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Back 6.24.2014

Dutch Handcycling Star Rolls Toward Rio

Zipp is proud to support Dutch elite handcycling athlete Jetze Plat, 23, who competes internationally and is preparing for the 2016 Paralympics Games in Rio. Learn about him in this new Zipp interview:

What is your hometown in the Netherlands? 
I live in Vrouwenakker. It’s a very small town south of Amsterdam.

Tell us a bit about your background as an athlete. How did you first start participating in hand cycling?
I was born with some problems with my legs. For that reason I can’t cycle on a normal bike. When I was 7, I started with a little handcycle so I could go to school by myself. I had lot of fun with cycling and so when I was 13 I tried a race. It was not easy because the most handcyclists were much older than me in that time. But after a lot of training and also because I was older, it got better and better.

What are your best recent results?
European champion triathlon, 2014
Gold medal, World Cup Spain, 2011, road race
Bronze medal, World Championships Canada, 2013, road race
Silver medal, World Cup Italy, 2014, road race
Fourth place, Paralympic Games London, 2012

What is something you can tell us about hand cycling that most people don’t know or don’t understand?
Of course with handcycling, you use your arms. Your arms muscles are weaker than in the legs. But with our trained arms, we can get a average speed between 37 and 41 km per hour (22.99 mph and 25.48 mph).

How do you divide your training between time on the handcycle and gym work such as handstand pushups or other exercises?
Of course, most of the training I do is on the bike. But I train also (most of the time) two times in the gym for power training. I train also mostly 2-3 times in the swimming pool. This exercise is good to stay flexible. In total, I have 15 to 25 hours physical training a week.

Zipp is in Indianapolis, and with the Indy 500 many people here have heard of former race car driver, Italian Alex Zanardi. Have you had a chance to compete against him? If so, what is he like as a rival? 
Yes, I know Alex… Alex is a great athlete, and for our sport it’s really good that he started with handcycling. In 2012, he took the double gold at the Paralympics in London. He did that also one year after at the World Championships in Canada. That says enough, I think -- he is a great and strong athlete. But, in 2012, I beat him. I was a young and new guy. I did a surprise attack…. So one of the goals is to beat the strong and experienced Alex Zanardi!

What do you like best about your Zipp wheels?
I have the pleasure to ride the Zipp 404 Firecrest. Before I had (other) wheels and one of the one of the most important improvement is that the wheels are awesomely stiff. In addition, they are aerodynamic and great rolling -- really important things for achieving top performance!

What about your SRAM components?
On a handcycle we use the same parts as a normal race bike. But, the back wheel from a normal bike is our front wheel. So all the parts are on a different place. In that case it`s really important to search the best working parts. That`s the reason why I choose for SRAM. It works great and for sure in a sprint that`s really important.

What is a max sprint power in watts for an elite hand cycler? 
It`s around 900 Watt

Follow @JetzePlat on Twitter