Team Jumbo-Visma Women have signed 26-year-old Dutch former rower Amber Kraak “at least until the end of 2021”. The Continental squad revealed in a press release earlier today that they have added the U23 World Champion in lightweight ladies double to the team.
Kraak achieved her title alongside Anne-Marie Schonk and was part of the Dutch Olympic team for rowing until 2019.
“As a reserve for the Olympic selection I ended up being alone in the boat a lot and where I lost the fun," Kraak said.
"Then I started to focus on cycling. Rowing is very taxing on your back and I already cycled a lot to still take the load on my legs. It wasn’t until I stopped rowing in 2019 that I started racing. That went really well and I got a lot of pleasure out of that.
“In the coming months I want to see if I can contribute to the team. I can also learn a lot about cycling. Not only about the physical, but also about the tactical aspect. I expect that especially the multi-day races will suit me. I recover quickly, so the more days the better. I also like climbing, so I expect to develop more into a climber.”
Team manager Esra Tromp said that the team expects Kraak to have “tremendous capacity”. Tromp also confirmed that the signing is a trial period meant to help Kraak gain experience and to see how she fits in with the team led by Marianne Vos.
Kraak will debut for the team at the Dutch National Championships this week. Team Jumbo-Visma Women will have Karlijn Swinkels and Riejanne Markus in the Netherlands during the 32-kilometre time trial in Emmen on June 16. In the road race, Kraak will be joined by seven teammates: Teuntje Beekhuis, Jip van den Bos, Nancy van der Burg, Anouska Koster, Riejanne Markus, Aafke Soet, Karlijn Swinkels, and Vos.
“I expect Amber to be a good addition to the team. Coming from rowing, she has tremendous capacity,” said Tromp.
“She has a little less experience in riding races so the coming half year we will mainly use as a trial period to get to know Amber and to see how she develops further as a cyclist. She was able to train with us for a few days before and we are happy that she is coming to support the team already this season."
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