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Dutch federation considers future national championships in Switzerland

Jumbo-Visma's Steven Kruijswijk climbs during stage 15 of the 2019 Tour de France, en route to an eventual third overall in Paris
Jumbo-Visma's Steven Kruijswijk climbs during stage 15 of the 2019 Tour de France, en route to an eventual third overall in Paris (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The Dutch road national championships may take place in Switzerland within the next few years, giving climbers from the Netherlands the opportunity to compete for the national title instead of being at a disadvantage due to the flat nature of their homeland, according to reports in the Dutch media on Thursday.

Thorwald Veneberg – the director of the Dutch cycling federation (KNWU) – told NOS.nl that the idea of organising the championships in the Swiss Alps was being seriously considered, having been suggested some time ago, with the idea apparently again having been broached by Jumbo-Visma manager Richard Plugge more recently.

It would give the likes of Dutch climbers Sam Oomen (Sunweb) and Jumbo-Visma duo Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk more opportunities for victory, while arguably the Netherlands' best climber in the women's pro peloton, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) – the reigning road race world champion – has won the national road race just once, when it was held in Kerkrede, in the hillier Limburg region of the Netherlands, in 2012.

"I first contacted Austria – the region where the World Championships were held [in Innsbruck in 2018]," Veneberg told NOS. "Then we also spoke with the Swiss federation, the Swiss regions and the organisation behind the Tour de Suisse, and they saw opportunities."

Veneberg admitted that some parties in Dutch cycling were less keen on the proposal.

"For the teams, we'd be looking to keep costs as low as possible. Switzerland is an expensive country," he said.

"We do also realise that we'd be asking parents and clubs to go there," Veneberg said of the other categories below the elite women's and men's level, "and that as a result not everyone could participate in a Dutch championships [outside the Netherlands], and that's an ongoing discussion."

According to NOS, if a Dutch championships was to be held in Switzerland, or another more mountainous country – and if any barriers to that happening could be overcome – it would nevertheless likely not happen until 2022 or 2023 at the earliest.