The Perfect Team: DS Thijs Zonneveld
The Perfect Team is a new series for Soigneur. Over the coming months, we will ask cycling experts the question: Who would you select for your perfect team?
If you were a DS, which riders would you choose to have on your team? Why? The rules are simple: Choose only riders who will race this season. Each rider can fill only one role.
First team is by Dutch Journalist Thijs Zonneveld.
It goes without saying. He is always there—in the grand tours, in week-long stage races, in time trials, even at the world championships after a long and exhausting season. He’s a leader and an international star. And he’s good in front of the camera. He’s not afraid to share his opinions and he doesn’t hide behind clichés.
He is very quick on a bike, and his interviews are as sharp as his attacks. He is not afraid to speak out, even about difficult subjects, i.e. doping. He was also a co-conspirer of the best cycling joke of the past year. He and his teammate Adam Hansen attacked in the Giro and hid themselves behind a tree. When the peloton passed, they jumped in behind and watched the guys in front do turn after turn in the wind to try and rein them in.
He would win the Tour in 2019 if Sky would make him their leader. But they won’t do that. So, I guess he won’t win the Tour in 2019.
Yeah, I know that he is also a crosser, a mountain biker, and probably also a BMX rider and artistic cyclist. But that doesn’t matter. He might be one of the only—perhaps, he is the only rider who can beat Sagan on a technical uphill finish.
He should actually be a captain, but for years he has ridden in teams in which he was either not the leader or didn’t have any domestiques. So, you had might as well put him in this category, right? He is a chronically underrated rider, who is always good for a bunch of wins every year—including one or two big ones. He is also a good guy to have around for a night out at the bar during the off season.
He is Tom Dumoulin’s right- and left-hand man, and he has quietly become a fantastic grand tour rider in own right and a potential winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège too. Plus, he has the best Brabant accent in the peloton. Jonge.
He is a little French kid with glasses, who looks like a ninth grader. All he is missing are braces and a backpack that is bigger than he is. The French are mostly focused on Pinot, Bardet, and Alaphilippe, but according to laboratory tests, Gaudu—who is only 22—is way better. He has a V02-max per kilo that is off the charts.
A world champion, who is obsessed with her sport, she is a professional through and through. She’s a cool person too.
All illustrations by @sylvrstar