With Jumbo-Visma’s progression to the top of the cycling peloton, Tolhoek has increasingly taken a back seat in recent years. “Of course, I also saw that as a rider I was less involved in the big tours,” said Tolhoek, who achieved his greatest successes in 2016 (winner of the mountain classification) and 2019 (victory in the mountains). ‘stage) in the Tour de Suisse.
To be discouraged for someone else is not quite a proud Zeeland. “
Former racer and cycling commentator Maarten Ducrot, born in Vlissingen, still remembers it well. The retired rider was present as a commentator for NOS when Tolhoek won in the Alps. “Cheers, jumps. I saw a pure amateur there, ”says Ducrot, who was for a time in a team with Patrick Tolhoek, Antwan’s father. “It was almost touching to see how father and son celebrated this success together.”
As a servant, Tolhoek has been a regular contributor to Jumbo-Visma’s victories in recent years, but something was gnawing at him. “It was beautiful and I really enjoyed it,” says Tolhoek, “but I once started riding a bike to be myself”. After his second place in the Ruta del Sol, the climber, whose contract with Jumbo-Visma has expired, knew it well: it was time for a new adventure.
Ducrot, the last Zeeland winner of a stage of a Grand Tour, applauds this courageous choice. “Extinguishing the balls for Primoz Roglic (the leader of Jumbo-Visma, editor’s note) is not entirely appropriate for a proud Zeeland. I hope to see the uninhibited Tolhoek who flies everywhere more often.”
The South Beveland rider is convinced he made a good choice with Trek-Segafredo. “They’ve been driving offensively for years, they all fly so there are opportunities for multiple riders,” said Tolhoek, who feels confident in his new employer that he can do his own thing more often.
Bauke Mollema is someone I hope to learn a lot from. “
What helps is that Tolhoek reunites with Steven de Jongh, the athletic director he worked with at Tinkoff-Saxo before his mainstream breakthrough in 2015. “Steven is someone who knows how to get the most out of me. . ” Ducrot thinks De Jongh can help the “new” Tolhoek well. “He is someone who does not follow the model of the increasingly robotization of cycling.”
Dreaming about a stage victory
Tolhoek, who has signed with Trek-Segafredo for two years, wants to mirror his new teammate Bauke Mollema. The Dutchman won a stage of the Tour de France this year. “Fantastic of course,” Tolhoek replies. “He kept trying and finally he was successful: winning a stage in a grand tour. It’s also the motivation for me to do all of this. Bauke is certainly someone I hope to learn a lot from.”
“Introvert. Avid gamer. Wannabe beer advocate. Subtly charming zombie junkie. Social media trailblazer. Web scholar.”