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As part of a series entitled ‘Faces of the Future’, we’re taking a look at the personalities, ambitions, and palmares of some of the young and talented cyclists you might not know much about, but you’ll be hearing lots about.
Floortje Mackaij may be one of the biggest young talents coming out of the Netherlands. At only 20 years old she’s already got a palmares other riders would be happy to achieve throughout their entire careers.
You rarely see the curly haired Liv-Plantur rider without a smile on her face, but when she’s on the bike it’s serious business. Here are six things to know about Floortje Mackaij.
1.) At her young age, Mackaij is already surpassing her father’s success as a pro cyclist
We all know that Roxane Knetemann is the daughter of former world champion Gerrie Knetemann, but Floortje Mackaij’s father, Ron, was a professional in the eighties and nineties too. In 1985, Ron Mackaij joined the Skala team, where he became teammates with Dutch rider Erik Breukink and famous sprinter Jean-Paul van Poppel. He’d continue to ride professionally for 10 years for LCS Software and Bezemer.
While Ron Mackaij never managed to write any big wins to his name, his daughter has seen success early in her career, having won a national title in the youth category and continuing taking wins as an espoir.
Regional tv broadcaster RTV Utrecht made a short documentary on Floortje Mackaij and her father as part of the Namen & Rugmummers (Names & bibs) series. The documentary is in Dutch, but there are some nice images of both Mackaij generations on the bike:
2.) She has been part of the Liv-Plantur team since becoming pro
As a junior, Mackaij rode for an amateur team from Woerden, being one of only a few girls at her club. She guest rode for different teams to participate in the bigger races. As a guest rider she won stage 3 in the junior’s Energiewacht Tour in 2013, finishing third in the GC and winning the points jersey.
She just missed out on the European junior time trial title that same year, winning silver behind current PC Futuroscope rider Séverine Eraud, beating the likes of Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans) and Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal).
These results led to Argos-Shimano inviting her for an internship in her second year as a junior. She rode with the pro team in August and September of 2013.
When she left the junior’s category, she was offered a pro contract by the team, which had a name change and was now called Giant-Shimano. The team got renamed again in 2015, to Team Liv-Plantur, and Floortje has stayed with the team until now.
“We are a really solid team and are well used to training together. We have a lot of fun, which is important, but when we have to perform we’re all 100% motivated to do so. The team is relatively young and we have lots of ambition and qualities within the team,” she commented.
In the Liv-Plantur outfit, Mackaij won 2015 Gent-Wevelgem, and the youth classification at the 2015 BeNe Ladies Tour, the 2015 GP Elsy Jacobs (also winning stage 2 in this race) and the 2016 Energiewacht Tour, plus she won the third stage of the 2015 Lotto Belgium Tour.
3.) Mackaij is on a four-year contact with Team Liv-Plantur, which is a rarity in women’s cycling
Mackaij is on a four-year contact with Team Liv-Plantur, which is practically unheard of even in men’s cycling, let alone women’s cycling, where contracts rarely run longer than two years. Most are for one year only.
— Team Giant-Alpecin (@GiantAlpecin) 7 January 2016
4.) She was a junior national time trial champion and aims for the pro title, too
Mackaij was the junior time trial champion in 2013, joined on the podium by Demi de Jong (Boels-Dolmans) and Anouk Rijff (Lotto-Soudal). She has expressed her ambitions to win the national title as a pro as well.
“I love time trialling. If you are able to ride by yourself and can really hurt yourself, this will also benefit you in road races,” she said.
Mackaij rode towards a 16th place in the national time trial championships in 2014 and finished 13th last year, so there is still some progress to be made. But she is still young and the national ITT title certainly is achievable.
5.) Mackaij is a serious contender in the Women’s WorldTour young rider classification
Mackaij has alternated the lead with Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) in the Women’s WorldTour young rider classification throughout the season.
Both are in serious contention for the win in this Women’s WorldTour U23 classification. With nine rounds done and dusted, the Women’s WorldTour will host another eight races this season, of which the last is La Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta. We will know on September 11th who takes home the very first young rider jersey of the inaugural Women’s WorldTour.
Current Women’s WorldTour young rider standings
Young rider classification
1. Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) – 24 points
2. Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) – 12 points
3. Jip van den Bos (Parkhotel Valkenburg) – 10 points
4. Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) – 10 points
5. Chanella Stougje (Parkhotel Valkenburg) – 6 points
6. Chloe Dygert (Team TWENTY16) – 6 points
Young riders in the general classification
6. Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) – 235 points
29. Jip van den Bos (Parkhotel Valkenburg) – 84 points
37. Chloe Dygert (Team TWENTY16) – 58 points
43. Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) – 40 points
45. Sheyla Gutierrez (Cylance Pro Cycling) – 40 points
46. Maria Sperotto (Servetto-Footon) – 36 points
6.) She usually does well when the weather is horrendous
Not downplaying her results, as if she’s only able to perform when the weather is at its worst, but Mackaij does have some epic wins to her name in races that were characterised by horrendous weather conditions.
Mackaij somehow has the best bike skills, which shows in really wet conditions, and she doesn’t worry about the suffering which comes with the cold and the rain.
She has won races in dry weather too and will most definitely continue to do so in the future. But when the weather turns bad, you can count on Mackaij being right there at the front of the race.
You can follow Floortje Mackaij and her team Liv-Plantur (under the name of its male counterpart, Giant-Alpecin) on social media:
Team hashtag: #KeepChallenging