Coming off a very impressive final year in the junior category in 2022 in which she took the Dutch road race and time trial titles, the overall win at Bizkaikoloreak Juniors and a bronze medal at the World Championships, Nienke makes the step up to WorldTour racing with Team dsm-firmenich in 2023.
Like most Dutch kids, Nienke has had a bike since a young age but she “really hated” cycling at first because she had to go out with her parents, who cycle a lot, but she would only be on a normal city bike; stating that “it was not my hobby, so I was a bit angry”.
Then at the age of 12 she started skating and a lot of her teammates rode as part of their fitness. Nienke then found out the national youth championships were taking place in Amersfoort where she lived, so she started competing in bike races herself as she wanted to take part in those championships and “the rest is history”.
She jokes that she loves the sport a lot more now than she did at a young age, with Nienke particularly a fan of it is a combination of tactics and being physically strong, as well as it being a team sport too.
Next to that she is also a self-certified driven person, not only in cycling but also in general life such as her schoolwork. That means she gives it her all in training or a race where she wants to do everything perfectly: “seeing the numbers improve really motivates me”.
An observant person, Nienke is shyer in character than others but once you get to know her, she opens more and is a bit louder. Despite this, she still likes to “be a bit more in the back and take things in” – which fits in with her “calm” and “modest” persona. That all translates into her racing where she doesn’t get too nervous and likes to be a perfectionist in whatever she does, that helps her to complete her training in a good way.
Of course, the jump straight out of juniors into the WorldTour can be daunting one and it feels a bit “unreal” for Nienke, but it is an opportunity she is ready to go all in-for. It also helps her knowing that there is no pressure from the team to get results and instead the focus is on just doing the best she can throughout the season and help everyone out to the best of her abilities.
Looking further ahead in her career, Nienke would “love to go for the win or podium in a stage race” at some point, but she knows that “a lot of hard work” still lies ahead of her to get to that point. Nonetheless with her characteristic traits, one thing is for certain – she won’t stop until she’s there.
When she’s not on the bike training or racing, then Nienke is like most teenagers and she likes to socialise and spend time with her friends and family, or you might find her studying to finish her time school. Either way, she says you can always “wake me up or interrupt me for ice cream!”