Tribute, tribute Eva, says former Prime Minister Dries van Agt to his granddaughter

Barely a 12 months in the past she cycled primarily for enjoyable, and to be exterior, in nature. It additionally helped her do away with a nagging knee. On occasion she drove a pupil race. However that was extra for enjoyable. Definitely not with the concept of ​​ever making her cash with it. And now she makes her debut within the Tour.

Eva van Agt (25) excelled in hockey as a teen. At sixteen she performed within the premier league at NMHC in Nijmegen. She may need turn out to be an expert hockey participant, however she knew that it’s troublesome to earn a residing within the Netherlands. So, when she was eighteen, she left for the US for 4 years, the place she obtained a scholarship to Northwestern College in Evanston, not removed from Chicago. There she mixed a level in arithmetic and economics with high hockey. She educated there twenty hours per week. Someway she already led the lifetime of a high athlete.

Additionally learn: a bit historical past of the Tour de France Femmes, or: how the ladies crawled out of the shadows of the lads

In the course of the pandemic she got here again to the Netherlands and joined the Maastricht pupil biking affiliation Dutch Mountains. She loved the journeys via the Ardennes and the hills of South Limburg. Biking particularly uphill turned out to be exceptionally good for her.

Her teammates thought she ought to do one thing about it. From November she educated with a coaching crew, the Restore Biking Group from Pijnacker, as a result of she herself had turn out to be curious how far she might go.

Unprecedented perseverance

Sports activities director Johan Mulder noticed one thing particular occurring there throughout a membership match, he says on the cellphone. “She fell, after which got here to the jury automobile to ask if she might please proceed. The subsequent spherical she joined once more, solely to assault a bit later. And win the race. Then we knew that Eva has an amazing expertise; her perseverance is unparalleled.”

It was within the Volta Limburg Traditional, final April, that extra individuals began to note her talents. She was the one rider with out a contract within the main group and finally completed ninth. Frenchman Nicolas Marche, sports activities director of the British skilled crew Wahoo-Le Col, didn’t know what he noticed. “She drove aggressively, attractively, made the race laborious,” he says Monday morning in Meaux, the beginning of the second stage within the Tour. “Afterwards I requested for her coaching file. She already kicked values ​​with which you belong within the World Tour [het hoogste niveau, red.]. Then I invited her to cycle with the crew throughout the reconnaissance of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

Marche needed to see if, along with pedaling laborious, she can be helpful on a bicycle. He studied her on descents and had her sort out water bottles at excessive pace subsequent to the crew supervisor’s automobile. When, after the reconnaissance, she additionally seemed to be in an excellent place in a gaggle the place she knew nobody, he supplied her a contract. Abruptly Eva van Agt was an expert bike owner.

two desserts

She has liked biking since she participated in Alpe d’HuZes on the age of fifteen, the annual marketing campaign to boost cash for most cancers analysis. She rode up not six however thrice, not as a result of she couldn’t do it extra typically, however as a result of it isn’t allowed for individuals below sixteen years to descend. She at all times needed to go down by automobile. Nonetheless, she has fond reminiscences of it. She continued to take the racing bike usually. She enjoys coaching. And he or she loves that biking is so versatile. You will get in your bike anytime and anyplace.

In Might Eva van Agt solely drove a multi-day race for the primary time

However in the event you had instructed her a couple of months in the past that she would compete within the first Tour de France for girls, in truth, that the Tour can be the primary race on the highest stage, she would in all probability have thought you had been loopy. She nonetheless can’t fairly fathom it. That on a Monday morning on the finish of July on the Chemin de Morfoin within the provincial city of Meaux, she rapidly places two desserts wrapped in aluminum foil within the again pocket of her biking jersey, simply earlier than she has to go to the beginning podium, after which will begin the second stage of the Tour de France Femmes, a flat trip, over 136 kilometers to Provins, a city within the Brie-making area.

It’s all occurred so quick, she says, over the previous few months. She solely rode a multi-day biking race for the primary time in Might. It appears like some sort of fairytale. It’s like all types of puzzle items are falling into place. She doesn’t but actually understand what she is doing, the place she stands. She simply sort of lets all of it get to her. All the things is new. Large. Spectacular.

When known as to the beginning, she apologizes for not with the ability to discuss a bit longer. She rapidly pushes in one other rice cake. She rapidly forgot to raise her proper sock.

Additionally learn: columnist Marijn de Vries concerning the Tour. “I hope the ladies’s Tour is a breaking level”

Greater than 5 hours later she continues to be panting within the Chemin de Villecran in Provins. She crossed the end line nearly 4 minutes behind winner Marianne Vos. It was a chaotic stage, with many crashes. She herself fell to the bottom. “I out of the blue bought a bicycle in my face,” she says dryly. “I do not know the place it got here from. However I couldn’t assist it.”

The left half of her physique is roofed with abrasions. Blood drips from her shin and elbow. Does it hassle her? By no means. She has fallen a number of instances. “My boyfriend says I fell extra typically in a single 12 months than he did in ten. I nonetheless need to study to trip in a pack. Typically it’s like a washer. And it’s essential know the way it runs. The toughest half was holding my place up entrance. Everybody needs to drive there. Then out of the blue I drove again. And I believed: merde!”

Bodily she doesn’t assume the Tour is that tough; her favourite terrain is but to come back, subsequent weekend. However mentally the Tour does demand loads from her. The chaos. stress. The hectic. “It’s important to listen on a regular basis. There are visitors islands all over the place and it is vitally slim in these French villages. However there are lots of people cheering. That made me understand how particular it’s that I get to drive right here. It generally gave me goosebumps.”

She can be proud that her grandfather can nonetheless expertise this, former Prime Minister Dries van Agt, now 91 years previous. He’s an enormous biking fan, was there when Joop Zoetemelk received the Tour in 1980. She doesn’t wish to say an excessive amount of about him. As a result of the story of different riders is simply as essential, she thinks.

“One thing like that may work in opposition to you. And I’m going to want the goodwill of the peloton.” She says that they usually name one another. “He is filled with reward for every part I do. Then he says: tribute, tribute, tribute, Eve!”

Tribute, tribute Eva, says former Prime Minister Dries van Agt to his granddaughter
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