the future.
“So far, it’s been better than I expected. I think after the Tour de France I was a little bit scared about not having a goal ready. I was so goal-driven. It took a bit of time to embrace that I don’t have that goal,” she said at Rouleur Live.
“If I look back to my student time, I was really good without all those goals and I feel like going a little bit back to that time. I think for the next year I’m happy not to have it all planned.”
Van Vleuten – who this year won La Vuelta Femenina, the Giro d’Italia Donne, and the Tour of Scandinavia – may stay in the sport to work on the mental side of the sport with young athletes.
“I have some ideas,” she said. “Something that I would really like to do is work on the mental side. I think that’s a bit underestimated in sports in general.
“Sometimes you only focus on the physical side, but if you want to win at this moment – especially when the physical side is already optimised – you need to have an open attitude towards the mental side. I’d love to work with young athletes to give them a little bit of support. I think that would be a role that could suit me.”
Van Vleuten said that the mental side of racing was the main reason for calling time on her 16-year career. She said that she likes to develop and better herself and felt like she couldn’t do that anymore as a cyclist.
“It’s more the mental thing because I’m not struggling that I’m not racing any more. I still ride my bike one or two times a week and I really enjoy the bike. It’s not that I struggle or that my body is not fit any more,” Van Vleuten said.
“I was so keen to develop myself and a little bit of vanity to get good at something or get better at something. At this moment I don’t have that but I also think that it will be there some time.
“If you’re an athlete you need to have goals, otherwise you don’t achieve anything. It’s also been in my character. I like to develop myself and that’s also why I stopped cycling – because I could feel that I could not develop myself any more as a cyclist.
“I had a feeling that it’s like not having any more details to work on. So, I was…