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Charlotte Kool: I want to grow as an athlete

Charlotte Kool (NXTG Racing)
Charlotte Kool (NXTG Racing) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Dutch sprinter Charlotte Kool (NXTG Racing) said she is looking forward to new challenges and opportunities to learn as she steps up to the Women’s WorldTour with Team DSM.

Kool, who this year won the GP International d'Isbergues and a stage at the Baloise Ladies Tour, recognised she may have fewer leadership opportunities at DSM, but is embracing the chance to improve as a rider. 

“There are so many good riders on this team, you have one of the best sprinters, Lorena [Wiebes], so I think I can really learn from them and do my best in a lead-out train for them,” Kool said.

“For me personally, my goal is to grow as an athlete and become stronger, because maybe my sprint is good, but there are still a lot of things to improve. I’d really like to be able to go for a good result in a hard Classic, and that’s where I still need to work a lot.”

Kool’s main area of focus for the winter, she said, is improving her endurance in preparation for the longer, harder stages and races of the Women’s WorldTour calendar.

“When we know what races I’m going to do it will be more specific, but for now it’s about long rides and having a bigger motor.”

Despite earning herself a Women’s WorldTour contract, 2021 was a season Kool described as a year of ups and downs.

“It was a hard year, because I had Covid in April, and I really struggled,” she explained. “I was out for three months of racing and competition. I couldn’t train really, one hour a day was already too much.

“But I got a lot of support from my trainer, and in the end I came back even stronger. I think that’s why my last few months of the season were really good because I was always fresh, and I really wanted to race.” 

Her win in the Baloise Tour and subsequent strong end to the season may have been what put Kool’s name in the minds of many cycling fans, but Team DSM had their eyes set on the sprinter even before she returned to racing in July.

“I was in contact with DSM really early,” Kool explained. “They had a lot of interest in me even when I was in my Covid period. So actually I already made the decision to go to this team before I started cycling again. 

“I think trust is really important, and they said to me they trusted me. In the end a lot more teams came to me but I’m still really happy to make this decision.” 

Kool’s racing debut with Team DSM was not yet confirmed but like many, she hoped to start her season with the Spring Classics and aimed at a return to Paris-Roubaix.

“Last year I did Paris-Roubaix and I didn’t have much luck, so I hope this year I can start there again. The race is just epic, everything about it is epic.” 

Charlotte Kool (NXTG Racing)

Charlotte Kool in a sprint for NXTG Racing (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.