Timo Roosen is looking forward to driving the first race since the corona outbreak on Tuesday. The rider of Jumbo-Visma expects that there will be an immediate hard fight in the Tour of Burgos.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Roosen told NU.nl. "Because I missed the races. If you watch all those broadcasts of old cycling races on TV, you will feel like driving again."
During the pandemic, 27-year-old Roosen regularly trained on his motocross bike in the vicinity of his hometown Tilburg and kept fit with digital quotes on the exercise bike. "I thought that was quite funny to do. There is a bit of tactics involved and you can do great in your attic room. But at some point you just want to ride real races again."
Roosen will be able to do that again from Tuesday. With the Tour of Burgos, most WorldTour teams start their first race after the corona outbreak.
Strict regulations apply around the five-day stage race in Northern Spain. "Six and three days in advance, everyone was tested and all other standard measures such as mouth masks and hand gel are also shown here. They will also do the stage ceremony with mouth masks, I believe," says Roosen.
Team Jumbo-Visma in Tour of Burgos
- George Bennett (New Zealand)
- Finn Fisher-Black (New Zealand)
- Sepp Kuss (United States)
- Pascal Eenkhoorn (Netherlands)
- Lennard Hofstede (Netherlands)
- Timo Roosen (Netherlands)
- Gijs Leemreize (Netherlands)
"Hope that not the same as in Emirates"
In the last race that Roosen drove before the lockdown, the Tour of the United Arab Emirates, he, like the rest of the pack, got stuck in a hotel for a few days. The coronavirus was diagnosed in two employees of another team.
"We were stuck in that hotel for a few days, but a few other teams had to remain in quarantine for a fortnight. Those riders were not even allowed to leave their hotel rooms," says the Brabander. "Let's hope something like this doesn't happen again when we start racing again."
Roosen may take his chance in Burgos in the flatter first and fourth stages. In the mountains, Jumbo-Visma hopes to get a lot of attention with the New Zealander George Bennett and the American Sepp Kuss.
Competition will be fierce, as many teams with big names come to the Tour of Burgos, which is not part of the WorldTour. Alejandro Valverde, Mikel Landa, Nairo Quintana, Fabio Aru, Simon Yates, Richard Carapaz and Remco Evenepoel, among others, are on the start list.
"It is really bizarre what kind of participants this course has this year," says Roosen. "The season only lasts until the end of October, so everyone has only a few races to prove themselves. I expect that many riders will start racing like crazy from today."
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'Not the best year for an expiring contract'
Roosen himself also has a good reason to prove himself, as his contract expires at the end of the season. "This is not the best year to have an expiring contract," he says with a sense of understatement. "Because of corona it is an uncertain time, maybe some teams will disappear. Then the places will become scarce. I prefer to stay with Jumbo-Visma."
"Unlike some other teams, we have not had to sacrifice our salary. From what I get from it, the team is stable."
Due to the virus, the normally so carefully arranged season planning is also upside down. "I think all riders can only peak once or maybe twice this year," said Roosen. "I myself want to be top in the cobbled classics, they are only at the end of the season."
But first the Tour of Burgos is waiting. "I am looking forward to seeing everyone again at the start. And the feeling of competing for a good result, that's what I missed the most."