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Back 4.13.2017

At just 20, Amalie Dideriksen is world champ and still learning

Photo © Tim De Waele TDWSport.com

Amalie Dideriksen is simultaneously at the top of her sport and still learning her sport. The 20-year-old from Denmark became known to cycling fans around the globe last year when she won the Elite Women’s Road World Championship in Qatar. Yet she’s still in the midst of her studies and still learning how to best reach her potential as part of the powerhouse Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team. We caught up with Amalie recently at the team’s training camp in Javea, Spain. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation:

If teammates, friends or family were talking about you, what are the three words they would use to describe you?
“Determined”. My teammates would probably use the word “Young.” And my family would say “Cyclist”.

Besides cycling what do you like to do?
I’m still studying, so it takes a lot of my time. I’m in high school, the level just before university. But I’m going to take a few years off because with cycling it’s hard to do them both well at the same time. 

Photo © Tim De Waele TDWSport.com

If you were not a cyclist or after your cycling carrier what would you like to do?
I have no idea. I also have no idea what I would like to study, so that’s another reason why I take a pause in my studies. I’m taking a few years to see what I really would like to do. There many opinions, and I still think I have the time to decide.

Besides your riding gear, is there something you always take with you when you travel for races/camps?
I always take my computer and my headphones. I don’t think I have any “special” things with me.

Photo © Victor Lucas

Where is your favorite place to ride? And why?
I like riding at home on my local roads and going away to the mountains. It doesn’t really matter where if the weather is good. The good thing about home is that I know every road and can do my intervals.

What is your favorite food? Favorite drink?
Hard question… I always like a good burger (fellow Nordic pro Alexander Kristoff gave the same answer) but that’s not so healthy. Lately, I’m keen on sweet potatoes. For drinks, I like smoothies.

Do you like cooking for yourself or for the others?
I like cooking when I have time. Today is my cooking day (each day at training camp, one or two riders from the team cooks for the others). I have to make dinner together with Jip (van den Bos). We make something simple because we have to cook for many people. I’m used to cook for 4-5 persons not for a big group, so we keep it simple.

Of course it’s also nice when you come back from a hard training session and everything is ready.

 Photo © Victor Lucas

Who inspires you, in the sport or outside the sport?
You would think it’s weird to say that, but actually all my teammates. When I came to the team, it was a really successful team, and it still is. All the girls had great results and they inspired me a lot. I tried, and I’m still trying, to get to the same level.

This is your third season with Boels-Dolmans? What do you like about the Team?
We are 11 riders this year. It’s not a small team, but compared to the men’s teams it’s a lot smaller. So everybody knows each other. When we are at training camps, for example, everybody can be herself. We can be who we are. It’s a great atmosphere with a lot of respect. I like being together with the other girls.

 Photo © Victor Lucas

How did you start riding? Was it to follow your older brother?
I started when I was 7 or 8 years old because my brother was cycling. Every weekend I was watching him at local Danish races. I started with small races and immediately really liked it. He stopped years ago. He follows me sometimes. He was at some of the junior races and at the Olympics in Rio.

Is your Road World title the most important victory in your cycling career?
Yes, definitely. Now a lot of people know my name. It changed a lot for me in cycling. I get more attention. I like it but hope I can still be who I am and develop smoothly in the next few years.

After edging out Kirsten Wild in the sprint for the rainbow jersey, you seemed extremely surprised. Tell us what went through your mind at that moment?
I was really surprised. From the last corner I was really focused, keeping Kirsten Wild’s wheel. I knew if I could stay there, I could get a medal. I was really hoping for that. And then in the end when the road “opened” I tried to get around her and I did. I got really surprised that I could beat her. So I didn’t do any nice victory salute.

What are your strengths as a cyclist to achieve what you have at just 20 years old?
From the track I learned how to position myself when the speed is high and everybody is trying to move forward. I try to stay as much as I can at the front and stay together with my teammates. I think I have a decent sprint. I hope it can become even better and become more consistent.

It seems your track experience really helps you on the road.
Yes, track helps me on the road and the other way around. From the road, I gain strength and endurance and from the track I get the sprint. It’s really complementary. This season I’m not doing as much track as in the past.

 Photo © Tim De Waele TDWSport.com

What are your goals for the season?
I’d like to honor the world champion’s jersey. I’m probably not going to have as many wins as Lizzie had last year when she was wearing the rainbow jersey. I’ve still only got three wins as a senior, including this one. I think that I will be happy if I can take a win or two. I still have a lot to learn. Becoming better every race is also a goal. For the first time I will race some Spring Classics, so the spring races are important for me this year.

What is your favorite race on the calendar? And why?
Actually, I don’t know yet because I haven’t tried the spring races yet. I missed the last two seasons due to track racing. I’ll race some of the Spring Classics this year.

What changes would you like to see in the sport?
Of course, I’d like to see women’s cycling become as big as men’s cycling. That we could have as big events, salaries, teams, equipment and everything at the same level as what men have. I think I’m lucky I’m in a really good team with great sponsors, but it’s not the same for all women cyclists.

Is there a men’s race that you like to see in the calendar?
Paris-Roubaix maybe. For men it’s such a long and tough race. It’s a really prestigious race to win and it could be fun to do it, too.

What message do you have for young female cyclists?
I would say it’s fun and challenging at the same time. You need a great team but you also have to be a strong individual. It’s a lot of work but when you get the chance to travel to so many places around the world, it’s really nice.

Photo © Victor Lucas

More About Amalie
Nationality: Danish
Age: 20
Residence: Suburbs of Copenhagen
Nickname: ‘Wickie the Viking’ by her teammates, after a 1970s popular cartoon in the Netherlands.
Specialist: All-rounder, Classics, Track
Pro since: 2015  
Key results: Road World Champion (2016), Junior Road World Champion (2014, 2013), 5x National Track champion, National Road race Champion (2014, 2015), Boels Rental Ladies Tour (two stages), Lotto Belgium Tour (one stage), energiewacht Tour (one stage).

Follow @AmalieDiderikse on Twitter and @amaliedideriksen on Instagram