The Netherlands, cycling territory
December 16 th 2021 - 20:00 [GMT + 1]
The Netherlands has many links with the world of cycling, both as a mode of transport and as a sport. In its day-to-day life, the bicycle is one of the landscape’s most common elements, something often seen in Dutch cities.
It is traditionally said that The Netherlands has more bicycles than people. There are kilometres of bike lanes, exclusive parking facilities and a very developed sensitivity towards this clean mode of transport that is both sustainable and convenient for its citizens. Utrecht is the best example of a bike-friendly city, a title it has earned thanks to its commitment to this mode of transport in recent years, both in the streets and on a professional level.
In 2022, coinciding with the 9th centenary of its foundation as a city in its own right, Utrecht will become one of the few places in the world to have hosted the international cycling calendar’s three Grand Tours: Giro d’Italia (2010), Tour de France (2015) and La Vuelta (2022). A historical milestone for a city that lives for cycling.
With La Vuelta’s ride through Utrecht, Breda and ‘s-Hertogenbosch; the race will relive the amazing atmosphere of Assen 2009, with an official departure that marked the start of a new era for the race, based on its innovative character and international aspirations. In fact, the third stage of the 2022 edition, with its departure and finish-line both in Breda, will also pass through the locality of Baarle-Hertog (Belgium), another of the world’s cycling heavens.
In terms of victories, two Dutch riders have won La Vuelta over the years: Jan Janssen (1967) and Joop Zoetemelk (1979). The list of stage winners is much longer. 51 Dutch riders have amassed a total of 114 partial victories in the Spanish Tour. From John Lambrichts (Seville > Granada, 1946) to Fabio Jakobsen, who performed a hat-trick in 2021: 75 years of Dutch triumphs in La Vuelta. At the head of all of those is still Gerben Karstens and his 13 victories between 1966 and 1976. A history of international triumphs that is vast in male cycling and innumerable in women’s cycling, where names such as Marianne Vos or Annemiek van Vleuten, the most recent winner of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta, continue to shine brightly today. These sporting successes are the direct consequence of a distinct cycling culture - A unique character that makes The Netherlands an exceptional territory for La Vuelta to once again travel beyond its borders two years after it last ventured abroad.