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Cyclocross

Q&A: Manon Bakker has her eyes on ‘cross podiums

The talented Dutch U23 racer is looking to up her game — and podium positions — in the coming 'cross season.

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Dutch under-23 rider Manon Bakker (Credishop-Fristads) is one of the most promising young women in the ‘cross peloton today.

After consistently strong results during the 2020-21 season — she had a fistful of podiums in the women’s elite category in the X2O series — Bakker is on a trajectory to challenge for the top step of the podium this season.

How have you been keeping busy during the off-season?
I have been riding road races with the Plantur-Pura team. After the cyclocross season, I did the Belgian spring classics, then after, Scheldeprijs I took a break. This summer I did three stage races.

Also read: Q&A — Maghalie Rochette can’t wait for ‘cross season start after ‘amazing’ summer training

How’s the CX training going? Have there been any changes to the way you’ve prepared for the season?
Cyclocross training is going well. First rides in the forest are always a bit different! But I’m getting race-ready and looking forward to the start of the season.

What are your targets for this coming season?
I hope to start the season the way I finished it last winter. And then hopefully get a victory in a classic ‘cross.

Also read: Q&A — Clara Honsinger is ready to tackle the 2021-22 cyclocross season

Which courses/races are your favorites?
By far my favorite race is the Brussels University Cross! I really love the difficult off-camber sections in that race. Most of the time I like the technical courses, but almost everything is fine for me.

Do you have any equipment upgrades for the coming season?
I will be racing on Stevens bikes again, I’m really happy with them. Almost everything will be the same. Last year I had a good feeling on the bike. So bring it on this year.