Van der Hoorn checks out Classics courses in VW camper van

Dutchman spending a month on the road to gain advantage over rivals

While Lachlan Morton had his 'Thereabouts' adventure across the Australian outback with his brother Gus, and Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens recently rode home across Europe to Belgium from the finish of Il Lombardia in Italy, Dutch pro Taco van der Hoorn is busy having an adventure of his own on four wheels.

The Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij rider will move to Team Jumbo for 2019, and has been reconnoitring the courses of various spring Classics in his Volkswagen Transporter T3 camper van in the hope of giving himself an advantage over his rivals.

Van der Hoorn missed the entire 2018 spring as he recovered from the concussion he suffered in a mountain bike crash in November 2017, but returned to racing in August to win stage 3 of the BinckBank Tour in what was his first week back on the bike in competition. He went on to also win the one-day Primus Classic in Belgium in September.

Having ridden the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, among other spring one-day races, in 2017, Van der Hoorn says that a number of the races he'll do in 2019 will have slightly different routes.

"Since I last rode those races, a lot has changed – like the final of the Omloop, for example," he told Het Nieuwsblad.

In a month on the road, Van der Hoorn will recce race courses in Belgium, France and Italy, with the Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo on the schedule for the latter.

"I'm paying particular attention to the run-ins to certain climbs, which are important for positioning," he said, "and am making notes that I can use in the spring."

The 24-year-old is making use of his downtime now to study for next season's racing, as "in the spiring I'll be too busy training".

Part of the road trip includes three days on the Paris-Roubaix course, where he'll be testing tyre pressures – on his bike, which he has with him.

"I've spent about 25 hours on the bike this past week," said Van der Hoorn, "which is quite a lot for this time of the year, but that's not how it feels at all."

He intends to make it home to the Netherlands by December 8, in readiness for the training camps with his new Team Jumbo teammates, but has been enjoying the solo aspect of the trip so far.

"I think it's nice to be alone," Van der Hoorn said. "I have extra time to think and plan."

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