Written by Frank Holwerda of Holwerda Cycling
Season 54 is going to be a special season for the Netherlands with not one but two managers! WT manager Jicky Nonkers asked for help and Frank Holwerda was happy to help him out. Frank will do the Clash of Nations while Jicky takes on the other races. Both managers are interviewing each other about their plans and expectations.
Frank: Will we see Netherlands dominating in some terrain soon?
Jicky: I'm not sure it is even possible to really dominate a terrain with such great competitors. Except for the time trial, we are great on all terrains. Looking a few seasons ahead, I would place my bet on the climbing squad. We have some very talented riders there, including Jacob Wieringh, who holds the transfer record.
Frank: What will be the weaker spot?
Jicky: I hope I'm wrong, but I expect we will definitely not dominate in the sprints. The core of our sprinting squad, with Niek Hermans as captain, is getting older and their replacements seem to be less strong. With the many sprint races in the WT it can cost us a lot of points.
Frank: Every season we see riders making their debut. Which rider are you especially looking forward to riding his first
Jicky: Last season, 14 riders made their debut, which is a lot. This season these riders are coming even more in the picture, while I except less new guys. I cannot promise him a debut this season, but Adam Ewald is an amazing talent who will become a great captain for us.
Jicky: Now it's your turn to answer some questions! How do you feel about your role as CoN manager, still ambitious?
Frank: Well, it feels like being a babysitter. I hoped to get some drinks, have some chips and chill on the couch with some random movies. But then the NT manager told me he expects me to win the CoN. I guess I will have to try my best then.
Jicky: In your period as NT manager, you managed to win both the CoN and the WT. Which experiences from that period will help you now?
Frank: The best tactics is obviously to distract other NT managers so they forget to sign up. That worked very well in season 39. But other than that I will have to keep the Dutch riders close, follow their progression and let the maths do the work.
Jicky: Last season, Canada was one of the surprises to me. Which country may surprise us this season?
Frank: Good question. I expect Spain back in the top 5 one day and I think will we see a big battle this season between the countries just below the top OCM countries. Countries like
src="http://www.cyclingsimulator.com/Flag/France.gif"> France and Romania are in that mix as well and could potentially do better. And I think Isle of Man is one of the fastest growing OCM countries. They could be getting into the top 20 this season.
Jicky: You had good questions for me, so I steal yours. What are our strongest and weakest spots for this season?
Frank: To begin with our weakest spot, I think our sprint team is coming in between captains where we lack a top sprinter in his prime age. We will need some luck to do well in the sprints. Our strongest squad is probably the cobble squad, but only when Chris Dekker is in good form. He is our top captain at the moment and of our last four victories he got two of them.
Jicky: Last question, we know you as a fan of statistics and you share these with us in the world tour forum. Personally, I really like those overviews. When and why did you start with these?
Frank: Yeah, I started to keep track of the results just for the Netherlands when I was NT manager. I feel it brings a bit more life into the career of riders and managers in OCM. But this is off course also the case for all other countries working hard to get points in the World Tour, so I decided to spice up the WT forum a bit. I am glad people like it.
We wish all the managers good luck and a lot of fun this season!